News

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Research Fayre. College of Policing [30 January 2013]

Aston Crisis Centre was part of the Research Fayre held by the West Midlands Police. The fayre gathered Universities and practitioners alike to share research interests and present practical challenges identified by regional authorities. Aston Crisis Centre,  led by Dr. Pavel Albores, presented several posters about current projects to disseminate the research interests of the research group and to network with other institutions.

h4d2 - Hackathon for Disaster Response 2.0 [21-23 September 2012]

Aston University and the University of Warwick organized the Hackathon for Disaster Response, a 2-day event that brought together software developers and emergency management experts to hack out solutions to disaster-related problems. The event was led by Dr. Christopher Brewster and held at Aston University, and it gathered people from different backgrouds with the common goal of developing pratical solutions for relevant issues.

Centre research informs international guidance on nuclear waste disposal [updated on 23-May-2011]

Prof. Duncan Shaw (ABS) and Neil Blundell (ONR) presented the results from research conducted in cooperation with the UK’s Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) at a technical meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna last week. The presentation focused on a decision-making methodology they have developed to minimize waste and improve plant safety, which was adopted as official IAEA guidance. For more information.

Intercept conference features in Inside OR [updated on 06-May-2011]

The Intercept conference, held last year at Aston University, has been featured in an extensive article for Inside OR, the magazine of the Operational Research Society. ORS members can view a copy here.

Workshop on critical information sharing held in Japan [updated on 06-April-2011]

On 11th March 2011, Aston CRISIS Centre researcher Dr. Gary Preece ran a workshop in Japan on "Improving critical information sharing in response to disaster". The workshop, held at Kyoto University, introduced delegates to a methodology called viable systems modelling (VSM) and explored its transferability from its traditional business context to the area of disaster management (see more). Meanwhile, former CRISIS Centre employee Anne Dawson has been assisting in the disaster relief effort following last month's devastating earthquake.

CRISIS Centre researcher is runner-up in university competition [updated on 21-March-2011]

Chris Smith has been awarded runner up in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) poster competition under the 'New Project' category. Mr. Smith’s poster was showcased at the Celebrating Research Event on March 16 and illustrated his current project with Warwickshire Police. For more information.

CRISIS Centre staff participate in Exercise Watermark [updated on 14-March-2011]

Aston CRISIS Centre researcher, Susan Anson, participated as a volunteer evacuee during a mock evacuation from Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire as part of the national Exercise Watermark. The exercise was held in response to Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations from the 2007 UK floods that there should be a national flooding exercise involving public participation. Professor Duncan Shaw, Director of the Crisis Centre, participated in the exercise at the national level as part of an EU-funded Exchange of Experts in Civil Protection. For more information.

ERGO researcher presents findings at University of Cambridge [updated on 01-March-2011]

Magesh Nagarajan, a researcher on the ERGO project, will present his findings from the project at a seminar held in the Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge on April 1. The 18th Research Methodology Workshop, hosted by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), has been convened for doctoral researchers. The Workshop aims to provide researchers with an insight into designing research and developing new methodologies. For more information.

Dr. Gary Preece collaborates with Kyoto University on information sharing during disasters [updated on 17-January-2011]

Dr. Gary Preece has travelled to Japan to begin a 4-month research collaboration between the Aston CRISIS Centre and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) at Kyoto University. During this collaborative project, Dr. Preece is working closely with Japanese academics to look at ways to improve the sharing of critical information in response to major disasters in Japan and around the world. For more information.

Prof. Duncan Shaw to participate in EU-wide ‘Exchange of Experts' on coastal floods [updated on 10-January-2011]

Prof. Duncan Shaw has been asked to participate an EU-wide ‘Exchange of Experts in Civil Protection’ which focuses on preparing an emergency response to coastal flooding. The exchange, which is coordinated by the UK’s Cabinet Office and is funded by the European Commission. For more information.

ERGO researcher receives bursary to attend international conference [updated on 13-December-2010]

Over 1,000 academics and practitioners converged on Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA this December 5-8 to take part in the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). The SRA brings together practitioners from across the risk analysis discipline to exchange ideas and discuss their on-going work. Joining the delegates in Salt Lake was Paul Kailiponi, a researcher on the ERGO project. Mr. Kailiponi, whose work on the ERGO project examined Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and decision making during a disaster, received a bursary from the SRA to support his participation in the event. He delivered a paper entitled 'Spatial vulnerability assessment using dasymetrics and multi-attribute value functions'.

