Gian Michele Calvi

Gian Michele Calvi

Personal information


  • 1987 Doctorate in Structural Engineering (PhD), Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • 1985 Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSc), University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 1981 Master in Civil Engineering (MEng), Università di Pavia, Italy

Current positions

  • 2010 - today Professor and Director of the Centre for Research on Understanding and Managing Extremes - Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS, Pavia, Italy
  • 2003 - today Founder and Researcher - European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (Eucentre), Pavia, Italy
  • 2013 - today Adjunct Professor - North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Previous positions

  • 2000 - 2010 Professor, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia
  • 1992 - 1999 Associate Professor, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia
  • 1987 - 1992 Assistant Professor, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia

Fellowships and Adwards

  • 2017 Distinguished Lecture Award, Dept. of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE), University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • 2015 Inaugural lecture (Prolusione) for the academic year 2015-2016 at the IUSS Pavia, Italy
  • 2014 ROSE School Prize, Pavia, Italy
  • 2012 Shaw Lecture Award, North Carolina State University, USA
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2009 Prize La Lombardia per il lavoro, Milano, Italy
  • 2009 Inaugural lecture (Prolusione) for the academic year 2009-2010 at the Università di Pavia, Italy
  • 2007 Vote of Thanks, for promotion to professorship of Julian Bommer, Imperial College, London
  • 2006 fib Award for Outstanding Concrete Structure for the contribution to the design and construction of the Rion–Antirion Bridge, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1985 Research fellowship, Foundation Stiftelsen Blanceflor Boncompagni Ludovisi, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1984 Fulbright - Hays Fellowship, Commission for Cultural Exchanges between U.S.A. and Italy

Supervision of gradute students and postdoctoral fellows

  • 2004 - 2017 Advisor of twenty-one Post-Doctoral Fellows, ROSE (later UME) School, IUSS and University of Pavia
  • 2004 - 2017 Advisor of twenty-one Ph. D. Students, ROSE (later UME) School, IUSS and University of Pavia
  • 2004 - 2017 Advisor of thirty-four M. Sc. Students, ROSE (later UME) School, IUSS and University of Pavia
  • 1987 - 2010 Advisor of forty-six M. Sc. Students, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia
  • 1998 - 2002 Advisor of four Ph. D. Students, Department of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano

Teaching activities

  • 2007 - 2017 Short courses taught in: Juneau, Anchorage, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Raleigh, San Diego (all USA), Toronto, Vancouver (Canada), Mendoza (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), San José (Costa Rica), Amman (Jordan)
  • 1996 - 2000 Faculty member, Doctoral School in Earthquake Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
  • 1990 Visiting Professor, University of California, San Diego

Organisation of scientific meetings

  • 2000 - 2017 Organizer of the International ROSE School Seminars (yearly), Pavia, 200 participants
  • 2007 Org. and Editor, US-Italy Workshop on Seismic Design of Bridges, Pavia, 60 p. (by invitation)
  • 1998 Org. and Ed., US-Italy Workshop on Bridge Protection Systems, New York, 60 p. (by invitation)
  • 1995, 1997 Org. and Ed., Japan-Italy Workshops on Seismic design and retrofit of bridges, Tsukuba and Pavia, 60 p., (by invitation)
  • 1994, 1996 Org. and Ed., US-Italy Workshops on Seismic evaluation and retrofit of building structures, Pavia and New York, 40 p. (by invitation)
  • 1991, 1994 Org. and Ed., International Workshops on Seismic design and retrofitting of reinforced concrete bridges, Bormio, Italy, and Queenstown, New Zealand, 40 p. (by invitation)

Istitutional responsabilities

  • 2000 - 2015 Director, Graduate School (MSc and PhD) in Earthquake Engineering, IUSS and University of Pavia
  • 2003 - 2014 Founder and President, Eucentre Foundation, Pavia
  • 2009 - 2010 Director, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia
  • 2003 - 2005 Director, Department of Structural Mechanics, University of Pavia
  • 1997 - 2003 Head of the Structures Laboratory, Structural Mechanics Department, University of Pavia

