University of Delaware

'Taking Stock, Taking Action'

Disaster Research Center marks 50 years with anniversary celebration, workshop


4:22 p.m., April 25, 2014--The University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center will mark its 50 years of operation with a workshop and celebration from Wednesday, April 30, through Saturday, May 3, bringing together researchers and practitioners and focusing on environmental concerns.

The event, “Taking Stock and Taking Action: Disaster Research and the Challenges Ahead,” will include participants from throughout the history of the center and from the broader field of disaster science, policy and management. Speakers and panelists at the workshop sessions, all held in Clayton Hall on UD’s Newark campus, will assess the state of disaster research today and map out paths for future research.

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“The premise of the workshop is that we are living in the midst of a ‘second environmental crisis,’ an unfolding disaster era as compelling, but not as recognized, as the environmental crisis of the 1960s,” according to a summary of the workshop.  Participants will include experts in disasters, environmental research, engineering, policy and the study of the relationships among science, technology and society.

The program begins with a pre-workshop gathering from 6-8 p.m., April 30, and continues with full days of workshop sessions on May 1 and 2. Topics will include the history of disaster research, converting research into public policy, bridging the divide between engineering and social sciences, and case studies of such events as Sept. 11, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The anniversary celebration will continue on Saturday, May 3, concluding with a barbecue cookout on the patio of UD’s Courtyard Newark.

The Disaster Research Center, the first such center in the world dedicated to the social scientific study of disasters, was established in 1963 at Ohio State University and moved to the University of Delaware in 1985. Faculty and undergraduate and graduate student researchers travel throughout the world to study a broad range of natural and man-made disasters and to investigate such aspects as emergency medical services, mental health resources and community preparedness and response.

Anyone interested in attending the workshop and celebration who has not yet registered should email the center at

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