City university launches disasters center

Yang Meiping
First center of its kind on the Chinese mainland to focus on interdisciplinary research in areas including climate change, environmental disasters and public health.
Yang Meiping

An Integrated Research on Disaster Risk International Center for Excellence (IRDR ICoE) was launched at Fudan University on Tuesday to research risk interconnectivity and governance of weather or climate extremes and public health.

The center is the first of its kind set up by the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk on the Chinese mainland and the only one focusing on interdisciplinary research in areas including climate change response, atmospheric environmental disaster risk response and public health.

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk is a decade-long global, transdisciplinary research program created by the International Science Council and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to deal with the challenges brought by natural disasters, mitigating their impact and improving policymaking mechanisms.

Zhang Renhe, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and vice president of Fudan, is director of the new center while Tang Xu, former director of World Meteorological Organization’s Department of Weather and Disaster Risk Reduction Services, is its executive director.

“The risks faced by international megacities are usually not single ones, but superimposed risks including climate, public health and urban management emergencies,” said Tang. “Such superimposed risks often cause irreversible affects and bring great dangers to urban management.”

He said megacities needed to increase their resilience to operate well even in extreme conditions.

He said the IRDR ICoE at Fudan University will study the risk and impact of weather or climate extremes on society and public health with technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data.

The university’s Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Public Health, Department of Environment Science and Engineering, School of Data Science and Fudan Development Institute will work together to make the new center an international innovation cooperation platform.

It will integrate the university’s resources to strengthen connections between natural and social sciences. It will set up transdisciplinary innovation platforms based on its strength in atmospheric sciences, climate change, atmospheric and marine environment, public health, big data and global governance research. It will focus on issues including climate change, weather or climate extremes, atmospheric environment pollution risks, public health governance, multi-disaster connection and integrated health of the world, including humans and the ecological environment.

It will enhance and deepen cooperation with domestic and international research institutes, organizations and research programs to improve its capability in research, provide professional support and consulting services to decision makers, study best practices and organize related training.

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