ITRC Webinar – Creating Resilient Infrastructure Networks

Jan 21, 2021

Showcasing ITRC’s impressive and ground-breaking work on risk and resilience in infrastructure modelling

On 28 October 2020, ITRC Director Jim Hall presented the fifth webinar in ITRC’s series – demonstrating ITRC’s system of systems approach to understanding the potential scale of threats to infrastructure from climate-related, security-related and space weather hazards, and to identify and prioritise adaptations and intervention to promote resilience within infrastructure networks.

ITRC representatives Dr Raghav Pant, Senior Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and Dr Edward Oughton, Assistant Professor of Data Analytics at George Mason University, presented an overview of ITRC’s work, then keynote speakers Carlos Sánchez, Director of Climate Resilience Investment at Willis Towers Watson and Mike Steel, Expert Adviser, Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the UK Environment Agency, gave their perspectives on the subject.

ITRC’s unique capabilities for modelling interdependencies between infrastructure networks (energy, transport, water, waste, digital) across all scales from local to national to global also allows them to identify the links between network failure and its knock-on effects on supply chains and the wider economy. Their work has been widely taken up – ITRC has conducted research on behalf of governments worldwide, and for the UK’s National Resilience Review, the Department of Transport, the Environmental Agency’s Long-term Investment Strategy and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC)’s recent Infrastructure Resilience Study.

Using UK and worldwide case-study examples, Raghav gave a presentation which illustrated how the ITRC identifies infrastructure network vulnerabilities and risks using process-based network models; what the direct and indirect economic impacts on infrastructure can be – here ITRC has identified some unexpected, long-term, cascading effects from single-asset failures, such as power – what resilience interventions or policies could be used to reduce the vulnerability of critical assets and how we can prioritise resilience in investment to reduce systematic risks.

Edward spoke about his widely-published and pioneering work for ITRC on more extreme events –such as cyber-risks on electricity distribution infrastructure networks, assessments on space weather risks to UK and US infrastructure and work for the Canadian Space Agency.

Keynote speaker Mike Steel, who is responsible for the Environmental Agency’s Long-term Investment Scenario – an economic analysis that investigates the planning, cost and benefits in investing in flood and coastal defences – emphasised how the agency’s long-term collaboration with the ITRC on potential impacts of flooding on infrastructure systems informed and validated much of their decision-making and helped strengthen their case for investment.

Carlos Sánchez from the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) brought an international and finance-sector perspective to the discussion. The CCRI is an initiative that brings together the global private finance industry with a commitment to advance practical solutions that guide investment decision-making with regard to climate risk. He spoke of how the application and value of ITRC’s work on this subject holds multi-billion dollar, worldwide interest.

Throughout the discussion, questions poured in from ‘Chat’, widening the scope of the webinar – questions about the validity/availability/security of data; on stakeholder engagement; infrastructure asset condition and how that can be factored into modelling; electromagnetic pulses; how nature-based solutions might form part of flood management and how to model and validate the more extreme, unpredictable climate changes we’re increasingly experiencing.

Watch the webinar on catch up, below:


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