A GBP 10 million resilience engineering programme has been announced, established by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation in partnership with global engineering and consultancy firm, Arup. The programme will make infrastructure for sectors including energy, transport, food and water more resilient to shocks and stresses. The team will work with businesses, engineers, researchers and others to develop standards and build networks of learning and best practice. The programme has been revealed at the Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Conference in London.
Dr Ruth Boumphrey, Lloyd’s Register Foundation says, “Society depends on the proper functioning of essential sectors such as food and water, energy, transportation, telecommunications, the built environment and healthcare. These sectors are increasingly complex and interdependent, acting at a global scale, and making them susceptible to catastrophic and cascading failure under stress. This programme will play a leading role in an international effort to better understand, communicate and improve the resilience of these services. It will provide resources and support leadership so the companies and organisations that supply such services can work together effectively in times of stress to serve society.”
Led by Programme Director Dr Nancy Kete, former Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, the team will explore how resilience engineering can become a mainstream discipline, through channels such as establishing its own standards, embedding incentives for businesses, developing professional qualifications and being a catalyst that drives international knowledge sharing networks. The Lloyd’s Register Foundation selected Arup to run the programme, recognising its strong reputation in integrating resilience engineering in real world projects.
Dr Kete says, “This is an ambitious programme aimed at global change in thinking and practice, so that all those who own, design, and manage critical facilities like energy and water systems, regularly think beyond the fence line. These systems will be valued for how they contribute to the safety and well-being of society. It is no longer enough to commission and design infrastructure not to fail – the traditional risk management approach. These facilities also have to be guaranteed to protect property and people, to provide essential services, and to enable the flow of goods, services, people, and knowledge under a wide range of adverse conditions.”
Jo da Silva, Director, Arup says, “As a company we have been investing in resilience research for several years, responding to the need for new approaches to managing uncertainty and disruption that go beyond traditional risk management. We are seeing growing interest in resilience of communities, cities and critical infrastructure from governments, industry and businesses in response to the challenges of climate change, rapid urbanisation and globalisation. We believe this programme provides a unique opportunity to embed resilience into mainstream thinking and doing.”
In 2015, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation published a Foresight Review of resilience engineering. The review highlighted the example of Hurricane Sandy, where critical infrastructure was severely compromised by a lack of investment in mitigating measures. Not only did the hurricane disrupt maritime-based fuel refineries and transport systems, but power outages and poorly-sited backup powering systems caused significant disruption to hospitals. As a result, the US government identified the need to install electrical transformers in commercial buildings and the ability to shutter key tunnels, airports and subways in order to be more resilient.