Cristiano Loss and UBC Team Receive $1M NSERC Alliance Missions Grant

Cristiano Loss
Cristiano Loss

UBC Forestry’s Assistant Professor in Timber Engineering, Cristiano Loss, along with UBC civil engineering professors Tony Yang and Zhengbo Zou and a team of researchers, was recently awarded a $1 million Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance Missions grant.

Funded over two years, the project, High-Performance Timber Modular Tall Buildings Toward Resilient Construction, will help lead the development of advanced technologies aimed at creating high-performance structures and surrounding community infrastructure that can respond to external stimuli and develop a resilient built environment.

Smart Structures

Known as smart structures, these contemporary buildings can sense all kinds of different external forces including extreme weather-related events often associated with climate change. Dr. Loss and the team are working on a number of smart structure technologies that are aimed at addressing multiple challenges the commercial and residential construction sectors are experiencing all over the globe.  

“The team works on everything from testing new active devices that can be built into structures to help reduce the impacts of catastrophic events such as earthquakes to robotic technology that can assist with skilled labour shortages and more streamlined building techniques,” explains Loss. 

Among the many construction challenges this inter-disciplinary research team prioritizes is implementing more sustainable construction practices that incorporate more environmentally friendly building materials. 

“My primary role in all of this work is to ensure we are developing smarter engineered wood-based structures, whether they are low-rise, mid-rise or high-rise, with wood,” says Loss. “When you consider all of wood’s environmental and design characteristics, it is the logical building material choice.” 

Co-investigated by Dr. Loss, the research team includes Dr. Yang who is a co-lead and Dr. Zhengbo Zou who are both with UBC’s Department of Civil Engineering, as well as Dr. Dorian Tung  who is with the timber building systems group at FPInnovations.  

Before coming to UBC in 2019, Dr. Loss was based in Italy where he received an M.Sc. in Structural Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering of Civil and Mechanical Structural Systems. His primary research focus is on high-performance carbon-neutral hybrid structural systems and performance-based optimum design procedures for cost-effective building solutions. Dr. Loss also serves as the Chair of the UBC Wood Building Design and Construction cluster.


Loss and his fellow researchers received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance Missions Grant which is awarded to projects aimed at strengthening Canada’s economy through finding solutions for critical scientific and technological challenges.

Tectonus Technology Earthquake Protection
Called Tectonus technology, the device pictured here is considered next-generation earthquake protection and was installed in one of the new mass timber buildings in Vancouver. Photo credit: Dr. Ashkan Hashemi.  

Posted in: ,

Related Articles