Advanced Institutes for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR)

“Why, when so much more is known about the science of natural events, including extremes, and when technological capacity is so much stronger [than in the past], are large-scale and even small- and medium-scale disasters apparently becoming more frequent and losses continuing to increase at a rapid rate?”
– IRDR, 2009; White, Kates & Burton, 2001

Often, growth in disaster related losses is attributed to increases in human population and material wealth and their expansion into more hazardous locations. In addition, scientific knowledge and modern technology are not uniformly distributed across the globe, and the considerable amount of information that is available is neither being adequately deployed nor effectively used and implemented. In many developing countries, there is lower capacity to utilize or introduce the science and technology that is available because of institutional and social capacity constraints, resource scarcity and/or cultural reasons. Though each of these factors is undeniably important, the fact that disasters continue to occur even in developed countries suggests that there must be more to the explanation. This points to a deficit and a deficiency in existing research on disasters, particularly with regards to how science is used to shape social and political decision-making in the context of hazards and disasters.

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) program is a decade-long program of international research and related activities that aims to bring together the natural, socio-economic, health and engineering sciences in coordinated efforts to address the challenges brought about by natural disasters, mitigate their impacts and improve related policy-making mechanisms. START is partnering with IRDR to foster research and related capacity building opportunities that improve scientific capabilities in developing countries to understand and manage environmental and natural hazards and disasters.

A first step effort being enabled by the START/IRDR partnership is a series of intensive training institutes that promote advancement of IRDR’s priority themes and projects. Each Advanced Institute for IRDR brings together 15-20 young to middle-career researchers and practitioners from a specific region, country or thematic expertise and provides them with the enhanced understanding, skills and resources to design, organize and carry out IRDR related studies in their own countries. The Advanced Institutes for IRDR will begin in 2012, and at least two Institutes are expected, per year, during the first 3-5 years of the partnership.

The first three years of IRDR Advanced Institutes are funded and co-organized by the IRDR International Centre of Excellence (ICoE) in Taipei. For more information about each of the Institutes, please click on the relevant links below.


2015 Advanced Institute on Disaster Risk Reduction and Loss Mitigation
20-25 April 2015, Taipei, Taiwan

In April 2015, 17 early to middle-career scientists from Southeast Asia were brought to Taipei for a 6-day intensive training that provided them with the enhanced understanding, skills and practical knowledge to reduce disaster risk and mitigate disaster losses in their own countries. During the advanced training, the scientists attended lectures by eminent scholars and practitioners and participated in interactive activities that helped them gain interdisciplinary perspectives on disaster risk reduction and loss mitigation. The scientists were also given the opportunity to develop their own project concepts, which they presented at the end of the AI.


2013 Seminar on Risk Interpretation and Action
7-14 December 2013, New Zealand

Early December 2013, 25 talented, early career scientists gathered in New Zealand to develop new, interdisciplinary perspectives on the ways in which people interpret risks and how they respond based on these interpretations. During a week-long seminar, the 25 early career scientists were joined by a number of senior scientists, including David Johnston (Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University, New Zealand) and Richard Eiser (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom), to explore if and how a recently published framework for response to natural hazards (Eiser et al 2012; http://bit.ly/116mM6k) can be integrated across scientific disciplines and cultural contexts.


2013 Young Scientists’ Conference on Integrated Research on Disaster Risk, Future Earth & Sustainability
22-24 October 2013, Taipei, Taiwan

The 2013 Young Scientists’ Conference on Integrated Research on Disaster Risk, Future Earth, and Sustainability offered a prestigious platform for 42 young scientists from Taiwan and Southeast Asia to present their research findings to one another and to leading scientists in the field. The event was intended to stimulate competition, encourage excellence, reward outstanding performance, and foster the development of personal and institutional networks.


2012 Advanced Institute on Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN)
12-19 March 2012, Taipei, Taiwan

One of the initial research components of the IRDR program is a set of internationally organized, in-depth case studies (the Forensic Investigation of Disasters (FORIN) project) that investigate how natural hazards do – or do not – become disasters. FORIN studies value success stories as well as failures in understanding the root causes of disasters and disaster risk. A total of 24 participants from research, education and practitioner communities in nine countries across South and Southeast Asia joined an international team of faculty and resource staff in Taipei for the March 2012 Advanced Institute on FORIN. START and the ICoE in Taipei organized the Institute, together with local and international partners.


2012 Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk
22-27 October 2012, Taipei, Taiwan

A total of 29 participants from research, education and practitioner communities in ten countries across Asia and Africa joined an international team of faculty and resource staff in Taipei for the October 2012 Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk. START and the ICoE in Taipei organized the Institute, together with local and international partners. The Advanced Institute addressed the need to advance methods for collecting, analyzing and evaluating data for coastal cities and to have improved management and accessibility of scientific information and its incorporation into systematic analyses of methods to reduce risk and improve adaptive capacity.



Last Updated on June 15th, 2015

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