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Email: irdr-enquiries@ucl.ac.uk

Phone: 02031081101

Ext: 51101

Office location: Rm 38, 2nd floor, South Wing, UCL Main Quadrangle

IRDR Newsletter: June 2010

19 July 2010

From the Director

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. Reducing the threat of global disasters represents a colossal challenge that requires coordinated and collaborative action. Responding to this challenge, on the 26th May the Provost launched the UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction. Our new Institute aims to lead research, knowledge transfer and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction across UCL.

We have launched our first report on “Volcanic Hazard from Iceland” which examines the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, its impact on aviation and implications for the future. By bringing together expertise from across UCL, the IRDR provides an integrated assessment covering volcanology, geophysics, rock and ice physics, meteorology, statistics, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, transport engineering, hazard and risk communication, law and ethics. This report has received worldwide media coverage and plaudits from scientists internationally for its excellent analysis. Our primary task in the current period is to build the research base of the Institute. We have now launched our programme for research fellowships and studentships – details can be found on our website www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr - which are central to this strategy. We look forward to you joining with us to tackle the great issues of today.

Peter Sammonds
Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Peter Peter Sammonds Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

About the Institute

UCL Grand Challenges

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 propose 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.

News and Events

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1. Volcanic Hazard from Iceland: Analysis and Implications of the Eyjafjallajökull The explosive eruption on the 14th April 2010 of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, caused an unprecedented closure of UK, European and North Atlantic air space, which must be understood if similar situations are to be better managed in the future. This report examines the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, its impact on aviation and implications for the future, in the expectation of further activity in Iceland. By bringing together expertise from across the University, the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction provides an integrated analysis covering volcanology, geophysics, rock and ice physics, meteorology, statistics, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, transport engineering, hazard and risk communication, law and ethics.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr/publications/iceland


2. Launch of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction The Institute launch event was well attended, and bought together a wide range of internal and external people with an active interest in the field of risk and disaster reduction. The panel session raised a number of points for further discussion and development, and saw the announcement of funding opportunities, partnerships, and the report on the recent volcanic activity in Iceland.

If you were unable to attend the event, a recording of the event can be found on the Institute website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr/

Details of further events and partnerships will be launched in the coming months, so check for more information soon!


3. Expertise in Ethics and Risk Regulation The UCL Centre for Ethics & Law are hosting a seminar on Expertise in Ethics & Risk Regulation as part of their seminar series, which will take place on 15 June 2010, with coffee from 4.30pm seminar from 5.00-6.30pm followed by a reception.

Speaker: Prof Maria Lee (UCL Faculty of Laws)
Discussant: Prof John Adams (Emeritus Professor of Geography at UCL)
Chair: Dr Sylvie Delacroix (Director, UCL Centre for Ethics & Law)

Following many years of argument, it is now generally accepted by decision makers that the ethical aspects of a new technology may be a legitimate element of risk regulation. However, it has proven difficult to integrate ethical concerns into regulatory decision making. Providing decision makers with access to ethical expertise, alongside expertise in other disciplines such as economics, risk assessment or law, is one response to this dilemma.But expertise in ethics has a controversial place in the regulatory process. The EU regulation of nanotechnology provides a case study through which to explore the role of ethical debate in risk regulation.

Venue: Roberts Building, Rm 308, University College London, London WC1E 7JE.

Please register for this event at http://ethics-of-risk.eventbrite.com


4. The science behind hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural perils To mark Aon Benfield Research’s new academic and industry research collaboration, they are hosting an inaugural event to delve into the science behind natural hazards and the resulting financial implications for re/insurers.

Venue: Merchant Taylors’ Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8JB.
Date: Tuesday, 15 June 2010

10.00 Client registration
10.15
Event commences

  • Introduction: John Moore, head of International Analytics at Aon Benfield
  • Earthquakes and volcanoes: Professor Bill McGuire from the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre unveils where the next mega earthquake could occur and provides the latest insights on volcanic eruptions
  • Hurricanes: Professor Mark Saunders from Tropical Storm Risk forecasts the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season and reveals new technology to help re/insurers manage storm-related risks
  • European storms: Nick Wood from Eurotempest looks at lessons learnt from recent European storms and combines science and technology to help re/insurers prepare for future events
  • Close: Paul Miller, head of International Catastrophe Management at Aon Benfield, concludes on how the industry can benefit from natural hazards research

12.00 Lunch is served in cloisters and courtyard
To register, click here

To learn more about Aon Benfield Research, click here

Funding opportunities

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1. IRDR research fellowships and studentships On 26 May 2010 the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) launched its research fellowship and studentship programme. This programme is designed to pump prime research in the Institute and to foster new and innovative collaborations within UCL and between UCL and external partners. This will be a rolling programme as funds become available to the IRDR. We anticipate supporting 2 UCL PhD students in 2010 and a further 4 in 2011, and 4 UCL research fellows starting in 2010-11 for up to 3 years. We seek proposals from members of UCL academic staff for research fellowships and studentships. Proposals must demonstrate the relevance of the proposed research to IRDR research themes and to national and international developments in the field of risk and disaster reduction. For more information and to download the forms, visit the funding section, where details of all funding opportunities will be made available: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr/funding.

Join the Institute

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1. Become a member of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction 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.

To become a member of the Institute complete the form at the following link http://www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr/join/

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