With a generous gift from the Shah family, EERI annually awards the Shah Prize to young professionals and academics for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit in the field of earthquake risk mitigation and management.
Dr. Carlos Molina Hutt (M. EERI, 2011) has been awarded the 2019 EERI Shah Family Innovation Prize. Carlos is an Assistant Professor of Structural and Earthquake Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. Prior to UBC, Carlos was a Lecturer at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2017. His strong academic background is mixed with significant high-level industry experience, which he gained as a structural engineer at Arup from 2009 to 2013, as well as through a number of consulting projects for city governments, the (re)insurance sector, and the humanitarian sector.
The work of his research group at UBC focuses on the development of methodological approaches to assess seismic risk in buildings and its implications on urban resilience, and on the translation of this knowledge into tools and information for use by practicing engineers, seismic planners, and policymakers. His goal is to enable seismic policy decision-making with explicit consideration of the societal and economic impacts of the performance of the built environment during major earthquakes. Among other activities, Carlos is leading an interdisciplinary research project aimed at reducing the catastrophic risk of a Cascadia megathrust earthquake in southwest British Columbia. To keep his research work relevant to practice, and to maximize its impact, he actively participates in technology transfer projects, such as the recently completed Applied Technology Council’s San Francisco Tall Buildings Study and the United States Geological Survey’s HayWired Earthquake Scenario.
Carlos has participated in the design and delivery of seismic risk mitigation programs such as Save the Children’s Safer School Construction Program in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In 2016, he was nominated as a Structural Engineering Expert by the UK Cabinet office. As part of this role, he served on numerous post-earthquake disaster response missions as a member of the European Union Civil Protection and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams, including recent earthquakes in Ecuador (2016) and Mexico (2017). Since his relocation to Canada, Carlos became a board committee member of EERI’s British Columbia Chapter and is an active member of the City of Vancouver’s Seismic Policy Advisory Committee.
Considering the breadth and excellence of Carlos’s leadership, research and engineering practice, it was clear to the prize committee that he is on a trajectory to be an outstanding leader in the field of earthquake risk mitigation in the coming decades. He will be awarded the 2019 Shah Family Prize at the 2020 EERI Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony on Thursday, March 5 during the National Earthquake Conference in San Diego.