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Monday 11 Sep 2017Inspiring Science Lectures Series: From risk management to quantitative disaster resilience - a paradigm shift

Professor S. P. Simonovic - University of Western Ontario

Harrison Building 004 15:00-17:00

As part of the Inspiring Science Lecture Series from the College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Professor S. P. Simonovic, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of Engineering Works, Institute For Catastrophic Loss Reduction, The University of Western Ontario, will join us for a guest lecture.


Please indicate your interest in attending via the registration online form.


There are practical links between disaster management, climate change adaptation and sustainable development leading to improvement in disaster management and re-enforcing resilience as a new development paradigm. There has been a noticeable change in disaster management approaches, moving from focus on vulnerability to resilience; the latter viewed as a more proactive and positive expression of community engagement with disaster management. As disaster problems are increasing, at the same time they erode resilience.

Over the last ten years substantial progress has been made in establishing the role of resilience in sustainable development. Multiple case studies around the world reveal links between attributes of resilience and the capacity of complex systems to absorb disturbance while still being able to maintain a certain level of functioning. Building on other experience, there is a need to focus more on action-based resilience planning. Disasters do not impact everyone in the same way. It is clear that the problems associated with sustainable human wellbeing call for a paradigm shift. Use of resilience as an appropriate metric for investigation arises from the integral consideration of overlap between: (a) physical environment (built and natural); (b) social dynamics; (c) metabolic flows; and (d) governance networks.

This presentation provides an original systems framework for quantification of disaster resilience to global change. The framework is based on the definition of resilience as the ability of physical and social components of systems to absorb impacts of global change (system disturbance) while still being able to continue functioning. The disturbance depends on spatial and temporal perspectives and direct interaction between impacts of disturbance (physical, social, health, economic, and other) and adaptive capacity of the system to absorb disturbance.


Slobodan P. Simonovic is globally recognized for his unique interdisciplinary research in Systems Analysis and the development of deterministic and stochastic simulation, optimization, multi criteria analysis, and other decision-making methodologies for addressing challenging system of systems problems lying at the confluence of society, technology and the environment, with applications in water resources management, hydrology, energy, climate change and public infrastructure, from a sustainable development perspective. His main contributions include modelling risk and resilience of complex systems. Professor Simonovic has influenced academia, industry and government via university teaching, publication of leading-edge research, mentoring of young people, delivering stimulating research seminars at institutions around the world, carrying out joint research projects, and consulting work. He has received awards for excellence in teaching, research and outreach. Dr. Simonovic has published over 500 professional publications (216 in peer reviewed Journals) and three major textbooks. He has been inducted to the Canadian Academy of Engineering in June of 2013.


Refreshments will be served in Harrison 101 before the lecture (15.00 - 15.30). The lecture will start at 15.30 in Harrison 004 and finish at 16.45.

Inspiring Science Lecture Series

Inspiring Science is an open lecture series in which high-profile speakers from inside and outside of the University speak about their research and careers in their respective scientific fields. The series includes the Inaugural Lectures and Athena SWAN lectures, and is open for all to attend.

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