GRI Current Events Blog

GRI Director Stephen Flynn Speaks at the Opening of Northeastern ISEC building

GRI Research Assistant

Apr. 10, 2017

On April 3rd, Northeastern University launched the opening of it’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, which houses research facilities to research topics ranging from coastal resilience to computer science to civil engineering. ISEC was designed to address complex modern challenges that require multi-disciplinary research, ranging from anti-bacterial resistance to the challenge of creating a more resilient society.

Steve Flynn Presenting

April 11, 2017 – BOSTON, MA. – Steve Flynn gives remarks during the Global Resilience Institute Launch held in the ISEC building at Northeastern University on April 11, 2017. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Dr. Stephen Flynn, Founder and Director of the Global Resilience Institute (GRI), presented at the opening, and discussed the need for an interdisciplinary approach to bolster resilience in an interdependent world. He highlighted risks posed by the increasingly connected nature of modern society, and the vulnerability of interdependent networks and systems to cascading failures. As everything from our cars to our infrastructure become more closely tied to one another, shocks from one event, such as a natural disaster or disease outbreak, will be felt across sectors, or even across the globe. Superstorm Sandy served as a prime example. Dr. Flynn pointed out that the failure of the transportation system caused the closure of the stock market, prevented sick patients from accessing medical services like dialysis, and undermined recovery efforts. He also noted that the effort to increase resilience against shocks requires a interdisciplinary approach, from engineers designing physical structures that can “fail gracefully, recover nimbly, and adapt going forward,” to economists and business leaders that can design incentives to help scale and sustain resilient practices.

Dr. Flynn addressed how the Global Resilience Institute will address these issues, pointing out that GRI analyzes resilience at three levels: individuals, systems, and communities. GRI engages all nine colleges at Northeastern University to conduct research that addresses resilience challenges. GRI also maintains partnerships with a variety of international organization,s ranging from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

For more information, the full presentation video can be seen here.

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The Global Resilience Institute is committed to informing and advancing societal resilience around the world. Individuals, communities, nations, and the systems they depend upon, can thrive only if they have the means to better withstand, recover from and adapt to the inevitable shocks and disruptive events of the 21st century. Our university-wide Institute is partnering with other leading academic research institutions, nonprofits and the public and private sectors to devise and apply practical, interdisciplinary innovations and solutions to resilience challenges.