The Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI) was formed in 2012 for promoting civil engineering research and practice in Ireland, and its communication to academics and practitioners. The principal activity is the sponsoring and overseeing of the organisation of a conference series dedicated to this goal. The Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) conference series has grown initially from Concrete Research Ireland (CRI) and Bridge Research Ireland (BRI) symposiums, which subsequently held joint symposiums that became Bridge and Concrete Research Ireland (BCRI). Over the years, the themes of the conference broadened significantly, attracting submissions from the titular areas, as well as from other areas in civil engineering. As the research needs broaden, and the range of submission widened correspondingly, the Organising Committee of BCRI 2012 recommended renaming the conference series to Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI). The first CERI conference was held in Queens University Belfast in 2014 with subsequent CERI conferences being held in NUI Galway in 2016 and University College Dublin in 2018.
It is my honour to Chair the CERI2020 conference at Cork Institute of Technology. 2020 has proven to be a very difficult year across the world. The arrival of the COVID-19 virus has turned our lives upside down and we have faced challenges unprecedented in our lifetime. Our friends and family members in the medical professions have worked tirelessly at enormous personal risk to limit the human cost of the virus. In the space of a short number of weeks in March we saw a mass move to remote working which was simply unimaginable before this time. This move to remote working was mirrored in our preparations for CERI2020. I am very grateful to the CERAI Board Members, CERI2020 Stream Leaders, Past-Conference Chairs and my colleagues in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at Cork Institute of Technology who have helped transform the conference to a Virtual Conference. I acknowledge the superb work down by our long-term conference service providers, Ex Ordo, to change tack at short notice and to build us a bespoke virtual conferencing platform. This has allowed us to deliver our conference in a similar format to past conferences albeit in the virtual world.