Earthquake Early Warning in Nepal: Technology, Behavioral Science and Policy (2020-2021)

Building off of an existing collaboration between students and faculty at Duke and Tribhuvan University of Kathmandu, this project team explored approaches to the development of earthquake early warning systems in the Kathmandu Valley. The team developed a framework for assessing how technological design goals can be informed by cultural settings, political commitment and public receptiveness and investigated how to integrate behavioral science research and policy questions into disaster response measures and methods.

Team members explored how the existence of an early warning system affects perceptions of self-efficacy, the utility of mitigation efforts and individuals’ perceived locus of control in the context of both a future earthquake event and in response to a specific warning. Working alongside staff at the Centre for Disaster Management Studies and the Department of Disaster Planning at Tribhuvan University, team members considered survey tools and evaluated ongoing surveys related to perceptions of self-efficacy for mitigation and the meaning of earthquake early warnings.

In collaboration with Tribhuvan University, the team also developed a seismic monitoring network that integrates probabilistic hazard analysis, geophysical modeling and smart sensing technology. Ultimately, this project co-developed expertise and capacity at Duke and Tribhuvan in the areas of seismic data analysis, microcontroller-based sensing and network communication, ground motion attenuation relationships, hazard analysis and hazard communication.

Team Outputs

High-fidelity smart sensing networks for early earthquake warning


Summer 2020 – Spring 2021

This Team in the News

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2022

Two Duke Seniors Among 41 Recipients of Prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Two Duke Seniors Join 2022 Marshall Scholars for Graduate Study in the United Kingdom

Creating an Earthquake Warning System in Nepal through International Partnerships

Together Around the World

See related team, Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (2022-2023), and Data+ summer project, Pilot Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu (2022).


Image: Student Research Symposium held at Innovation Hub of U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu on January 3, 2020, by U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Student presenting research.

Team Leaders

  • Henri Gavin, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Rachael Lau, Pratt–Civil and Environmental Engineering–Ph.D. Student

/undergraduate Team Members

  • James Marek, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Aston Yong, Computer Science (BS)
  • Daniel Winkelman, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Arthur Tsang, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Mishek Thapa, Statistical Science (BS)
  • Leah Schwartz, Computer Science (BS)
  • Rebecca Schmitt, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Dea Muca, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Jiayi Liang, Computer Science (BS)
  • Kathryn Jenkins, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Lindsay Hu, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Sydney Cikovic, Public Policy Studies (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Bharat Mandal, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Nanda Adhikari, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Santosh Gyawali, US-AID Nepal, US Embaassy Kathmandu
  • Josue Rivera-Olds, US Embassy Kathmandu
  • Ramesh Guragain, Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology
  • Suresh Dhungel, Nepal Academy of Science
  • Shana Scogin, University of Notre Dame
  • Surya Shrestha, Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology
  • Nagendra Sitoula, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering
  • Rabindra Dhakal, Nepal Academy of Science
  • Stephanie Wilcock, US-AID Nepal, US Embassy Kathmandu
  • Lok Adhikari, National Seismological Centre
  • Basanta Adhikari, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Engineering