Developing novel methodologies and tools for building resilience into critical infrastructure systems
Building Resilience Into Risk Management (BRIM) is a collaborative EPSRC-funded research project (EPSRC Grand Challenge Network). In partnership with the universities of Exeter and Loughborough, we aim to better understand the potential catalogue of errors in infrastructures that can result in efficiencies, damage, collapse and tragedy.
Cranfield University is helping to run the network. Our role will be to identify key contacts interested in participating; this includes Government, universities, industries, research organisations, local community and national trusts. In addition to this we will be organising workshops, developing questionnaires, gathering feedback and reporting to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Impact and importance of BRIM
Examples of recent catastrophic disasters that could have benefitted from better resilience include:
- 2013-14 UK winter flooding (costing an estimated £1.3b),
- Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident (costing an estimated £82b),
- Deepwater Horizon oil spill (costing an estimated £50b - subscription required to access),
- Hurricane Sandy (costing an estimated £53b).
The impacts of these all reach well beyond the immediate, direct structural, environmental, financial and health risks. In a complex system, a localised initial failure may quickly spread to other systems and create 'hyper-risks' or 'networked risks' through 'networks of networks', and cause unpredictable failures in other economic or social networks.
Classical quantitative and qualitative risk management frameworks are inadequate for emerging and unforeseen threats. More specifically, they cannot handle the uncertainties of low-probability and high-consequence events and of their impacts on environmental, economic and social systems due to high interdependencies between complex systems.
This project will develop a shared, multi-disciplinary vision of how to build resilience into networked risk management for highly complex engineered systems. It will address the challenges in understanding complex interdependencies, cascade effects, and the tipping points of engineered systems. The project will also engage the community to develop a double helix framework that integrates risk and resilience analysis for complex systems management.