An interdisciplinary  team of scientific experts under the leadership of Dr. Guðrún Pétursdóttir, Director of the Institute for Sustainability Studies and Dr. Guðrún Gísladóttir, Professor of Geography at the University of Iceland, has received a grant for Ikr. 420 million (EUR 2.7 million) from NordForsk to establish a Nordic Centre of Excellence. The centre will focus on how to increase societal security in the face of natural hazards.

The Nordic Centre of Excellence on Resilience and Societal Security (NORDRESS), is both extensive and interdisciplinary. Numerous scientists and institutions in the Nordic countries will participate in the project over the next five years. Emphasis is placed on natural hazard and societal resilience; the preservation and restoration of communities and societies. NORDRESS will explore different dimensions of resilience, including  individuals, communities, infrastructure, and institutions. The team will focus on a range of natural hazards, from local incidences, like mudslides and avalanches, to more extensive events like extreme weather and floods, and finally including volcanic eruptions that may pose vast trans boundary threats.

NORDRESS aims to increase individual resilience through improved understanding of individual preparedness and how natural hazards may affect mental and physical health of children and adults. Community resilience will be explored through studies on hazard monitoring and early warnings, including  people’s perceptions of warnings and the possibility of involving the general public in monitoring hazards through the use of mobile phones and cameras. Communication and interaction will be studied as well as means to minimize disruption of natural hazards on infrastructure like transport and energy. Studies on institutional resilience will include analyses of laws and regulations regarding insurance and land use planning as well as studies on how the Nordic welfare and civil protection systems can support increased resilience before, during and after crises caused by extreme natural events.

Furthermore, NORDRESS will strengthen training, education and mobility through the Nordic Social Security Academy on a broad level; offering courses for e.g. rescue teams, members of the media, medical professions and doctoral students from various fields of study.

The grant is allocated by the Nordic Societal Security Programme established by NordForsk, a multidisciplinary research programme, aimed at the many aspects of societal security affecting the Nordic countries. Societal Security entails the ability of a society to sustain vital societal functions and secure populations' life, health, needs and basic values under extraordinary stresses. This programme addresses questions of vulnerabilities, resilience and capabilities for crisis management related to prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Further information on NORDRESS

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