ITA safety prize for young researchers - TunnelTalk

ITA-COSUF News Release
The Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (COSUF) of the International Tunnelling and underground space Association (ITA) was established in May 2005 following a joint initiative of eight European research projects which all aimed at improved tunnel safety. Since then COSUF gathered among its members some of the most recognised experts, scientists and operators from all continents. The Committee scope is safety in operation and security in tunnels and other underground facilities. ITA-COSUF aims at improving and promoting safety and security underground, through networking activities and dissemination of technical culture and new knowledge.

The ITA is calling on young researchers and professionals to enter this year's safety prize.

As part of its bid to attract a new generation of researchers and tunnelling professionals a €1,000 prize is being offered to the winner, plus the chance to present his/her work to the ITA Committee on Operational Safety and Underground Facilities (ITA-COSUF) during a plenary session of its workshop at next year’s (2015) ITA World Tunnel Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The winner will also be awarded travel and accommodation costs, and as a statement of a continued commitment to safety this year's prize fund remains at €1,000.

"ITA-COSUF aims at a widespread adoption of best practices in the field of safety and security underground," said Roland Leucker, ITA-COSUF Chairman. "Consequently we need to develop the culture and know-how of practitioners and scientists. We wish to attract the interest of new generations of professionals on safety and security of underground facilities," he added.

2013 winner Enrico Ronchi
2013 winner Enrico Ronchi

To qualify for entry applicants need not be ITA-COSUF members, but must be students, young professionals or researchers under the age of 35, who have completed within the last two years research work in theory and/or practice in the area of operational safety or security of underground facilities. The deadline for entries is 28 February, and applications must be made in English using a form available on the ITA-COSUF website.

Last year (2014), the award was granted to Francesco Colella for his work on the modelling of tunnel ventilation systems with a multi-scale model.

Previous winners include Ben Nieman (2009), who received the first ITA-COSUF Award for his masters thesis at the University of Delft, Netherlands, which dealt with the ever-present problem of large cracks at the fire-exposed side of tunnel linings. The 2010 award was given to Stefan Kratzmeir from Germany for his excellent record on tunnel safety research while working as a scientific manager on R&D applications. In 2012 the COSUF Award went to Ying Zhen Li of the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden for his work on fire dynamics in tunnels. His research findings into tunnel sprinkler systems have been published by TunnelTalk.

In 2013 the award was handed over to Enrico Ronchi for his contribution in the area of evacuation modelling in road tunnel fires. Ronchi combined and tested various evacuation models to increase the reliability of predictions regarding human behaviour.

2015 award

The ITA COSUF Award for 2015 will be presented during the ITA COSUF Workshop on Aging Tunnels – Safety in operation and during refurbishment, on 25 May 2015. The winner will have the opportunity to present his/her own work during a plenary session of the workshop, which will take place during the 2015 ITA World Tunnel Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Eligibility for the award is restricted to research papers (in English) that are specifically aimed at the safety or security of underground facilities in operation, preferably reflecting an interdisciplinary approach. Among other criteria, the selected works should:

  • describe new aspects in the area of safety in operation and/or security in underground facilities
  • have been completed no more than two years before the time of the application
  • be of outstanding quality, including clear and concise descriptions of the objectives, scientific basis, work steps, results achieved and their relation to the current state of the art
  • be significant and represent a unique contribution

Applications for the award must be sent to the ITA secretariat by 28 February 2015. The winner will be selected by the ITA-COSUF steering board by 15 April 2015.

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