SEABC Legacy Awards

Over the past decade, SEABC and its precursor organizations offer numerous professional development activities in the form of technical seminars, workshops and most recently through hosting the Annual Symposium of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). While these events are kept affordable for our local membership and some may operate at a small loss, others such as the IABSE Symposium generated a considerable financial surplus.

As a non-profit society, it is fitting that SEABC find an appropriate use for these funds that benefits our local structural engineering community. As the surplus was generated by specific events, and not day to day activities, the SEABC Board of Directors decided to establish a legacy fund with the surplus invested to generate sufficient annual revenue to support a number of activities. The SEABC Board of Directors further decided that three pillars should support these activities:

  • fostering excellence in the profession,
  • motivating our young members, and
  • enhancing our profession’s standing with the public.

Three programmes have been developed for implementing these objectives: a grant to support structural engineering advancement:

  1. The Peter Ridgway Taylor Grant for Structural Engineering Advancement
  2. The SEABC Young Member Meritorious Achievement Award
  3. Continued support and development of the Notable Structures Initiative

The SEABC Legacy Awards Committee spent a year reviewing and developing these three programmes. This page describes each of the three programmes and explains how members can participate in them. The SEABC Board feels that all three pillars are reflected in each of these three programmes and hopes that membership participation will be enthusiastic.

The Peter Ridgway Taylor Grant for Structural Engineering Advancement

The grant was established from the SEABC Legacy Fund to encourage SEABC members to advance and promote the field of structural engineering through an undertaking related to the field. Recognizing that “advancement” and “promotion” can take many forms, some of which can be quite serendipitous, the grant selection process is kept as free as possible of prescriptive criteria that would unduly restrict the applicants’ imagination. However, the successful project undertaking must clearly demonstrate ingenuity, be of value to SEABC members, and underscore the contribution that structural engineering makes to society.

Dr. Peter Ridgway Taylor is a world-renowned structural engineer who, as a principal of Buckland and Taylor Engineers in North Vancouver and a teacher at UBC, spent his entire life fostering ingenuity in our field. Throughout his career, Peter stressed developing innovative concepts based on sound engineering fundamentals. Peter was also a very active honorary chairman of the extremely successful IABSE 2017 Symposium in Vancouver, which generated a significant surplus that has been added to the SEABC Legacy Fund. Naming of this award in his honour is a fitting tribute to an outstanding career.

Who is Eligible to Submit a Proposal?

Any SEABC member or a group of SEABC members submitting a joint proposal as a team.

While academic SEABC members are not excluded, the selection process recognizes that academic research has numerous funding sources available to it, therefore selection will weigh in favour of non-academic applicants in cases of submission of similar merit.

How is the Grant Recipient Selected?

The grant will be awarded based on a call for proposals process. Members will be invited to submit a brief written proposal, outlining the project undertaking they would be carrying out if successful.

What Kind of Project Undertakings are Eligible?

Proposed projects should identify advancement of structural engineering through ingenuity, practical contribution to engineering practice, public engagement, outreach to the next generation and enhancing the perception of structural engineering in general. Winning proposals will likely comprise some or all of these attributes. The word “undertaking” is used on purpose, recognizing that this can take many forms.

A few examples of possible project undertakings are:

  • Developing tools for student or general education, such as a program that brings key aspects of structural engineering topics to the public.
  • Preparing a handbook on a structural design topic relevant to BC practice.
  • Exploring new uses for existing materials or construction methods.
  • Developing a new design method or analytical approach.

This list is by no means intended to be comprehensive or limit the imagination of applicants.

What is the Grant Amount?

One grant of up to $ 10,000 may be awarded annually. The Award Committee may, at its discretion, make no grant in any given year if it feels proposals of suitable calibre have not been submitted.

What are the Proposal Instructions?

The proposals must be no more than ten 8 ½ x 11” pages in length, written in 10 point font and submitted in PDF format. The proposal must be structured as follows:

  1. Project description, including time-frame.
  2. Proposed outcome of the undertaking.
  3. Explain the merits of the proposed undertaking, e.g.:
    • Innovative features showing structural engineering ingenuity.
    • Aspects of the undertaking that would be of interest to the public.
    • Aspects of the undertaking that would be of benefit to SEABC members.
  4. Proposed methods for communicating the project outcome to SEABC’s members and to the public.
  5. A brief bio of the proponent(s), including a summary of education, career to date, current employer. Curriculum vitae may be attached and do not count to the ten page limit.
  6. Budget with break-down of expenditures and proposed progress milestones; other confirmed or proposed funding sources to supplement the SEABC Peter R. Taylor grant, if applicable.

