Copy

INSTITUTE FOR RISK AND DISASTER REDUCTION
Newsletter - May 2015
View this email in your browser
FROM THE DIRECTOR

As we reflect on the disaster caused by the Nepal earthquake, seismically triggered landslides and avalanches, and extend our sympathy and offer assistance to the people affected, we must recognise that the inevitability of such an event was well understood by scientists (see the research of Roger Bilham for instance), even if they didn’t know the timing. Following the UNISDR World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai in March, science, technology and health research will have far greater prominence, globally, in preparing for disasters. But we must be wary of science scare stories such as “climate-change earthquake triggers” (yes, half the UK’s small earthquakes do result from rebound of the Earth’s crust following the ice age). They detract from the analysis of the tectonic drivers of major earthquakes that has transformed earthquake science in the last decade. While the well-known statement that “earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do” is true, it is also not the full truth. We can see in Nepal the destruction caused by landslides, the blocking of communication lines, the potential for outburst floods and the damage to water supplies and sanitation, with their attendant health issues. It is now recognised that there is a need for natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, communities at risk and policy-makers to come together to address disaster risk reduction and disaster response and reconstruction. The UK has long-standing engagement with research in Nepal through the NERC-ESRC Earthquakes without Frontiers natural/social science consortium, in earthquake engineering and with the UCL Institute for Global Health which works on mother-child health. At UCL, just before the Nepal earthquake and with the Ebola crisis still fresh in our minds, it had already been agreed that there should be a discussion, within the remit of the UCL Grand Challenges, on how we should respond across the whole institution. To this end the IRDR will be convening a forum over the summer. So if you wish to be involved, please get in touch.


The 2015 UCL IRDR Fifth Annual Conference, on Thursday 25th June, will have a strong science theme, with a keynote address by the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir Mark Walport, FRS on Communicating Risk and Hazard to Policy Makers. The Annual Conference again promises to be a lively mix of discussions around contentious issues and new developments, including an “in conversation” interview on the Ebola crisis. For the poster session, we welcome contributions on the theme of calculating, portraying, understanding and reducing risk. The Annual Conference is a public forum, open to the UCL community, our collaborators and associates, and researchers and practioners from industry, NGOs, and government and the general public.

The UCL IRDR Third Academic Summit will be held on Wednesday 24th June on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience: Strengthening the Links between Academics and Practitioners. The summit, which is co-sponsored by the Institute for Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM), is an opportunity for academics and practitioners to get together and share information, knowledge and expertise. Its main purpose is to debate the most important issues that academics face as they collaborate in order to make disaster risk reduction and resilience a thriving discipline that serves the needs of users and society. Students will play a key role as they inaugurate a pan-European student network.


Both events will be held at UCL and are free and open to all, but registration is required (see event listings column to the right)

New appointments:
We are delighted to announce that Stephen Kirby, eminent emeritus scientist at the US Geological Survey, including as a member of their Strategic Planning Team for Natural Hazards, has been appointed as UCL Honorary professor. Steve will engage both with experimental research in the IRDR and the Department of Earth Sciences, and more broadly in disaster risk reduction strategy. Omar Velazquez and Linghui (Ivy) Zhou (both jointly with Civil Engineering) and Justine Uyimleshi have recently started PhDs in the IRDR.

Peter Sammonds
Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE
Natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, floods and storms destroy lives and damage economies across the globe; pandemics have the potential to bring death and suffering on an unprecedented scale; while climate change may increase the severity of both natural and health disasters.

How society sees risk, how to link understanding of the causative mechanics to statistical approaches, and how to increase resilience and reduce the risk of disasters are common themes cutting across research in natural, environmental, health and technological hazards.

Reducing global risks and disasters presents a colossal challenge that requires coordinated and collaborative action.
UCL is uniquely well-placed to lead research and teaching in risk and disaster reduction, with at least 70 academics across 12 departments and seven faculties involved in world-class research and practice in the field.

To maximise the impact and value of our activities in risk and disaster reduction, and to increase and enhance interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation, we aim to bring together individual areas of expertise, under the umbrella of a UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, built around established centres across UCL.
We also seek to contribute to the UCL Grand Challenges of Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.
JOIN THE INSTITUTE
Reducing global risks and disasters presents a colossal challenge that requires coordinated and collaborative action. UCL is uniquely well placed to lead research in risk and disaster reduction, with at least 70 academics across 12 departments and 7 faculties involved in world-class research, teaching and practice in the field. The Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, responding to the UCL Grand Challenges, brings together this wealth of knowledge and expertise, and through research, teaching and knowledge exchange aims to overcome the barriers to understanding risk and reducing the impact of disasters.