Aston joins emergency preparedness in health care project [updated on 1-November-2010]

Prof Duncan Shaw from the Aston CRISIS Centre is pleased to be collaborating on a new project with Prof Simon French from Manchester Business School and Russell King from Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust. The project, co-ordinated by Manchester Business School, brings together a strong team led by two academics (one from the Aston CRISIS Centre) who have much experience worldwide in emergency planning, management and recovery worldwide, together with the chair of the Greater Manchester Acute Trust Emergency Planners. For more information.

CRISIS Centre at DEFRA Flood Meeting [updated on 14-October-2010]

The United Kingdom has experienced a significant number of large-scale flooding events, but research suggests that is has the second-lowest mortality rate in Europe. At a conference hosted by the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Cambridge on 29 September 2010, delegates heard how Britain can continue to keep the population safe from major flooding events. Representing the Aston CRISIS Centre, Prof Duncan Shaw delivered a keynote address which detailed the findings from the ERGO project on preparing for mass evacuation. For more information.

NATO Civil Protection Committee Seminar [updated on 7-October-2010]

CRISIS Centre Director Professor Duncan Shaw delivered a keynote address to the NATO Civil Protection Committee Seminar in Sielnica, Slovakia last week. He provided attendees with an overview of the EC-funded Evacuation Responsiveness by Government Organisations project and talked about the role of a NATO response to mass evacuation. Duncan also sat on an expert panel which responded to NATO priorities for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents. The seminar drew an international speakers from NATO member states and covered a wide range of civil protection and military activities. Presentations were given on how to support national authorities from chemical and biological threats; preparation for high visibility events, including mass gatherings and Olympic events; and support for crisis response operations. Events were concluded with a field demonstration of a CBRN exercise run by the Slovakian military.

International Conference on Emergency Preparedness (InterCEPt): The Challenges of Mass Evacuation held at Aston University [updated on 30-September-2010]

From 21st-23rd September Aston Business School played host to the International Conference on Emergency Preparedness (InterCEPt), an event organised by the Aston CRISIS Centre. The conference’s theme was the challenges of mass evacuation. Support for the event came from the European Commission’s Prevention, Preparedness, and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security-related Risks Programme, which is managed by the Directorate-General Home Affairs. For more information.

THES features Aston CRISIS Centre [updated on 2-July-2010]

The Aston CRISIS Centre has featured in a brief story by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) detailing the ERGO team's visit to Iceland to report their findings on mass evacuation. For more information.

CRISIS Centre returns to Sofia [updated on 24-June-2010]

A team from the Aston CRISIS Centre led by Dr. Pavel Albores and Dr. Patrick Tissington has visited Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, to present the preliminary findings from the ERGO project. In attendance were representatives from Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Interior and the country’s emergency services. Susan Anson, a researcher on the project, presented her findings on publicity materials to alert the public to possible disaster risks.

Under the volcano: Aston University reports on Iceland’s evacuation preparedness [updated on 1-June-2010]

A team from Aston University’s Centre for Research into Safety and Security (CRISIS) has just returned from Iceland where they delivered their findings on evacuating the public during major disasters. The visit was part of the EU-funded Evacuation Responsiveness by Government Organisations (ERGO) project. The team also visited Eyjafjallajökull volcano to find out how they evacuated nearby residents during its recent eruption. For more information.

Student awarded prestigious scholarship [updated on 11-May-2010]

An Aston University student has won a prestigious scholarship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to work on a joint project between the Aston CRISIS Centre and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. Gary Preece will travel to Japan and work closely with Japanese academics for four months to look at ways to improve the sharing of critical information in response to major disasters in Japan and around the world. For more information.

ERGO Feedback visit to Denmark [updated on 4-May-2010]

The ERGO team visited Copenhagen, Denmark last week to present the project’s preliminary findings at the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA). The meeting was attended by representatives from DEMA and the Danish emergency services. For more information.

