Written by Martina Manes.
I am third-year PhD student at The University of Edinburgh, supervised by Dr David Rush and Prof Luke Bisby working on the investigation of UK and USA fire statistics and the updates of British Standard PD 7974-7:2003. In April 2019, I was awarded with the John Moyes Lessells Travel Scholarship by the Royal Society of Edinburgh to support a research project of the duration of three months to finalize my PhD collaborating with Dr David Lange at The University of Queensland.
Before arriving in Australia in June, I attended the Applications of Structural Fire Engineering (ASFE) 2019 Conference in Singapore where I met UQ PhD students and discussed with them about their researches. Once in Brisbane, I was surprised by the UQ campus which is completely surrounded by greenery and full of animals as ducks, birds and turtles. Moreover, the Advanced Engineering Building is perfectly integrated into the natural environment with a breath-taking auditorium built with timber trusses.
The UQ fire group welcomed me warmly and it was a real pleasure knowing the inestimable experience of the academics and high-quality research of students with a large variety of topics from timber and bamboo to concrete, facades and risk assessment in fire safety. I gave a presentation during the UQ fire group meeting to introduce myself and my PhD outputs and I received valuable feedback and suggestions for future works.
During these three months, I have been working with Dr David Lange and the research has been divided into two parts: the first one on the analysis of UK building codes of fire resilience management and optimization highlighting differences and similarities between them, while the second one on the creation of a fire resilience assessment for educational buildings able to consider a holistic view to ensure preparedness, respond, absorption and recovery from potential fire incidents.
Having a research background on reinforced-concrete, I had also the opportunity to be involved during the casting of small and large concrete samples for the research which will be developed by PhD and master students supervised by Dr Cristian Maluk.
Moreover, I attended the AFAC Fire and Emergency Management Conference 2019 in Melbourne in which I had the great pleasure to expand my horizons of research and discuss about critical issues affecting the fire safety community thanks to the presentations of Prof Jose Torero (University College London), Dr Angus Law (University of Edinburgh), Dr David Lange and PhD candidate Vinny Gupta (University of Queensland) during the Institution of Fire Engineers sessions.
It was wonderful being part of the UQ fire group family and this experience has helped me grow professionally and personally. I can never thank them enough for the insights on fire safety engineering and the lovely time spent together. I am going back to Edinburgh bringing with me wonderful memories and I hope to continue the collaboration in future.