Johns Hopkins hosts new disaster-research center

Johns Hopkins University is the site of a new Homeland Security Department research and education center dedicated to improving emergency response to large-scale incidents and disasters, DHS officials announced this week.

The Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response will conduct research on preparedness, prevention and response. Areas of study will include risk assessment, decision-making, infrastructure integrity, surge capacity and sensor networks.

The center will focus especially on the interaction of networks and using models and simulations.

Johns Hopkins will subsume the center into its Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, which the university created shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Gary Stephenson, a university spokesman.

Working with the office will enable the center to start operations soon, he said.

DHS will provide the center, which will lead a consortium of other universities, with $15 million during the next three years.

The Johns Hopkins center will be the fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence, which DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate runs through its Office of University Programs. The centers of excellence do multidisciplinary research and create new education programs.

The four other centers of excellence, each of which run their own consortium of universities, are:

  • The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California.

  • The National Center for Food Protection and Defense at the University of Minnesota.

  • The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense at Texas A&M University.

  • The Center for Behavioral and Social Research on Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism at the University of Maryland.
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