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Societal Shock Resilience, an NSF Convergence Accelerator Workshop

Workshop: June 7-8, & 11, 2021
Registration Deadline: May 25, 2021

Conveners: Christine Goulet (USC), Yousef Bozorgnia (UCLA), Marco Tedesco (Columbia University), and Ellen Rathje (UT Austin).
Dates: June 7-8 & 11, 2021
Participants: 600 maximum
Location: Online via Zoom

SUMMARY: People across the country are facing  increased extreme, stressing events (“shocks”) such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and pandemics. Although specific shocks may be more regional in nature, the whole nation faces the possibility of extreme events disrupting normal societal functions. Yet, resilience and adaptation tools that can reduce the consequences of such shocks are still not implemented and their architecture is not yet fully developed. This situation is partially due to the lack of bridges between the different communities involved and the socio-cultural-economical barriers associated with the absence of interdisciplinary applied science on these issues.

The NSF Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel) program combines convergence research and innovative approaches to address such national-scale, high-impact societal challenges. The CoAcc program aims to support projects within defined Tracks that can have a direct impact within 3-5 years of implementation. Potential C-Accel Track topics are developed through workshops that gather broad community input.  Our C-Accel funded workshop topic is on Societal Shock Resilience. It will bring together a multi-hazard, multi-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary community to identify the interactions across a Societal Shock Resilience Framework (see image at right, and with caption here) that will most benefit from the convergence approach and lead to actionable projects that “connect the silos” of the 6 elements: shock, exposure, vulnerability, response, recovery, mitigation

Participants invited to register: we invite registrants that span expertises such as hazard assessment (e.g., geoscience, climate science); ecologic, biological, and environmental science; engineering disciplines (civil, mechanical, electrical); mathematics and statistics modeling; computer science and software engineering, data science; social sciences (communication, education, urban planning, public policy, disaster management, public health, emergency response, and network analysis); economics and financial stress modeling. Experts from these disciplines also span a wide range of sectors including academia, government at all levels, and the private sector (for- and not-for-profit). In addition, stakeholders and communities depend on various entities for their resilience, which in turn span several sectors and at a minimum involve multiple industries, the natural and built environments, energy and storage facilities, distributed infrastructure such as transportation and utilities, and communication systems. We are looking for stakeholders across these categories as well.

THE WORKSHOP OBJECTIVE is to refine the C-Accel topic by gathering and synthesizing input from a broad community of stakeholders, and inform NSF’s solicitation on a possible new Track. This will be achieved through the following workshop goals:

  • G1. Define the problems and terminology. Establish clear definitions of hazard, risk and resilience that are applicable at the national scale and through disciplines and sectors to improve communication among the various stakeholders.
  • G2. Develop collaborations and partnerships. Foster collaboration and “system think” across the wide range of participants involved in different aspects of the societal shock resilience framework.
  • G3. Identify target needs and communities. Identify and prioritize specific problems and user communities that future C-Accel projects should address. 
  • G4. Define convergence and partnership requirements. Define the requirements for cross-disciplines and trans-discipline convergence that involves the appropriate sectors and stakeholders for future C-Accel projects. 

Expected outcomes. The goal of the workshop is to bring people from most of the hazards and disciplines listed above to find what parts of the interaction across the societal shock resilience framework need convergence the most. It’s not about a specific hazard, it’s about how we get the moving parts connecting with each other to develop convergence and actionable projects. In other words, this workshop is about defining how to “connect the silos” of the six elements (shock, exposure, vulnerability, response, recovery, mitigation) that span multi- and trans-disciplinary interactions to deliver actionable projects. Outcomes of the workshop will likely include an updated framework figure that takes into account the findings from the interactions (defining the critical connections and convergence mechanisms), and will definitely define priorities for the track. For example, it could be that the track should prioritize projects that will develop tools to fast-track the engineering-to-policy implementation, or projects that expand education curricula around the framework, or projects that integrate spatially distributed hazards with specific fragilities of regional distributed infrastructure. These are only examples, and we expect the workshop will help define what is ripe for convergence and could provide tangible impacts within 3-to-5 years of the C-Accel program.

The Planning Committee (some members shown here) invites experts and stakeholders
from the different disciplines and communities to converge at the upcoming workshop.
Together, we will begin to identify pathways towards societal shock resilience.

AGENDA (JUNE 7-8 & 11, 2021)

The workshop will include 1) large plenary sessions ; 2) parallel break-out sessions focused on current convergence challenges and opportunities; and 3) focus-group collaborative activities to synthesize the input. The workshop is organized across 3 days, each spanning the 9 AM to 1 PM Pacific (12 PM to 4  PM Eastern) time frame. June 7 and 8 will begin with plenary sessions featuring broad visionary talks and large group discussions followed by break-out sessions spanning the elements of the Societal Shock Framework. June 11 will consist of focus-group activities in virtual rooms that will be filled through an application process at registration time.


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