Disaster experts come together in Adelaide for national Forum | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Disaster experts come together in Adelaide for national Forum

Release date

13 May 2024

The best disaster science in the country plus a special keynote from a New Zealand warnings expert will be showcased this week in Adelaide at the Natural Hazards Research Forum.

Held at the National Wine Centre, Adelaide over three days from 14-16 May, the Forum brings together researchers, government, emergency services personnel and community to foster collaboration and share insights to help shape the future of natural hazards research use.

Hosted by Natural Hazards Research Australia (the Centre), the Forum will feature keynote talks from local and international experts on the latest disaster preparedness, response and mitigation research, along with targeted sessions to foster collaboration between disaster practitioners and scientists.

Centre CEO Andrew Gissing said the Forum is an annual opportunity for knowledge sharing, collaboration and problem-solving in the disaster and emergency management sectors.

“This year’s Forum is crucial as we face increasingly complex and frequent natural hazards under climate change. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, we can drive innovation and research use to reduce the impact of natural hazards on our communities,” Mr Gissing said.

“Keeping at the forefront of the latest technology, the Forum will cover topics such as artificial intelligence, robotics and personalised warnings. It is vital that hazards research keeps up with the scale and pace of technological innovations and we are proud to be featuring leading experts in this space.”

With warnings for hazards so critical for people in the path of hazards and emergency agencies, the Forum will feature a special keynote from New Zealand warnings specialist Dr Sally Potter from GNS Science.

Dr Potter’s research explores how warnings can be more effective and asks if there is a way to receive warnings before a hazard occurs that reflects the different situations that each of us live our lives in. If our digital footprints could feed into warnings, would we all better understand the risk ourselves, our families and our livelihoods face? While there are undoubtedly challenges in this space, there is also opportunity. This could be the future of warnings, but should it be?

The full Forum program is structured by focus areas on situational awareness, resilient communities and Country, infrastructure and workforce to cater to a diverse audience. The workshop sessions will foster collaboration through an interactive knowledge exchange to inform the future direction of research and utilisation.

“I’m looking forward to hearing from the line-up of some of the best minds in natural hazards research and emergency management, learning from their insights and vision for the future of science-driven disaster management. By coming together we can create a safer, more resilient future,” Mr Gissing said.

Key speakers at the Natural Hazards Research Forum include:

  • Brendan Moon, Coordinator-General for Emergency Management, National Emergency Management Agency
  • Dr Sally Potter, Senior Social Scientist, GNS Science New Zealand, on personalised natural hazard warnings
  • Dr Sue Keay, Partner and Director, Future Work Group, on embracing AI and technological change
  • Prof Barbara Norman, University of Canberra, on future urban planning for natural hazards
  • Prof Andy Koronios, CEO and Managing Director, SmartSat CRC, on research and innovation for natural hazards
  • Dr Justin Fidock, Program Leader National Security, Defence Science and Technology Group, Dept of Defence
  • Brett Loughlin, Chief Fire Officer, South Australian Country Fire Service

Media passes are available to attend the Natural Hazards Research Forum in Adelaide, or alternatively media can access the Forum via the live stream. Please note only the plenary on day one will be live-streamed.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES AND PASSES – please contact Nathan Maddock at Natural Hazards Research Australia – 0410 998 600 or nathan.maddock@naturalhazards.com.au