CRISIS Centre begins Lincolnshire coastal flooding project [updated on 30-Apr-2010]

Representatives from Aston Crisis Centre visited Lincolnshire last week in preparation for a new project on evacuating vulnerable people in coastal communities from flooding. The team visited Sutton-on-Sea and Mablethorpe to view coastal flood defences in the area. During their time in Lincolnshire the team met with local councillors, the Environment Agency and Lincolnshire Emergency Planning Unit. For more information.

ERGO team makes Spanish Feedback visit [updated on 15-Apr-2010]

Last week Dr. Pavel Albores, and Paul Kailiponi visited Cádiz to provide a Feedback session on the ERGO project for officials from the region's emergency management staff, and emergency services. They presented the preliminary findings of the project to over sixty attendees, and members of the local media. The next Feedback session is scheduled for 28-29 April in Denmark.

ERGO team presents findings in Hamburg [updated on 29-Mar-2010]

The Evacuation Responsiveness by Government Organisations (ERGO) research team visited Hamburg, Germany last week to present the project's preliminary findings to officials from the city's emergency services. The Feedback session was attended by many people who were interviewed for the project during the team's last visit. For more information.

Dr Patrick Tissington addresses Emergency Planning College [updated on 26-Mar-2010]

Dr Patrick Tissington delivered a session on public preparedness at the Cabinet Office’s Emergency Planning College this week. The event, sponsored by the Emergency Planning Society, featured leading thinking on community resilience and sessions focused on questions of public preparedness for emergencies. For more information.

Aston CRISIS Centre hosts ESRC seminar in Leeds [updated on 17-Mar-2010]

Aston CRISIS Centre directors Prof Duncan Shaw and Dr Patrick Tissington hosted an ESRC-funded seminar at the University of Leeds this week. The event was attended by a group of academics and practitioners with discussion focused on ways of pushing forward the research agenda into emergency issues. For more information.

CRISIS Centre hosts Masterclasses [updated on 8-Mar-2010]

During February and March Aston CRISIS Centre held two Masterclass events for professionals involved in emergency management. The meetings provided an opportunity to share information about dealing with a wide variety of different disasters and emergency situations across Europe. For more information.

 

Chief Superintendent Simon Lewis speaks at CRISIS Centre seminar [updated on 22-Feb-2010]

On Thursday 18th February Chief Superintendent Simon Lewis, Chair of the London Emergency Services Liaison Panel and the London Mass Evacuation Group, presented a seminar to members of the Aston CRISIS Centre relating his experiences and observations of consequence management based on his involvement in the Alexander Litvinenko case. The former Russian security officer was killed by the radioactive substance polonium-210 in 2006. The seminar focused on consequence management during an emerging wide scale event. In particular Chief Superintendent Lewis discussed issues concerning business continuity, legal frameworks and crime scene operations. He also described the challenge of balancing occupational and public health during an emergency involving radioactive material, and explained the steps that have been taken to learn from the Litvinenko case. Chief Superintendent Lewis was Silver Commander for Trooping the Colour in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and spent a period of time as Silver Commander for the London Bombings on 7th and 8th July 2005.

Aston CRISIS Centre provides keynote for Kurhaus Conference [updated on 15-Feb-2010]

Speaking at the 2nd International Kurhaus Conference on National Safety and Security, held 8th February 2010, keynote speaker Professor Duncan Shaw outlined the main objectives and practical applications of the ERGO project to an audience of senior managers drawn from government, business and science. The conference was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany and the Netherlands' Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Prof. Shaw told conference delegates that evacuation decisions can be aided by analysing quantitative information gathered on key factors. Modelling developed by the ERGO project can provide managers with a strategy to decide when and what type of evacuation is required during an emergency. The Kurhaus Conference has been convened to provide organisations involved in safety and security with an opportunity to exchange knowledge about their work.

Business School professor advised Middle Eastern security chiefs on crisis management [updated on 14-Dec-2009]

A psychology expert from Aston Business School in Birmingham shared his high profile research on airport security at a conference of police chiefs, interior ministers and senior military officers in Dubai this weekend (Sunday 13 December). For more information.

Keynote to Mayors of European Municipalities [updated on 30-Sep-2009]

Professor Duncan Shaw recently delivered a keynote presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Group of European Municipalities with Nuclear Facilities (GMF) on 30th September 2009 in Brussels, Belgium. For more information.

