Inspiring Science

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.

Upcoming lecture

Harrison 004, Monday 11 September 2017, 15.30 (refreshments available from 15.00)

From risk management to quantitative disaster resilience - a paradigm shift

Professor S. P. Simonovic, The University of Western Ontario

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.

For full details and registration information please see the event webpage.

Refreshments will be served before the presentation.

Professor Simonovic's Homepage

Past lectures

See details of and view previous Inspiring Science lectures.