Commissions of trust

  • 2016 - 2017 Chairman of the commission for the evaluation of the Serra-Hunter professor candidates at the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC)
  • 2013 - 2015 Chairman of the commission for the evaluation for promotion of all professors of structural engineering in Italian universities
  • 2012 - today Director of the International Association of Earthquake Engineering, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2008 - today Chief Editor of the journal Progettazione Sismica, IUSS Press, Pavia, Italy
  • 2000 - today Reviewer of research proposals for: National Science Foundation, Washington, USA, UK Research Council, London, UK, Austrian Science Fund, Vienna, Austria, Swiss National Science Foundation, Bern, Switzerland, Comisiòn Nacional de Investigaciòn Cientìfica y Tecnològica of Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 2000 - today Reviewer of applications to assistant professor or for promotion to associate or full professorship in the following universities: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UT Austin, NCSU Raleigh, Georgia Tech Atlanta, Cincinnati (all USA), IC London (UK), Toronto (Canada), Adelaide (Australia), EPFL Lausanne and ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  • 1999 - today Associate Editor of the Journal of Earthquake Engineering, Taylor and Francis
  • 2008 - 2013 Member of the Board of Directors of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, Pavia
  • 2005 - 2013 Member of the evaluation panel for the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering (ISISE), Universities of Coimbra and Minho, Portugal
  • 2006 - 2010 Member of the Scientific Board of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), Trieste, Italy
  • 2004 - 2008 Member of the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), Roma, Italy
  • 2002 - 2008 Chairman of the Seismic Risk Section of the National Commission for Prevention, Mitigation and Management of Great Risks (Commissione Grandi Rischi), Roma, Italy
  • 2008 - 2010 Component of the National Commission for Prevention, Mitigation and Management of Great Risks (Commissione Grandi Rischi), Roma, Italy
  • 2003 - 2004 Chairman of the Committee created to re-write the Italian Seismic Design Code, Roma, Italy
  • 1998 - 2004 Member of several Project Teams related to Eurocode 8 (structure in seismic regions)

