Attend: Design, Disasters and Development, 25 January 2018, with Jo da Silva

The Royal Irish Academy and Arup are delighted to invite you to attend a lecture introduced by Mary Robinson (President of the Mary Robinson Foundation and President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997) and delivered by Jo da Silva. Jo is an Arup Fellow and Director of Arup’s International Development Group.

The lecture, ‘Design, Disasters and Development’, is Jo’s Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) Gold Medal address. She will deliver it at Trinity College Dublin on Thursday, 25 January 2018.

Jo was awarded the IStructE Gold Medal in October 2017. This is the institution’s highest and most prestigious award. The medal has been awarded to recognise the outstanding leadership she has provided as both a structural and humanitarian engineer, and for her distinguished and cross-sectoral work on urban resilience.

In her lecture, Jo will provide an overview of the projects she has worked on throughout her career and how these have shaped her thoughts around the future of structural engineering. Jo is passionate about the contribution engineers can make to create safe, sustainable, inclusive and resilient communities. She maintains that engineers need to consider the wider social issues that affect humanity and the influence structures designed by engineers can have.


“Looking back at my career, I have been lucky to work on some wonderful projects, but honestly my proudest achievements have always related to designs that help build better societies,” said Jo, as she reflected on her career journey to date.

Jo’s lecture will address some of the biggest challenges we face as a society, e.g. urbanisation, climate change and poverty. She encourages all engineers to embrace resilience and promotes the importance of not just considering technical excellence, but also social usefulness.

“Hearing about Jo’s work is inspiring and provokes us all to consider how we can reduce vulnerability and improve the quality of life for others in a sustainable way. Jo’s forward-thinking provides food for thought in relation to the contribution structural engineers will continue to make over the next few decades,” said Rory McGowan, Director, Arup.

Jo established the International Development Group in Arup as a not for profit business, allowing the firm to make a greater contribution to humanity and development work. Among her many achievements, Jo co-ordinated the efforts of over 100 humanitarian agencies to provide transitional shelter in Sri Lanka following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2005, constructing 60,000 shelters in six months. Recently, her work has focused on developing sustainability and resilience solutions in both community and urban contexts.

If you want to attend, please register here. Please use the following promo code to gain free access to the lecture: ARUP