Australia-ASEAN Council funding for Disaster Resilience
A team of UON researchers have secured funding of $77,000 in the inaugural round of the Australia-ASEAN Council grant program for their project 'Disaster Resilience Education Capacity Building in South-East Asia'.
Lead investigator Dr Jason von Meding, Head of Discipline for Construction Management, will be joined in this 2 year endeavour by UON colleagues Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran, Associate Professor Jamie Mackee, Dr Helen Giggins and Dr Sittimont Kanjanabootra.
The same research team at UON recently completed the DFAT funded 'REACT Network' project, bringing together tertiary educators from Australia, China and Taiwan around the mutual concern of resilience education. The 'Disaster Resilience Education Capacity Building in South-East Asia' project will build upon this success and establish wider links with resilience stakeholders, in Australia and each ASEAN country, strengthening institutional and individual capabilities to engage in activities of bilateral significance for the future.
Drawing upon the University of Newcastle's particular position as a centre for resilience education excellence, the team will work to build capacity in the ASEAN region, leveraging the recent partnership with the United Nations that established a Centre for Disaster Risk Reduction and made Newcastle a UN City. This expertise can be deployed to build capacity among ASEAN partners and stimulate long-term regional engagement. There is presently no organised consortium of disaster resilience educators in South-East Asia and this project addresses a vital need in a particularly vulnerable region.
The University of Newcastle (Australia), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT, Thailand), the University of the Philippines (UP) and the National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE, Vietnam) will form a robust regional network with the collective capacity to lead initiatives that protect society from shocks to physical, socio-cultural, politico-economic and natural systems.
The 5 Universities involved hope to generate further understanding of the regional challenges that result from complex problems generated by natural hazards and human induced threats. The overarching aim of the project will be to create regional synergies between leading higher education institutions while building capacity in ASEAN countries to proactively address disaster risk and build resilience through education.