The proposal process will close at 17:00 PST on the second Monday of January each year. Proposals must be submitted by email in PDF format to: awards(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)SEABC.ca.

How is the Winner Selected?

The Award Committee will review the proposals and select the winner prior to the SEABC Annual General Meeting and Keynote Dinner. Proposals will be kept strictly confidential, except for the winning entry. If the committee feels no proposal is worthy of receiving the grant, no grant will be awarded that year.

The winning grant recipient will be announced at the Annual General Meeting / Annual Keynote Dinner. Additional details on the winning grant recipient will also be published in the SEABC newsletter or website.

What Responsibilities Does the Grant Recipient Have?

The grant recipient is responsible for completing the undertaking within the proposed time-frame. The outcome presented in the proposal must be achieved. The grant recipient must be willing to communicate details of the undertaking and outcome to the SEABC membership and the public in a manner appropriate to the nature of the undertaking. Any intellectual property arising out of the undertaking must be considered as belonging in the public domain. The recipient may publish the outcome of the undertaking, if appropriate, but it must be in open-access media available to SEABC members. The grant funds may only cover a portion of the overall cost of a winning proposal but the role of the SEABC Legacy Fund must be acknowledged.

The grant takes the form of a contract between SEABC and the recipient. The grant recipient will be required to enter into a contractual agreement with SEABC that sets out the above responsibilities. The grant will be paid in a number of installments, typically tied to the progress milestones defined in the proponent’s proposal. The agreement will also oblige the grant recipient to repay the grant if the proposed undertaking is not completed within the proposed timeframe.

The Award Committee may, at its discretion, agree to an extension of time if clear progress is being made and a result is in sight or if there are extenuating circumstances that have impeded progress. The grant is considered non-renewable, and any request for additional funding from the SEABC Legacy Fund to extend the scope will be considered a new application with no advantage relative to all other new proposals submitted.

The SEABC Young Member Meritorious Achievement Award

Meritorious achievement is usually recognized near the end of an engineer’s career. These are fitting tributes to a person who has spent a lifetime enhancing our profession.

However, some engineers demonstrate significant professional achievements early in their careers and recognizing these achievements at mid-career will serve to motivate others.

Recognizing that young members often have difficulty obtaining approval from their employers to attend conferences or workshops, both for reasons of cost and lost working time, the award takes the form of a grant to attend the conference/workshop of the winner’s choice, anywhere in the world. The SEABC Board will also contact the winner’s employer to facilitate the recipient receiving the time off required to attend the selected conference or workshop.

Who is Eligible to Receive This Award?

Any SEABC member under 35 years of age on 1 January of the year the award is given.

Who Can Nominate a Candidate for this Award?

Any three current SEABC members may nominate a candidate. Candidates with nominators from more than one firm might be given a higher standing.

What Makes a Winning Candidate?

A winning candidate has gone above and beyond her or his peers during their career to date in contributing to the structural engineering profession in a meaningful way. A few examples of possible eligible achievements are:

  • Developing clever design idea(s).
  • Exceptional performance under difficult circumstances.
  • Managing team of engineers positively to be recognized by team members.
  • Successfully starting a new office.
  • Undertaking significant new research or developing an analytical approach.
  • Significant contributions towards professional outreach, technical committees or other volunteer service to the profession.

This list is by no means intended to be comprehensive or limit the judgement of nominators.

What is the Award Amount?

One award of up to $ 3500 in value may be awarded annually. The Award Committee may, at its discretion, make no award in any given year if it feels candidates of suitable calibre have not been nominated. The award will be in the form of reimbursement of approved actual trip expenses.

How do We Nominate a Candidate?

The three nominating SEABC members will submit a brief nomination package, no more than ten 8 ½ x 11” pages in length, written in 10 point font and submitted in PDF format. The following must be included:

  1. Candidate’s name and date of birth.
  2. Names and employers of the three nominating members, including contact information.
  3. A brief bio of the candidate, including a summary of education, career to date, current employer.
  4. A brief career summary of the candidate.
  5. Reasons for the nomination.

