Secure and Resilient Societies

Our transdisciplinary research helps create and maintain the integrated social, technical, economic, and political systems that enable societies to be secure and resilient. Our expertise combines technical disciplines across the engineering, physical and natural sciences with the breadth of specialisms within social sciences and resource management. Working with stakeholders ranging from community groups to NGOs, and government departments to NATO, our research drives solutions and informs policies to deliver far-reaching impact.

Disaster risk management

The unprecedented urban growth - and inequalities that urbanisation exposes - places cities at the frontline of global disaster risk.

Our interdisciplinary research contributes to the development and operation of cities in a more resilient and sustainable way, through enhancing the understanding of hazards and threats and working together with communities and decision makers who manage, work and live in cities.

Taking a holistic, multi-hazard and multi-stakeholder approach to disasters, we focus on resilience to shocks as well as slow-onset disasters. Our research activities also relate to changing environments and infrastructure.

Shopping centre sign showing 2 metres social distancing

Local-level responses to Covid-19

We have been awarded UKRI funding to study and enhance emergency collaboration as it unfolds during the pandemic. We are looking at how key responders within Local Resilience Forums (LRF) collaborate during emergencies through ResilienceDirect – the online private network overseen by the Cabinet Office. Focusing on five LRFs, we are identifying best practice that can rapidly be shared for widespread benefit, for all manner of emergencies.

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Defence and security

Research includes science and engineering technological contributions to capabilities, human and sociological aspects of defence capability, and systems integration expertise to support the multi-faceted needs of the defence and security sector.

This is increasingly important as societal security relies on protection provided by civil authorities and other agencies, and the boundaries between military and civilian protection are progressively more blurred.

TOXI-Triage training exercise in Finland

Gold standard for CBRN resilience

We led a pan-European, interdisciplinary project, exploring ways to improve civil preparedness in case of a catastrophic chemical, biological, radioactive, or nuclear (CBRN) incident. Funded through with the Horizon2020 programme, the multi-million-pound TOXI-Triage project created new tools for detection, traceability, triage and individual monitoring of victims, amidst the immediate chaos, with the goal of transforming the way emergency services across the world tackle a CBRN incident.

TOXI-Triage website

Population resilience

Across the globe, societies, economies, and both built and physical environments are constantly being changed in profound ways, with populations under threat from new and adverse challenges.

Our cutting-edge research advances understandings of how and why certain populations are more resilient to change, and in some cases can respond to the opportunities that change may bring.

Young boy in counselling session

Child First Justice

We have led the research evidence-base for the ‘Child First’ principle – the foundation of a progressive approach to how children should be understood, treated, and supported when they come to the attention of the Youth Justice System. Prioritising their best interests rather than treating them as offenders, enhances their social inclusion. In turn, those children, are empowered to make positive contributions to society, to desist from offending, leading to safer communities and fewer victims.

Child First Justice

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