UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


IRDR0015 - Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction

Risk, Hazard, Vulnerability, Disaster, Natural disaster, Risk modelling, Catastrophe model, Insurance, Mitigation, Risk reduction.

Module Tutor: Dr Joanna Faure Walker

Module code: IRDR0015, 15 credits

Department: IRDR

This module is intended to meet the growing and recognised need that scientific and other technical knowledge must become more integrated in a systematic way into disaster risk reduction strategies; it also recognises that this knowledge must respect and integrate with local and indigenous knowledge. The aims of the module therefore are: (i) to make students aware of the role science has to play in informing and improving disaster risk reduction strategies, and (ii) to equip students with the skills and knowledge enabling them to solve complex problems in disaster risk reduction through engagement with scientific knowledge, methods, data and expertise.

The module will consider the following topics:

  • Overview of approaches to disaster risk reduction.
  • Behavioural Biases
  • Quantitative risk assessment
  • Dealing with uncertainty, including acceptable levels of risk and uncertainty
  • Catastrophe modelling
  • The roles of scientific evidence, scenario development and horizon scanning in responsible decision-making.
  • The role of the insurance industry in risk and disaster reduction
  • Science and accountability.
  • Science and Policy
  • The nature and distribution of risk and disasters, including the temporal and spatial scales and the acute and chronic dimensions.
  • Mitigation methods and early warning systems.
  • How disaster risk may evolve in the future and how science and technology may be able to improve preparedness.
  • The pressures in different sectors that limit the application of science in disaster risk reduction.
  • Communication of complex issues to wide and varied audiences that will have different objectives with regard to issues and solutions