USC to study terrorism and economics

Department of Homeland Security

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The University of Southern California will receive $12 million in federal funding over the next three years to study economic risks from potential terrorist threats and events to targets, such as critical infrastructure systems, and develop tools for planning responses and emergencies.

USC becomes the first Center for Excellence under a Homeland Security Department program to enhance multidisciplinary academic research to enhance prevention, response and recovery from terrorism events. Specifically, USC will establish the Homeland Security Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events.

The center will offer courses and a certificate program in risk and decision analysis to distance-learning engineering students and develop professional workshops, fellowships and outreach to local and regional communities, among other research activities.

Tabbed to lead the new center are Randolph Hall, an authority in transportation, logistics, engineering and mathematical modeling in USC's School of Engineering, and Detlof von Winterfeldt, an expert in risk and decision analysis in the fields of environment, technology and weapons of mass destruction with the university's School of Policy, Planning and Development.

Two existing USC centers -- the Integrated Media Systems Center and Information Sciences Institute -- will contribute research in advanced computer modeling and cybersecurity.

DHS's Science and Technology division reviewed more than 70 proposals to establish the first center and plans to establish a number of additional ones in agricultural bioterrorism countermeasures, behavioral research on terrorism and countermeasures, public and health safety technology transfer, and research and development of needed response technologies and operations.

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