Invitation to Aston CRISIS Centre's International Conference 2010 [updated on 16-Jul-2009]

On 21st-23rd September 2010, the Aston CRISIS Centre will host an International conference on Emergency Preparedness. The conference is co-financed by the European Commission and the Economic and Social Research Council and will bring together practitioners and academics from across the world. For more information.

Aston CRISIS Centre provides expertise to Home Office on preparing for terrorist attack

Dr Partick Tissington has been asked by the British Psychological Society to act on their behalf in providing expert opinion to the UK Home Office on draft policy on the protection of crowded public places. The full report can be seen at this website. [updated on 7-Jul-2009]

Aston CRISIS Centre provides training to senior police officers in the United Arab Emirates

The UAE is in the midst of a bold diversification strategy as its economy is shifted from solely oil producing to a thriving tourist destination. Innovations in Abu Dhabi include the construction of museums curated by the Louvre and Guggenheim, construction of world class golf courses and a massive investment in the construction of a street based motor sport circuit which will host the Grand Prix in November. Against this backdrop the police force finds itself in the unaccustomed position of providing security to major international events, international VIPs and very large increases in the number of tourists. Dr Patrick Tissington provided the first in a series of training events aimed at bringing all ranks of police officer up to date in the latest thinking in major public event planning and crisis management techniques. Future plans involve similar training for the UAE Army officers and government officials. [updated on 1-June-09]

Directors of Aston CRISIS Centre to be Government advisors

The government department, Communities and Local Government (CLG), have invited Professor Duncan Shaw and Dr Patrick Tissington to join an expert panel to advise ministers on all aspects of research in the field of fire and resilience. Their appointment to this multi-disciplinery panel is to provide external peer review,wide-reaching academic input, blue-sky thinking and independent challenge to their overall research programme and individual projects. In addition to the commissioning and delivery of new research projects, panel members are asked to be available to provide scientific advice to the Fire and Research Directorate (part of CLG) during a crisis and to their 'Emergency Room' which provides co-ordination and briefing for CLG Ministers and senior CLG officials.

CRISIS Meeting

Emergency planners and emergency services representatives met at Aston Business School recently for CRISIS talks with academics.

The Aston CRISIS Centre is a research group based at the business school. It is running a series of seminars on ‘Emergency Preparedness in the UK’, funded by the UK Government's Economic and Social Research Council.

The seminar was hosted by Professor Duncan Shaw and Dr Pat Tissington of Aston Business School.

Professor Shaw said: "We are looking at ways that Britain can plan for large scale emergencies such as floods or terrorist attacks. Twenty academics and emergency experts met to identify the ways in which researchers could help practitioners prepare for emergencies. This first seminar concentrated on computer models and their place in making crisis management plans."

This is the first seminar of five that will be held throughout the UK - each one focussing on a different area of research. The next meeting will focus on how the public can best be psychologically prepared for emergencies.

[updated on 07-Jan-2009]

Emergency funding

Emergency evacuations across Europe could be transformed by academics at Aston Business School in Birmingham. It has won a £500,000 award, co-financed by the European Commission, to produce a "prepardness toolkit" for mass evacuations in the event of a major catastrophic incident.

[From Birmingham Post Tuesday 22, April 2008] 

Firefighter dies tackling blaze

A firefighter has died and three others are missing after a suspected arson attack at a warehouse in Warwickshire.
The crew member's body was recovered during the blaze at the vegetable packing plant in Atherstone on Stour, near Stratford-upon-Avon.
The fire, on Atherstone Industrial Estate, started at 1845 GMT on Friday.
Hopes were fading for the fate of the missing firefighters and union leaders said the incident may be the worst loss of life for more than 30 years.
Andy Dark, assistant general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), told BBC News the potential loss of four lives would make the incident the worst loss of life among its members since 1972. more

The treatment of military prisoners

[extract] Psychologist Dr Patrick Tissington - a former British Army officer - says that the military can use loyalty to a group to encourage decent, rather than brutal behaviour.

He says that "without supervision, the Stanford guards quickly turned into nasty pieces of work", but where members feel a great loyalty to a group and a concern for the standing of that organisation they will want to behave impeccably.
Dr Tissington says that soldiers will frame their own behaviour so as not to bring shame on their comrades, their predecessors, nor the recruits to come. The British regimental system has long been praised for binding soldiers very tightly to small units with long histories and traditions.
For the full article see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3683115.stm