United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the Munich Re Foundation invite qualified PhD students to apply for the 2012 Summer Academy “From Social Vulnerability to Resilience: Measuring Progress toward Disaster Risk Reduction”. Applicants should have an interdisciplinary focus and work on research or dissertations related to measuring social vulnerability and resilience in the context of disaster risk management.
The Summer Academy is designed to bring PhD students together with senior United Nations University and Munich Re Foundation scientists, international experts, and academic professors to facilitate the mutual exchange of research and scholarship on climate change and social vulnerability. The 2012 program will invite a group of outstanding students from graduate programs around the world to participate with experts in measuring progress towards disaster risk management.
From Social Vulnerability to Resilience: Measuring Progress toward Disaster Risk Reduction
This year’s Summer Academy will address some of the methodological challenges in measuring social vulnerability and resilience. Because hazards and disasters are place-specific, we will focus on the hazards of places and examine a number of empirically based approaches for measuring disaster risk (hazard exposure, losses, and social vulnerability). Many of these approaches use geographic information systems methodologies as the integrating tool, so the Academy will include tutorials on GIS and its use in hazard vulnerability assessments.
The goal of the Summer Academy is to demonstrate the importance of providing evidence-based support for managing disaster risk. To do this requires knowledge of fundamental information on disaster losses and their variability over time and across space—data that is not consistent between sectors or countries. It also requires baseline information on social vulnerability, and resilience. The development and adoption of common indicators can help communities benchmark their progress in reducing exposure, reducing social vulnerability and enhancing resilience. Communities may not be able to totally manage disaster risks in the future especially with increasing exposure, uncertainties in the frequency and severity of events under changing conditions, and with constrained financial resources, but they can be proactive in building capacity and enhancing their resilience to such events. Researchers and practitioners of the future need to understand the fundamentals of measuring these concepts to gauge progress. They also need to understand the limitations of indicators and benchmarks as tools for policy instruments and frameworks for disaster risk management.
- To introduce students to the differing methodological and empirically-based approaches to hazard vulnerability assessment currently in use.
- To have students interact with some of the primary developers of vulnerability assessment metrics to better understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- To become conversant in the use of GIS and its application to social vulnerability assessment and resilience.
- To develop a prototype hazard vulnerability assessment for their home region/country.
Please submit your application via firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 31 January 2012.
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