Selected publications

  • Magenes, G., Calvi, G.M., In.plane seismic response of birck masonry walls, Earthquake engineering & structural dynamics 26 (11), 1997, 1091-1112
  • Calvi, G.M., A displacement-base design approach for vulnerability evaluations of classes of buildings, Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 3 (03), 1999, 411-438
  • Palermo A., Pampanin, S., Calvi, G.M., Concept and development of Hybrid Systems for Seismic-Resistant Bridges, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 9:6, 2005, 899-921
  • Calvi, G.M., Pavese, A., Rasulo, A. and Bolognini, D., Experimental and numerical studies on the seismic response of r.c. hollow bridge piers, Bul. of Earthquake Engineering, 3:3, 2005, 267-297
  • Calvi G.M., Pinho R., Magenes G., Bommer J.J., Restrepo-Vèlez L.F., Crowley H., The development of seismic vulnerability assessment methodologies for variable geographical scales over the past 30 years, ISET J. of Earthquake Engineering Technology, 43:3, 2006, 75-104
  • Sullivan, T.J., Priestely M.J.N., Calvi G.M., Estimating higher-mode response of ductile structures, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 12:3, 2008, 456-472
  • Petrini L., Maggi C., Priestley M. J. N., Calvi G. M., Experimental Verification of Viscous Damping Modeling for Inelastic Time History Analyses, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 12:1, 2008, 125-45
  • Pennucci D., Calvi G.M., Sullivan T.J., Displacement-based design of precast walls with additional dampers, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 13:1, 2009, 40-65
  • Calvi, G.M., Sullivan T.J., Villani A., Conceptual Seismic Design of Cable-Stayed Bridges, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 14, S8, 2010, 1139-1171
  • Pennucci D., Sullivan T.J., Calvi, G.M., Displacement reduction factors for the design of medium and long period structures, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 15:1, 2011, 1-29
  • Stucchi M., Meletti C., Montaldo V., Crowley H., Calvi G. M., Boschi, E. Seismic Hazard Assessment (2003-2009) for the Italian Building Code, Bul. of the Seismological Society of America, 101:4, 2011, pp. 1885–1911
  • Calvi G. M., Choices and Criteria for Seismic Strengthening, J. of Earthquake Engineering, 17:6, 2013, 769-802
  • Calvi, G.M., Displacement-based seismic design of bridges, Structural Engineering International, Volume 23, Number 2, May 2013 , pp. 112-121
  • Smyrou, E., Sullivan, T., Priestley, N. and Calvi, G.M., (2013). Sectional Response of T-Shaped RC walls. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 999-1019.
  • Welch, D.P., Sullivan. T.J. and Calvi G.M., (2014). Developing Direct Displacement-Based Procedures for Simplified Loss Assessment in Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering, Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 18:290–322
  • Sullivan, T.J., Welch, D.P., Calvi, G.M., (2014). Simplified Loss Estimation for Seismic Performance Classification, in State-of-the-Art and Future Challenges in Earthquake Engineering, Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration, Vol. 13, No. S1, 2014, 95-122
  • Agha Beigi, H., Christopoulos, C., Sullivan, T., and Calvi, G.M., (2014). Gapped-Inclined Braces for Seismic Retrofit of Soft-Story Buildings. J. Struct. Eng.
  • Agha Beigi H, Christopoulos C., Sullivan T.J., Calvi G.M. (2015) Seismic Response of a Case Study Soft story Frame Retrofitted Using a GIB System, Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics, 10
  • Pennucci, D., Sullivan, T.J., and Calvi, G.M. (2015), Inelastic Higher-Mode Response in Reinforced Concrete Wall Structures, Earthquake Spectra, 31(3)
  • Borzi, B., P.Ceresa, P. Franchin, F. Noto, G. M. Calvi, P. E. Pinto (2015) Seismic Vulnerability of the Italian Roadway Bridge Stock, Earthquake Spectra
  • Agha Beigi H., Sullivan T., Christopoulos C., Calvi G.M. (2015), Factors influencing the repair costs of soft story RC frame buildings, Engineering Structures
  • Agha Beigi H., Christopoulos C., Sullivan T., and Calvi G.M. (2016)Cost benefit analysis of buildings retrofitted using GIB systems, Earthquake Spectra, 32(2), 861-879
  • Ruggiero D.M., E.C. Bentz, G.M. Calvi, M.P. Collins (2016), Shear response under reversed cyclic loading. ACI Structural Journal, 113:6
  • Calvi, P.M., M. Moratti and G.M. Calvi (2016), Seismic isolation devices based on sliding between surfaces with variable friction coefficient, Earthquake Spectra, 32:4
  • Barone, S., A. Pavese and G.M. Calvi (2017), Experimental dynamic response of spherical friction-based isolation devices, Journal of Earthquake Engineering, DOI 10.1080/13632469.2017.1387201

Major Monographs

G.M. Calvi is the author of some major monographs, with a total number of citations exceeding 5,000. Four monographs are listed below; those indicated under numbers 1 and 3 still constitutes the international standard of reference in their field. The first one has been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

  1. Priestley M.J.N., F. Seible and G.M. Calvi, Seismic design and retrofit of bridges, Wiley, New York, 1996
  2. Petrini, L., R. Pinho and G.M. Calvi, Criteri di Progettazione Antisismica degli Edifici (Criteria for seismic design of buildings), IUSS Press, Pavia, 2004
  3. Priestley, M.J.N., G.M. Calvi and M.J.Kowalsky, Displacement Based Seismic Design of Structures, IUSS Press, Pavia, 2007
  4. Calvi, G.M. and R. Nascimbene, Progettare i gusci (Design of shells), IUSS Press, Pavia, 2011

Granted Patents

G.M. is one of the holders of the following patents:

  1. Pillar for building constructions - Patent cooperation treaty application number WO2013050812 (A1), April 2013, European patent application number EP2683889 (A1), January 2014
  2. Gapped inclined brace (GIB) system - US provisional patent filed December 2, 2013, PCT filed December 2, 2014

Invited presentations to Major International Conferences

G.M. Calvi has been invited to deliver keynote lectures to several tens of conferences, including two World and three European conferences on Earthquake Engineering. Some relevant presentations are listed below:

