Michael Griffith

Michael Griffith

School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Griffith is a Professor in the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide where he has been since completing his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He has authored or co-authored 2 book chapters and over 140 refereed papers in the field of earthquake engineering and structural dynamics and has attracted over $4 million competitive funding since 1990 for his research. His professional interests are in the field of earthquake engineering and include training practising engineers to work with Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams throughout Australia.

His current research activity is on trying to develop improved methods for seismic assessment of unreinforced brick masonry buildings and the non-linear dynamic response of reinforced concrete frames and seismic retrofit of concrete columns using composite plating techniques. He is also currently involved with specialist consultant work for engineering firms in the field of earthquake engineering, is a member of the joint Australia-New Zealand Standards Earthquake Loading committee, and previously worked as a structural engineer in Berkeley, specialising in the earthquake analysis and design of piping systems in nuclear power plants.

Professor Griffith has over 30 years research experience in the area of earthquake resistant design and analysis of structures, beginning with his PhD research at the University of California at Berkeley.  During this time he has published over 170 refereed papers in this area and attracted over $8.4 million dollars in competitive research funding in Australia.  He now sits on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Earthquake Engineering which is based in Tokyo, Japan.

In the field of earthquake engineering, Dr Griffith has been closely involved with the development of new technologies to improve the seismic resistance of both new and existing structures.  His initial work in this field, based on his PhD research, was to demonstrate experimentally and theoretically the feasibility and reliability of seismic isolation as an effective seismic design strategy for mediums-rise buildings and a wide range of earthquake ground motions.  His research at the University of Adelaide has focussed on developing methods to prevent earthquake induced damage, including collapse, of unreinforced masonry buildings and non-seismically designed reinforced concrete frames.  Recent outcomes and progress in these areas are described below.

Masonry Research:

His research on masonry walls has led to the development of a displacement-based analysis technique for assessing the earthquake resistance of existing and the design of new masonry walls in vertical bending.  Currently he is working with colleagues to extend this innovative design technique to walls subject to bi-axial (two-way) bending.  In addition, some of his results from shaking table tests on typical wall connections in masonry buildings have already been incorporated into the Australian Masonry Structures Code in the form of amendments to allow friction to be considered as part of the seismic load path.

Two projects that are currently in progress involve (1) improving the accuracy of the Static Push-Over analysis technique for seismic assessment of masonry buildings with flexible floor diaphragms; and (2) developing an innovative technique for earthquake strengthening of masonry walls using fibre reinforced polymers in such a way that it does not alter the normal, aesthetic appearance of masonry and accounts for the long-term behaviour of the FRP-masonry bond under environmental conditions.

Concrete Frame Research:

Earthquake related research on concrete structures at Adelaide has focussed on the seismic performance of concrete frames whose design is dominated by gravity-load considerations and methods for their seismic upgrade.  Experimental research has consisted of shaking table tests of 1/5-scale concrete frame structures, quasi-static cyclic testing of ½-scale concrete frames with and without masonry infill panels, and monotonic static and quasi-static cyclic testing of concrete columns.  Non-linear dynamic modelling procedures have now been developed that can accurately model the dynamic behaviour observed during experiments.  Current research is focussed on developing practical methods to improve the strength and ductility of such concrete columns and frames using composite plating techniques that fully account for the partial-interaction behaviour between the concrete sections and the plates.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2012 - ongoing Associate Dean (Research) University of Adelaide
    2012 - ongoing Board of Directors International Association for Earthquake Engineering
    1988 - ongoing Professor University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Research Award John B Scalzi Research Award, , United States The Masonry Society United States -
    2018 Fellowship Visiting Erskine Fellowship, The University of Canterbury New Zealand -
    2017 Achievement Charles Bubb Medal Australian Earthquake Engineering Society Bahrain -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1988 University of California, Berkeley United States PhD
    1983 Washington State University United States MSc (Civil Engineering)
    1982 Washington State University United States BSc (Civil Engineering)

Grants & Funding--since  2010

Funding Organisation


Project Title



National Disaster Resilience Program  (2019 -21)

York, WA earthquake building mitigation implementation project


ARC Discovery (2019 – 21)

1st CI with Visintin et al.

Improved seismic resilience against life-safety hazards of masonry buildings


ARC Discovery (2016 – 18)

1st CI with Masia and Ingham

Safeguarding Australia’s heritage masonry buildings from earthquake attack


ARC LIEF (2015)

6th CI with B Cazzaloto

Development of a world-class facility for three dimensional dynamic testing


ARC Discovery (2014 – 16)

1st CI with P Visintin

FRP retrofitted brick masonry buildings – are they reliable over the long-term


DSTO Salisbury (2013)

1st CI with M. Ali & Visintin

UHPC – material testing and modelling


ARC LIEF (2013)

jointly with Univ. Queensland

Performance level structural testing facility


ARC Discovery (2012 – 14)

1st CI with Masia et al.

