The Institute conducts high quality research to enable informed decisions to be taken on policy, and to assist the development of resilient systems, procedures and practice. Applied research into the concept of resilience provides the intellectual foundations upon which practical solutions can be developed, and provides academic rigour and discipline to subjects which have previously been seen as a technical response to unforeseen natural and human-made disasters.

The Institute addresses issues of immediate concern, and facilitates longer term doctoral research through the four partner universities. The concept of resilience is still evolving and the Institute aims to provide greater clarity and understanding through its research work, both nationally and internationally. Research is driven by the needs of our clients, and draws on the existing areas of expertise of the four partner universities. Areas of research interest include:

(1)    Developing the concept and context of resilience and its various manifestations, and understanding better the roles of key actors including the Federal and State Governments, international organisations, commercial entities, NGOs and civil society in preparing for and responding to a disaster.

(2)    Improving society’s understanding of the cause, effect and management of natural disasters including the impact of climate change on the probability and scale of such events.

(3)    Building the resilience of communities and supply chains with a view to strengthening organisations and societies against disruptive challenges.

(4)    Assessing how well disasters and the risk of disruptive challenges are communicated with the media, affected organisations and the wider public.

(5)    Understanding behavioural change and its impact on the resilience of the Australian nation.

(6)    Evaluating models of business continuity and organisational resilience, and developing improved models.

(7)    Assessing the effectiveness of technologies which aim to detect, avert, mitigate, respond to, and forensically analyse accidents, disasters and crime, including terrorist acts.

Research also addresses the concept of humanitarian resilience to assist our understanding of the particular challenges from disasters with a humanitarian impact. Disasters may be sudden and overwhelming such as an earthquake or tsunami, or may have a slow onset with long lasting implications on fragile states, such as the uncontrolled ownership and use of small arms and light weapons, explosive remnants of war, AIDS, deforestation and global warming.