To find out more about risk and disaster reduction research at UCL - or to register your own activity - please visit Our Page. Here you have the option to stay involved through different mailing lists, and to become a member of the Institute.
Share
Tweet
EVENTS
UCL IRDR Fifth Annual Conference
Thursday 25th June 2015 from 9am to 8pm in the UCL South Cloisters and Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre.
This is a one-day event of thought-provoking lectures and discussions on the latest issues and research in risk and disaster reduction. Topics will include Current Views of Future Arctic Risks, Visualisation of Hazards and Risks, and the Ebola Crisis. In addition, there will be a keynote address on, “Communicating Risk and Hazard to Policy Makers” given by Sir Mark Walport, the Chief Government Scientific Advisor. We also invite poster contributions on the topic of, “Calculating, Portraying, Understanding and Reducing Risk”. This event is free, but you need to register. Full Programme, Registraion and poster submission details here.
UCL IRDR Third Academic Summit
Wednesday 24th June 2015 from 9:30am to 5.30pm in Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre.
The theme of this year's symposium will be "Disaster risk reduction and resilience: strengthening the links between academics and practitioners". At this event, the academic network discussed in previous summits will be inaugurated and illustrated in a short demonstration. The summit, which is co-sponsored by the Institute for Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM), is an opportunity for academics and practitioners to get together and share information, knowledge and expertise. Its main purpose is to debate the most important issues that academics face as they collaborate in order to make disaster risk reduction and resilience a thriving discipline that serves the needs of users and society. Discussion topics will include, Making academic research more useful to practitioners, Improving communication between academics and practitioners, Training, teaching and exercising challenges, and Bridging the gaps with integrated research. This event is free to attend, but you need to register. More information including registration link and programme here
Symposium on Space Weather
Wednesday  27th May 2015 at the Royal Society
This symposium will be held by UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the IRDR.  This is an invitation only event. For further information please contact Lucie Green lucie.green@ucl.ac.uk.
NEWS
UCL IRDR Second Spring Academy
The Second IRDR Spring Academy, on 27-28 April, was a great success. More than 30 IRDR staff and research students attended this 2-day academy of discussion workshops, presentations, group activities, and brainstorming sessions. Many thanks to Ilan Kelman for organising.
UCL IRDR in Sendai for UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)

Rosanna Smith - UCL IRDR Deputy Director, Joanna Faure Walker - UCL IRDR Lecturer, Zehra Zaidi – UCL IRDR Research Associate, and Cassidy Johnson – UCL IRDR Executive Board Member, all participated in the UN WCDRR in Sendai, Japan, on 14-18 March 2015. They organized and ran a public forum event on human rights and natural disasters and spoke in other public forum events. Virginia Murray – UCL IRDR Honorary Professor and Robert Muir Wood – UCL IRDR Visiting Professor also participated and spoke in working sessions at the UN WCDRR. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which is the UN framework in this area for the next fifteen years, was adopted at this conference.
CERRA Students Recognistion Award

Stelios Minas, EngD student in CEGE and IRDR, has obtained the very prestigious CERRA Students Recognition Award by the International Civil Engineering Risk And Reliability Association (CERRA). Stelios will be awarded a diploma and $1,000 at the 12th International Conference on Applications of Statistics and Probability in Civil Engineering, ICASP1, in Vancouver, Canada, in July 2015. The ICASP conferences are the main scientific events for people working in the field of reliability and risk in civil engineering. At ICASP 12, Stelios will be presenting a paper on ' Spectral Shape Proxies and Simplified Fragility Analysis of Mid-Rise Reinforced Concrete Buildings' authored by Stelios, Carmine Galasso and Tiziana Rossetto.
Recent media appearances

Peter Sammonds was interviewed about the Nepal earthquake for the Amanpour Interview, on CNN and for Sky News on the 26th April 2015. Ilan Kelman, UCL IRDR and IGH, contributed commentary on the Nepal earthquake in the Guardian on 25th April 2015. Further details on UCL IRDR media appearances here
Copyright © 2015 UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
South Wing Room 38
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

update subscription preferences Unsubscribe from this list
Facebook
Twitter
Website
Email
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp