Recovery from Disaster: Book launch, discussions and future plans
Newsletter - October 2015
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The UCL IRDR academic year launched with a public debate on Recovery from Disaster, linked to a book just published, by Ian Davis and our own David Alexander. The symposium (and the book) was peppered with anecdotes and personal reminiscences. Disaster response all to often focusses on the short term when international funds are forthcoming and the world media is engaged. This skews resource allocation and spending priorities to the short-term, with probably not the wisest decisions being taken for long-term recovery. There are also roughly 2 disasters per day around the world which receive little outside attention.  And of course small communities can end up isolated and in decline unless effective action is taken. However all this is known and has been known for a generation. But the same mistakes are repeated time and again, with decision makers in both donor organisations and responders often poorly equipped to make these calls. But Ian was not despondent about the situation. In fact the interest in disaster risk reduction and response has never been stronger and a new generation is being educated on a firm foundation of lessons learned during past disasters, in programmes all over the world. At the IRDR we welcome a new cohort of 24 students to our masters programmes. Our doctoral research centre continues to grow strongly with some 24 PhD students, funded from a diversity of sources worldwide. Four new PhD students have recently joined us since our last newsletter, Rebekah Yore, Emmanuel Agbo, Tasnuva Tabassum and Janto Hess.

Continuing on the theme of recovery from disasters, the second IRDR Alumni and Members’ Dinner will take place on Tuesday 24th November in the evening with a round-table discussion on Recovery from Disaster, led by the director of the NGO Thinking Development and IRDR Executive Board member, Linda O’Halloran. Linda set up an international NGO while a student at UCL in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquakes. She has spent years working to build a disaster-resilient school for Haiti's girls. It is an extraordinary story, full of endurance, learning lessons the hard way and engaging with remarkable people. We hope you can join us.

After a lot of hard work before the summer, Farnaz Arefian has been successful with a £15,000 investment from the UCL Lifelong Learning team to develop two short courses aimed at professionals on Risk and Business Resilience and Reducing Disaster Risk during Reconstruction and Recovery.

There is clearly much work still to be done. Reducing the impact of disasters and improving the response to and recovery from disasters are complex challenges that require cross-disciplinary responses. You are most welcome to join us.

Peter Sammonds
Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
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.
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.
Launch of new UCL IRDR MSc in Risk and Disaster Science for 2016 entry
Following the success of our MRes in Risk and Disaster Reduction (launched 2012) and MSc in Risk Disaster and Resilience (launched 2013), we will launch a new MSc programme in Risk and Disaster Science in Sept 2016. This course will have a stronger physical science emphasis than our existing courses and will, like our existing programmes, take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding disasters. Applications to our new and existing programmes for 2016 entry are open now. Find out more...
New UCL IRDR research provides new insight into the mechanisms that govern fault growth in the Corinth Rift, Greece
Georgios Michas (UCL IRDR), Filippos Vallianatos (TEI Crete, UCL IRDR) and Peter Sammonds (UCL IRDR), have published a new research article in Earth and Planetary Science Letters that demonstrates that the organization patterns of the fault network in one of the most geodynamically active areas in Europe, the Corinth Rift, are associated with increasing brittle strain in the Earth’s crust. This research provides new quantitative evidence for such crustal processes in a single tectonic setting and augments our understanding of fault growth and fault network evolution. Full article
Report from Third UCL IRDR Academic Summit
The Third Academic Summit was held in June 2015 at UCL and co-sponsored by IRDR, ICPEM and Rescue Global. This year's theme was "strengthening the links between academics and practitioners." A report on the proceedings, with many valuable observations about the uses of academic work by practitioners, has been published in the Autumn 2015 issue of the ICPEM journal "Alert" (pages 24-33), accompanied by a position paper on the same topic written by Professor David Alexander.
AXA Postdoctoral Research Fellowships Scheme 2015/16
Axa Research Fund Fellowships on Risk themes
The 2015 AXA Research Fund (ARF) post-doctoral scheme will open soon. This year UCL will be able to put forward up to 4 candidates to apply for this scheme. UCL IRDR are managing UCL shortlisting for this scheme and are seeking applications from excellent young researchers (within 5 years of submitting their PhD) in specific areas of environmental, life, and socioeconomic risk. More details on the UCL IRDR shortlisting process and deadlines can be found on the UCL IRDR AXA Fellowship page
Recent funding awards 
Farnaz Arefian, UCL IRDR enterprise officer, has been awarded a £15,000 investment from the UCL Lifelong Learning team to develop two short courses on Risk and Business Resilience and Reducing Disaster Risk during Reconstruction and Recovery.
Zoe Mildon, UCL IRDR PhD student, has been awarded a JSPS London Short Term award, which will fund a 4-month research visit to IRIDeS Tohoku University, to collaborate with Prof Shinji Toda who is a world renowned earthquake scientist.
Arctic Resource Futures - An expert Panel discussion
21st October, 18:00 - 19:00, Global Governance Institute, University College London
Climate change is opening up the Arctic for exploitation by the world--or so we are told. But what do we really know about resource opportunities in the far north and the difficulties faced in Arctic conditions? What about the people who live in the region who have rights and interests? This panel explores opportunities and limitations regarding the so-called 'Arctic Gold Rush’.
Chaired by Dr Ilan Kelman, UCL IRDR and UCL IGH
More information and tickets here
UCL IRDR Alumni and Members Dinner
Tuesday 24th November, 19:00 - 22:00, Venue TBC
Formal dinner with round table discussion on recovery from disaster, led by the founder and director of NGO Thinking Development, Linda O’Halloran (also IRDR executive board member). Price tbc. Please contact to book your place.
UCL IRDR Monthly seminars
Always on a Tuesday, 17:00 - 18:00. Chaired by Dr Gordon Ross. Full programme for 2015-16 here.
UCL IRDR Careers and Opportunities Fair
Tuesday 1st March, 17:00 - 20:00. Venue TBC
Talks and exhibitor stalls on careers and opportunities in risk and disaster reduction. Please contact if you would like a recruitment stall to promote career, education, volunteering, employment, or other types of opportunities in risk and disaster reduction.
UCL IRDR Public Panel discussion on Disasters and Heritage
Thursday 3rd March, 17:00 - 20:00. Organiser: Professor Peter Sammonds, Director, UCL IRDR

UCL IRDR Academic Summit
Wednesday 15th June. More details soon. Organiser: Professor David Alexander.

UCL IRDR Annual Conference: on Recovery from Disasters
Thursday 16th June. Save the date!
More details soon. Organiser: Dr Rosanna Smith, Deputy Director, UCL IRDR
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