Improved analysis techniques for seismic assessment of URM buildings with flexible floor/roof diaphragms


DSTO Salisbury (2011)

Sole CI

Vulnerability assessment of Defence buildings


ARC LIEF (2010)

jointly with Swinburne

Hybrid Testing Facility for Structures under Extreme Loads”


ARC Discovery (2009 – 11)

2nd CI with Oehlers and Ali

A unified reinforced concrete model for flexure and shear


ARC Discovery (2008 – 10)

1st CI with Masia & Ingham

Earthquake protection of masonry buildings using fibre reinforced polymer strengthening


During my 29 years at Adelaide, I have taught subjects to students at all year levels of the BE(Civil) degree.  I take great pride in my teaching and regard this aspect of university work to be very important.  Indeed, I enrolled in and completed the ACUE (as it was then) course for new university lecturers in 1988 long before it was a requirement for newly appointed lecturers.  I believe that students consider me to be a very good teacher – as evidenced by the anecdotal feedback I receive from them and from the “scores” I receive from them on the SELTs.  For example, only once since 2002 have I received less than 6 out of 7 for their response to “All things considered, how would you rate Dr Griffith’s effectiveness as a university lecturer”. 

Significantly, I was invited to give the “Seismic design of masonry buildings” course to the post-graduate students at the European School for the Reduction of Seismic Risk (‘Rose School’) at the University of Pavia in northern Italy, in January 2007.  This is a very high honour as the lecturers for all the courses in this programme are international experts from highly regarded universities around the world (refer: http://www.roseschool.it/index.php?option=com_lecturers&Itemid=84). Subsequently, I have given the course again in 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2020.  The student feedback from those courses has also been very positive, with student assessments for my teaching above the norm for lecturers at the Rose School.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 Co-Supervisor Environmental Performance and Impact Assessment of 3D Printed Cob Constructions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mohamed Sabry Radwan Mohamed Gomaa
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Investigation of Anchorage Performance for Improving Seismic Resilience Against Life-Safety Hazards of Masonry Buildings Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Chris Burton
    2019 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Development of interface based damage-plasticity constitutive model and its application in the simulation of masonry structures under monotonic and cyclic loads Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yu Nie
    2018 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Experimental and Numerical Investigations on Behaviour of URM Wall Subjected to In-plane Loading Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Young Kol Park
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Holistic Investigation of Robotically-Assisted 3D Printed Cob Walls: From Fabrication to Environmental Impacts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mohamed Sabry Radwan Mohamed Gomaa
    2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Quantifying the Seismic Site Amplification Characteristics of Adelaide's Regolith Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bambang Setiawan .
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor An Efficient Modelling Technique for Static and Dynamic Response of Thin-walled Box Girder Bridges Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kiana Kashefi
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor A Mechanics Simulation of the Influence of Reinforcement Corrosion on RC Beam Behaviour Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Qian Feng
    2012 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Innovative Multi-level Methodology Incorporating the Techniques of Finite Element Modelling and Multimodal Optimization for Concept Design of Advanced Grid Stiffened Composite Panels against Buckling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Liang Huang
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Improved Seismic Analysis of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings with Flexible Diaphragms Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yasuto Nakamura
    2010 - 2016 Co-Supervisor FRP-Concrete-Steel Composite Structural Members Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Yunita Idris
    2010 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Thermal and structural performances of insulated cavity rammed earth wall houses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Xiang Dong
    2010 - 2014 Co-Supervisor A Generic Mechanics Approach for Predicting Shear Strength of Reinforced Concrete Beams Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Tao Zhang
    2009 - 2012 Co-Supervisor A Generic Segmental Analysis of all Types of RC Members Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Prof Phillip Visintin
    2008 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Out-of-plane strengthening of unreinforced masonry walls using FRP Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jaya Kashyap
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Tension Stiffening in Reinforced Concrete Beams and Slabs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Rahimah Muhamad
    2008 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Axial compressive behaviour of FRP-confined high-strength concrete Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Thomas Vincent
    2008 - 2011 Co-Supervisor The Discrete Rotation Behaviour of Reinforced Concrete Beams Under Shear Loading Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Wade Doyle Lucas
    2006 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Numerical Simulation of Strengthened Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Walls by New Retrofitting Technologies for Blast Loading Master of Engineering Science Master Full Time Mr Yu Su
    2006 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Seismic Performance of Reinforced Concrete Frames Master of Engineering Science Master Full Time Ms Jaya Kashyap
    2004 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Unreinforced Masonry Walls Subjected to Out Of Plane Seismic Actions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jaroslav Vaculik
    2004 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Out-of-Plane Strengthening of Unreinforced Masonry Walls using FRP Techniques Master of Engineering Science Master Full Time Mr Qi Yang
    2000 - 2004 Principal Supervisor Design of Unreinforced Masonry Walls for Out-of-plane Loading Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Craig Willis
    1999 - 2002 Principal Supervisor Seismic Retrofitting Of Rectangular Reinforced Concrete Columns With Partial Interaction Plating Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Yufei Wu
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2012 - 2021 Member Board of Directors, , Tokyo International Association for Earthquake Engineering Japan
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    1990 - ongoing Member • Australian Earthquake Engineering Society (National President 2002 - 2004) Australia
    1990 - ongoing Member Earthquake Engineering Research Institute United States
    1990 - ongoing Member New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering New Zealand
    1988 - ongoing Member Fellow, Institution of Engineers, Australia (CPEng and NPER-3) Australia

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