IDEAS Factory - Risk Taking for Resilience

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Psychology


The research is concerned with issues of risk and resilience. Much can be learnt about resilience through a fuller understanding of risk assessment and risk management. We will be looking in detail at risk assessment and management in the port environment. Relevant documentation will be reviewed in addition to a programme of structured individual and group based discussions with key staff to inform our understanding of risk assessment and management in ports. Additionally, we will be developing a model of the relationships around and within the handling facilities in ports. When we combine both sets of information gleaned from each strand of this research we will test the system for resilience using a simulation of disruptive events drawn chiefly from our hypothetical 'risk manifestations'. Thus we will be able to test the degree of flexibility and plasticity of exisiting systems and processes in the event of the realisation of some key 'risks'. We will be looking at differences and commonalities in the attitudes to risk of public and private sector bodies in the port environment and how this may impact upon resilience. We would anticipate that the model will have applications elsewhere in the port industry (including airports) and beyond. In short we are aiming to use our understanding of risk assessment and risk management to help further inform our understanding of resilience. This research will shed light on our understanding of the relationships between 'risk' and 'resilience' this will not only be of academic interest but also will form an empirical basis upon which to inform policy and operational practices in ports. We envisage that our approach will have broader applications to include the protection of our national infrastructure.

Planned Impact

This is a multidisciplinary research proposal from three UK based international researchers. The idea for the research came out of the Next Generation Resilience Research Sandpit event in November, 2009. The port environment was identified as a complex and challenging testing ground for examining the conceptual utility of drawing upon an understanding of risk assessement and management, to inform our understanding of resilience. Thus our first objective involves looking at the applications of our research to port industries. We would anticipate much potential for learning in this underdeveloped area. This is a view shared in the support for this project from the port industry.For example, there appears to be some significant levels of interest in the development of two of our delivaerables in particular; first our agent based modelling wwhich will allow for bespoke port simulations. Second, our risk assessment framework. But our ambitions for the full impact of the proposal go much further than this. Indeed there are numerous potential applications beyond the immediate environment of the ports. Thus we are using the ports very much as an exemplar for our approach linking 'risk' with 'resilience'. Thus many different types of communities are likely to benefit from this research. We anticipate academic, policy and operational applications of our research. We will be able to engage with a range of such communities reflecting our different disciplinary backgrounds which is a real strength of this proposal. The successful dissemination of our research findings will have a high priority for each of us so as to ensure the full impact of this innovative and exciting piece of research.
Description We develped decision support approaches to inform more effective decision making in relation to risk and resilience in the port setting. The approach taken has wider applications with the port environment being an exemplar for the decision making support framework.
Exploitation Route The approach could be used by those involved in making risk assessments and/or securing more effective organisational resilience policies, procedures and processes.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description A presentation was given to the port of London authority representatives on the main findings summarized in the risk and resilience report. The outputs of this report fed into their resilience work on the Queen's Jubilee event and the Olympic Games London 2012. In 2013, our findings in relation to closed and open systems were shared with Stockton Borough Council emergency planning representatives to be incorporated into their strategy in operations.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Port of London Authority resilience policy review
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Improvements through a more systematic approach to risk and resilience in the Port of London Authority operating environment.
Description Risk and Resilience: impacts and applications
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I005935/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2012 
End 03/2013
Description Risk and resilience: prison suicide 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Guest keynote speaker in conference at Tekyo University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, for an audience of medical researchers, practitioners, undergraduate, and postgraduate students. Questions and discussions involved conceptual issues around risk and resilience and their applications to public health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description Understanding Risk and Resilience on Emergency Planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 20 people attended a workshop for emergency planners at Stockton Campus Durham University. The aim was to draw from the learning from the Port of London Authority study to inform regional emergency planning. Durham University Business Continuity and Emergency planning documentation was comprehensively reviewed as an outcome.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013