The nomination process will close at 17:00 PST on the last Monday of January each year. Proposals must be submitted by email in PDF format to: awards(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)SEABC.ca.

What Form Does the Award Take?

The award will reimburse the winner’s airfare, conference or workshop fees, hotel and pay a $75 per diem allowance, up to the award amount cap. Airfare shall be economy return from the awardees normal place of residence, using the most direct routing unless an alternate routing is less expensive. Hotel and per diem are for the official conference/workshop dates only. The Award Committee will pick the winner, who would be announced at the Annual General Meeting / Annual Keynote Dinner. Additional details on the winner will also be published in the SEABC newsletter or website.

What Responsibilities Does the Grant Recipient Have?

Because this award is a travel grant, the recipient must:

  • Submit details of the conference/workshop to the Award Committee for approval of the overall travel budget.
  • Provide pro-forma invoices (e.g. airline and hotel booking website screen shots, travel agency invoices, tec.) for approval by SEABC prior to undertaking the trip.

Submit final actual receipts to the SEABC Treasurer upon completion of the trip. A formal written report or presentation is not required since this is a retroactive award for past achievement. However, the recipient will be encouraged to offer a brief “lessons learned” presentation at the annual Young Members Group presentation competition.

Notable Structures Initiative

Objective

The Notable Structures Initiative (NSI) was established in “book” form as a value-added feature of the 2017 IABSE Symposium. It identifies numerous structures in the Lower Mainland and serves as a tool for self-guided tours. The current database is focused on buildings and bridges and has limited geographical scope. The current database can be found on the SEABC website.

The NSI has significant public relations value to SEABC, particularly if it is expanded to cover a multitude of types of structures throughout British Columbia (including dams, towers, specialised industrial structures, tunnels, historical structures, etc. as well as the current building and bridge entries). Sister organizations, such as AIBC and EGBC, will be made aware of its existence as will heritage groups. Additional outreach initiatives such as industry-focussed or public tours, lectures, or videos/web content could eventually be built out from the content of the database.

The eventual form of the NSI remains to be clarified. Options range from simply expanding content using the existing media, to re-working and improving content by means of a unified writing style or even developing a stand-alone, multi-platform app with high-quality graphics and professionally written text.

Form of Database Support

An NSI Working Group (WG) under the initial leadership of Katrin Habel. The WG will undertake the on-going expansion and maintenance of the NSI. The short to intermediate term tasks of the WG are:

  • Establish the Terms of Reference for Database Entries: TOR will emphasize that the Notable Structures are to focus on technical or other unusual aspects of each structure and should not be used as project marketing. Commercial products or company names should not be used, except in the small data block accompanying each entry. All write-ups will be reviewed before publication by at least one member of the NSI Management Committee to determine suitability and make edits for common style and presentation.
  • Database maintenance:
    • Initial work is to make a submission form, template and the TOR, and develop a website layout.
    • Send out a call for new structures once a year with a deadline.
    • The WG will review submissions, but it is not the WG responsibility to rewrite articles if they don’t meet the TOR, i.e. articles will be sent back to the authors if they are inadequate. Existing entries serve as examples to authors as to what to submit.
    • Ongoing website maintenance.

Those interested in participating in the WG for this initiative, please contact Katrin Habel at habelk(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)ae.ca.

Legacy Awards Committee

The SEABC Board has established an Award Committee is required to review applications for the Peter Ridgway Taylor Grant for Structural Engineering Advancement and the Young Member Meritorious Achievement Award and to select the winning proponents and generally administer the programmes. The Legacy Fund itself will be administered by the SEABC Board and Treasurer. Awards recipients are selected by a simple majority of the selection committee members.

The committee comprise five members selected by the SEABC Board of Directors: the Past President as chair (Cameron Kemp), the Education Committee Chair (Tejas Goshalia), and three others appointed by the Board (Adrian Gygax, Paul Fast one vacant). The latter three members of the Award Committee are appointed bi-annually, in May or June. The SEABC Board hopes to fill the vacant position with an Emeritus Professor from one of BC’s universities shortly. Inclusion of the Past President and Education Committee Chairs should ensure year-to-year continuity in the process.