New global team formed to strengthen society’s resilience to shocks and stresses

• Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Arup join forces to build resilience of society’s critical infrastructure
• Increased globalisation needs a new response to shocks and chronic stresses

A £10 million resilience engineering programme has been announced today, 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 said: “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 said: “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 said: “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. 

Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Conference 2016 

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Conference 2016 is being held over two days in London on 13 and 14 October. The conference, titled Bringing safety to life, is the first to be held by the Foundation. It is a public event, gathering Foundation grant holders from around the world gathered to showcase the breadth, variety and impact of their work. Speakers include:

  • Prof Sir Andre Geim, Nobel Prize Winner and Regius Professor and Royal Society Research Professor at The University of Manchester
  • Lord David Willetts, Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation, Chair of the British Science Association
  • Prof David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, Professor of Biostatistics and Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University
  • Dr Nancy Kete, former Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation leading global resilience work
  • Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science. 

Programme overview 

The programme’s primary aim is to build resilience within and between critical global infrastructure sectors, for example maritime industries, energy, food and water, transport, communications, healthcare. 

To do this the programme might address:

  • governance: incentives, standards, rules, legal and financial instruments
  • capacity building and engagement: professional development, publications, communication and public engagement
  • data and supporting tools: shared datasets, modelling and simulation, decision support
  • international and global scale networks: studies of global systems, supply chains, knowledge networks. 

In addition to its primary aim, the programme has two secondary aims, interfacing with and supporting work led elsewhere. It will:

  • interface with organisations building resilience in cities, countries and organisations and
  • support the application of technologies, knowledge and skills, developed through funding from elsewhere, needed to build resilience in critical infrastructure sectors and to mature the discipline of resilience engineering. 

The programme will run for an initial period of five years. The Foundation’s contribution to the programme is anticipated to be approximately £10 million GBP. 

About Arup 

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. From 92 offices in 40 countries our 12,000 planners, designers and consultants deliver innovative and resilient projects across the world with creativity and passion. 

www.arup.com