  • Performance-based approaches for seismic assessment of existing structures, 11th European Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Paris, 1998
  • Recent experience and innovative approaches in design and assessment of bridges, 13th World Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Vancouver, 2004
  • Innovative approaches to advanced education and multidisciplinary research, 3rd Int. Symposium on Wind Effects on Buildings and Urban Environments (ISWE3), Tokyo, 2008
  • Engineers understanding of earthquakes demand and structures response, 14th European Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Ohrid, 2010
  • Alternative choices and criteria for seismic s trengthening, 15th World Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Lisbon, 2012
  • Energy efficiency and disaster resilience: a common approach, Int. Conf. on Multi-hazard Approaches to Civil Infrastructure Engineering (ICMAE), Chicago 2014
  • A seismic performance classification framework to provide increased seismic resilience, 2nd European Conf. on Earthquake Eng. and Seismology, Istanbul 2014
  • Concepts and technologies for friction-based isolation, VII National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Bogotà 2015
  • Seismic assessment and rational renovation of the structural heritage, IABSE Symposium Engineering the Future, Vancouver 2017
  • Performing full scale in situ dynamic testing, 7th International Conference on Advancement in Structural Testing, Pavia 2017
  • Experiences and trends in seismic design of bridges, 2nd International Bridge Seismic Workshop, Shanghai, 2017

International Recognitions

In addition to what is listed in the sections “Fellowships and Awards” and “Commissions of Trusts”, consider the following achievements:

  • The ROSE School - In 2000 G. M. Calvi created a graduate school, known as ROSE School ( The school is based on an innovative teaching system, with courses taught in series rather than in parallel. The faculty and the students are completely international. Last year more than 1,500 applications were received from more than 100 different countries and the rate of admission has been lower than 5%.
  • The Eucentre Foundation - In 2003 G. M. Calvi created the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering ( Eucentre is based on a laboratory with the most powerful shaking table in Europe, a three-dimensional reaction wall systems and a testing rig for isolating and dissipating devices and special structural elements. The initial investment was about 12 M€, provided by the funding institutions on the pure base of thrusting a project and the person who conceived it. The foundation is prospering without any public steady contribution, counting on research project for about 6 M€ per year.
  • The GEM Foundation - In 2008 G. M. Calvi obtained the assignment of the Secretariat of a newly conceived project to Eucentre, from the OECD. This resulted in the creation of the GEM Foundation (, a public-private endeavor which is internationally recognized as a world center to bring knowledge, data and resources for earthquake risk assessment worldwide together, as a critical step towards improved understanding and actions that both manage and reduce risk.

Major Contributions to the Early Career of Excellent Researchers

G. M. Calvi has been the mentor of more than 100 graduate students and post doc fellows. Most of them are professors and professional leaders in many countries. At the last World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, held in Santiago, Chile, on January 2017, the ROSE School was represented by the largest share of Alumni, worldwide. At the ROSE School dinner more than 60 former students celebrated their reunion.

Due to the space restrictions, only two examples of excellent researchers who are today recognized scientific world leaders are presented:

  • Stefano Pampanin obtained his Ph.D. at the Politecnico di Milano in 2000 under my guidance and remained with me for the next two years. He is now professor at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and President of the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering
  • Rui Pinho joined my research group soon after completing his Ph.D. at the Imperial College, London, in 2001. He has been working under my guidance for several years, becoming Secretary General of the GEM Foundation (2008-2013), obtaining the rank of professor in Italy and serving now as Director of Science at Eucentre

