Accelerating Scientific, Academic and Technology Capability to Advance Risk Reduction and Resilience-Building 2019-2030
The Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) Working Group recently released a report on their findings concerning 4 the role that universities and higher education institutions play in collaboration with other science and technology actors and communities in advancing integrated scientific and academic capabilities in the disaster risk domain.The survey results, from institutions primarily in Asia/Pacific and Africa, complement sights from similar studies conducted in Europe as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
Their research’s results foreground the following themes;
1) Higher education institutions in Asia and Africa constitute an under-utilised force for transforming disaster risk reduction skill-sets, especially in the aftermath of major disaster events. Results indicate a strong HEI appetite for post-disaster programme innovation. This initiative should be actively reinforced by incorporating higher education DR curriculum redevelopment in post-disaster recovery planning and funding.
2) Even in highly disaster-prone developing countries, governments and students are paying for their own skilled capacity building in DRR, with minimal international support. This explicitly disadvantages talented students who lack financial means to pay tuition, particularly women and other motivated, but marginal groups.
3) Despite evidence of wide-ranging integration of DR content into a diversity of academic programmes, there are striking shortcomings in the engagement of the social sciences and humanities. This compromises both the depth and breadth of potential for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary DR-related teaching and research – with profound implications for practice (as evidenced by the West African Ebola outbreak, where ‘epidemiology without anthropology’ was sorely inadequate for understanding the social construction of risk in that context).
4) In both Asia and Africa, survey results indicate discouraging disaster risk career pathways for women academics. In a field where impacts are disproportionately borne by women and children, survey results indicate little evidence that women scientists and academics are systematically, strategically and inclusively supported to advance professionally. This has profound implications both for the scope of DR science, as well as policy and practice in both regions.