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Disaster Management conference with international appeal

How can IT be used to reduce the risks related to a disaster? This is the overall topic of an international research conference taking place on UiA 12 -14 October 2022.

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The impact of a disaster is unpredictable and can often turn out more serious than what people can imagine. Information Technology plays an important role in achieving a common understanding of the disaster and reducing the risks related to it.

In the upcoming conference “Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction" (ITDRR), experts and practitioners from different parts of the world and various sectors come together to share their experiences and findings. This conference is affiliated with The International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), an umbrella organization representing IT Societies from 40 countries that links more than 3500 scientists from Academia and Industry.

Broad international participation

Within the Emergency Management field, the ITDRR conference is smaller than the more known conferences such as ISCRAM, but the hosts at CIEM – Centre for Integrated Emergency Management at UiA have managed to mobilize broad participation for this year's event.

– In this conference, we have managed to include participants who haven't been so active in other venues before. We've got submissions from 17 countries, and from researchers that rarely have attended previous conferences, such as Columbia, India, Indonesia, Estonia, Brazil, Japan and some from Nordic and European countries. The representation of new communities is of great importance, especially from the Global South. It means new insights and the inclusion of more participants in our research network, says professor Jaziar Radianti at The Department of Information Systems.

She is the general chair of the ITDRR conference and has been coordinating the conference program together with Associate Professor Terje Gjøsæter (UiA/CIEM) og Professor Emeritus Yuko Murayama (IFIP WG 5.15 Chair, Tsuda University, Japan).

CIEM became a priority research centre at the University of Agder in 2021, and the ITDRR conference is one of their promised 2022 activities.

Research collaboration across disciplines

Disaster effects are most often global and require collaboration and information sharing across borders. CIEM focuses on how to collect and integrate information to support decision-making through an emergency. Creating arenas for sharing experiences and discussing challenges is an important part of their research activities.

– This is a conference where people from multidisciplinary backgrounds get together, as disaster risk reduction requires efforts from various sectors and parts of society. The use of IT in disaster risk management can be analyzed and understood from multiple disciplines, ranging from social science, computer science, information systems - as well as from a health and e-health perspective, says Radianti. 

Regional examples

Elisabeth Aarsæther, Director of the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, will be opening the conference, together with Professor Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Director of the Centre for Integrated Emergency Management (UiA). The Municipality of Kristiansand is also represented in the program and will share experiences and findings from their work during the pandemic.

In the program, the researchers address several thematic areas such as the use of machine learning or artificial intelligence technique for analyzing data from UAV or social media, food supply chain during a crisis, gamification of shelter simulator, situational awareness in disasters, earthquake forecasting and climate modelling. 

Keynote speakers include:

  • Prof. Emeritus Colin Eden, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, who will address the systemic risk and disaster risk reduction and introduce the hierarchical risks systems method.
  • Dr Eirik Abildsnes, Municipality of Kristiansand/ Associate Professor at Dept. of Psychosocial Health, UiA, together with Sigurd Paulsen, a crisis manager and security leader of Municipality of Kristiansand, will share their experiences.
  • Prof. Stefan Stieglitz, Research Group Digital Communication and Transformation, Univ. of Duisburg Essen, Germany will share his research experience working with new digital technologies such as social media, chatbots and VR for crisis management.

The conference is taking place at UiA, in the auditory B1 001 October 12 – 14, more information is to be found on the conference webpage.