Examples of Leadership in Design

  • 1990 - today: The DDBD method. The relevance and originality of the Direct Displacement Based Design method, developed by G. M. Calvi with M.J.N. Priestley, is best expressed by the incipit of a review by Graham Powell (Emeritus Professor at UC Berkeley): “It is rare for a book on structural engineering design to be revolutionary. I believe that this is such a book. If you are involved in any way with seismic resistant structural design, this should be on your bookshelf, and you should read at least the first three chapters”.
  • Greece 1998 - 2004: the Rion – Antirion cable stayed bridge. The 3 km long Rion Antirion Bridge with 250m tall piers and major spans of 560m is a recognized world masterpiece. G. M. Calvi played a major role in the Checker Team and received world recognition for the contribution to the design and construction of the Rion–Antirion Bridge (fib Award for Outstanding Concrete Structure, 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland).
  • Duzce 1999 - 2004: The North Anatolian Viaduct. The 1999 Duzce earthquake severely damaged the North Anatolian Viaduct, completed but not opened at the time. The ingenuity of the structural solution to repair and strengthen the viaduct, envisaged by G. M. Calvi, allowed to close the case opened with the Lloyds of London, the insurer, who accepted to bear all costs, since they were lower than what expected for repair only.
  • L’Aquila 2009: the CASE project. G. M. Calvi has been the designer and project manager of the CASE project for the reconstruction work after the earthquake that struck L’Aquila in April 2009. This work implied the construction of 185 base isolated new buildings in about six months, providing dwellings for about 15,000 homeless people in the region of L’Aquila. This endeavor is considered a major engineering success all over the world.
  • Northern Italy 2010: Steel Bridge “La Becca” over the Po river. In November 2010 some concern raises about the stability of a steel truss bridge about 1040 m long, constructed at the beginning of the XX century and partially demolished during the Second World War. G.M. Calvi and his team assessed an ongoing rotation of one of the pier foundation and managed to design and build two side piers with deep foundation and to perform all the inherent strengthening measure to the bridge in about two months. In March, 2011, the pier completely collapse during a flood and the structure survived resting on the side structures built for this purpose. This is one of the very few case in which an old bridge collapse has been prevented in such short time conditions.
  • Costa Rica, 2015 - 2018: G.M. Calvi is leading and coordinating a complex interdisciplinary effort to construct 103 new school buildings in Costa Rica for the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica and for the Banco Inter Americano de Desarrollo. This project requires an integrations between lawyers, business administration experts, engineers, architects, geologists, expert in education.
  • Groningen, the Netherlands 2015 - 2017: Due to seismic actions induced by gas extraction, great concerns rose up about the risk in a wide area, which includes some 200,000 buildings. Among them, 226 historical churches constitute a particularly relevant and difficult case. G.M. Calvi and his team developed a WEBGIS interactive system able to assess each church at different levels of complexity, including non linear push over analysis integrated by local kinematic processes. The system combined fast assessment with prioritization evaluation, allowing significant resource saving and rationally based choices.

Recent Grants and Funding (ongoing or submitted)

Project Title Funding source Amount (k Euro) Period Role of the PI
STRIT - Tools and technologies for the management
of the risk of transport infrastructures
Italian Ministry of Research: PON01_02366 14,600 2012 - 2015 Local Coordinator
PRISMA - Smart cloud platforms and interoperable
for the e-governmentof the security
in areas of high seismic risk

Italian Ministry of Research: PON04_a2_A
22,000  2012 – 2015  Local Coordinator 
DIONISO - Seismic domotics innovative technologies
for home and system 
Italian Ministry of Research: SCN_00320 9,400 2013 – 2015 Local Coordinator
STREST - Harmonized approach to stress tests
for critical infrastructures against natural hazards
EC, C.N.: 603389 3,000 2013 – 2016 Local Coordinator
ECOSTRESS - Ecological coastal strategies and tools for resilient European Societies EC, ECHO-SUB-2013-671461 665 2014 – 2015 General Coordinator
STEEL-EARTH - Steel-based applications in earthquake prone  EC, C.N.: RFS2-CT-2014-00022 630 2014 – 2015 Local Coordinator
SASPARM 2.0 - Support action for strengthening
Palestine capabilities for seismic risk mitigation
Call DG ECHO 2014 500 2015 - 2016 General Coordinator
SERA - Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research Alliance for Europe EC, H2020 INFRAIA: Integrating Activities for Advanced Communities 10,000 2017 - 2020 Coordinator of the engineering-related activities
INFRA-NAT - Increased Resilience of Critical Infrastructure to Natural and Human-Induced Hazards EC, UCPM-2017-PP-AG 700 2017 - 2020 General Coordinator