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Regional Innovation Forum-Asia (RIF-Asia)

APRU is partnering with the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN) and other like-minded organisations, institutions and networks to hold the first Regional Innovation Forum (RIF) this December in Bangkok, Thailand.

RFI – Asia is a creative forum to foster multi-sectoral partnerships to ‘solve the unsolved’ problems that are hindering disaster risk reduction (DRR) and humanitarian efforts in the Asia Region.

Dr Takako Izumi, Coordinator of the APRU Multi-Hazards Program, will be representing the association at the RIF-Asia taking place from December 6 - 7 in Bangkok.

Building on the recommendations from the first Asia Science Technology Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (ASTCDRR), Dr Izumi will be giving a keynote address on Academia’s role in the multi-stakeholder innovation. Increased dialogue and networking among scientists in the universities, policy makers, civil society and the media is imperative in developing innovative and user-friendly science-based solutions to reduce disaster risk.

The objectives of the upcoming forum in Bangkok are:
- To promote cross-sectoral collaboration on innovation work.
- To provide annual platform to various business, science, civil societies, UN, and other stakeholders in the region for sharing of their innovative ideas to solve the ‘unsolved’.
- To generate specific innovation projects, which can provide evidence based solutions, as concrete outcomes from the forum.
- To seek linkages of these innovative solutions to local/national disaster risk reduction plan and policies.

Click here for more information about the Regional Innovation Forum-Asia.

07 November 2016
Published in APRU News

Is your university ready to protect the lives of students, staff and faculty during an emergency?

News Release
For Immediate Release

Is your university ready to protect the lives of students, staff and faculty during an emergency?

Hong Kong, 6 September, 2016 – Is your university ready to protect the lives of students, staff and faculty during an emergency? Is your university capable of providing support to local governments and communities during such crises? These are the questions that the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ (APRU) Multi-Hazards (MH) Program aims to help universities with replying a resounding “yes”.

The APRU MH Program led from the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan and other member universities across the Asia-Pacific, are collaborating to build safer and more resilient societies on the ‘Ring of Fire’ which are susceptible to tsunami, floods, earthquakes and volcanic activity. Through education and research, the Multi-Hazards program has succeeded in enhancing disaster preparedness measures on campuses and improving dialogue with governments, industry and civil society.

At the 1st UNISDR Asia Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) the MH program’s strong recommendation to include the importance of disaster management plan by universities was adopted in the outcome paper. This policy document will be shared with policymakers at the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR 2016 in November to progress the campus safety agenda.

“This is great progress with a lot of potential to move the universities toward developing better disaster plans and training”, said Amy B. Aiken who is the Director at the Department of Emergency Management, Florida International University.

The success of the MH program’s efforts at the recent conference also reflects the growing importance of academia’s role in the science-policy interface. Dr Takako Izumi, APRU Multi-Hazards Program Coordinator, said, “there is no other organisation advocating and addressing the need for measures like we did. It highlights that the Multi-Hazards program is not only doing research but also has been actively involved in regional and international discussion and contributing to the implementation of the Sendai Framework”. 

The APRU Multi-Hazards Campus Safety Working Group consists of representatives from Chulalongkorn University, Florida International University, National University of Singapore, Osaka University, Tohoku University, University of Sydney and University of the Philippines.

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For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Pereira
Communications Manager, APRU
Tel: +852 3469 2550
Fax:  +852 2719 5756
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

06 October 2016
Published in APRU News

Ear to Asia

Ear to Asia is an exciting interview-style podcast (hosted by ABC broadcaster Sen Lam) which engages listeners in in-depth conversations with Asia Institute's academic staff and their research. From Japan to Turkey, from China to Indonesia, and to many places in between, Ear to Asia talks with researchers who focus on Asia -- in all its diversity of peoples, societies and histories.

Listen to the 'teaser' episode now and subscribe to hear all forthcoming episodes:

The Asia Institute is The University of Melbourne's key centre for studies in Asian languages and cultures. 
06 October 2016
Published in APRU News

Global Health distance education course is “LIVE!” again

(Photo: University of Southern California)

“Global Health LIVE!” is a graduate seminar for students from universities around the world, including USC, University of California, Irvine; National Taiwan University; and University of Tokyo. First offered in Fall 2015, the course extends global health theory to global health practice, and  features renowned global health leaders as guest lecturers to discuss their challenges and successes in the field. The course is taught by Drs. Shubha Kumar and Mellissa Withers.

Global Health LIVE! extends global health theory to global health practice. Over the course of 10 weeks students from universities around the world attend live sessions simultaneously for two hours via live video using Google Hangouts.

Past guest lecturers included Hans Rosling, Purnima Mane, Al Somer, Larry Gostin and more. Students interacted with the lecturers and each other in teams. One major assignment requires students to work in groups to create videos on global health leadership topics.  View the 2015 video projects »

Preventive Medicine 568: Ethical Issues in Global Health

Beginning in Fall 2016 a new online global health ethics course taught by Drs. Shubha Kumar and Mellissa Withers is bringing five APRU universities together for a virtual classroom experience in global health ethics. Students from USC, Osaka University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the University of the Philippines will participate simultaneously each week for 11 weeks. This online graduate-level seminar course will introduce students to some of the major ethical challenges in conducting global health research and practice using case studies on a range of topics including organ transplantation, clinical trials in developing countries, assisted reproductive technologies, and many more. Learn more »

15 September 2016
Published in APRU News

APRU Multi-Hazards Program Core Group contributes to the first UNISDR Asia Science and Technology Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

23-24 August 2016, Bangkok, Thailand

The 1st Asian Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction was organised by the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) of the Royal Thai Government and UNISDR Asia-Pacific office, in collaboration and support of Asian Science Technology and Academia Advisory Group (ASTAAG), Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) and other scientific organisations and networks.

This conference brought together key DRR policy-makers and representatives of key scientific organisations from Asian countries to discuss on strengthening the science-policy interface towards science based DRR policy development. APRU was represented by three Multi-Hazards Core Group members:


Prof. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Advisor to the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) spoke about “Integrated research bridging science and society through transdisciplinary approach”.


Prof. Supot Teachavorasinskun, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University shared his experience through his presentation “The impact of investment in disaster risk reduction based on the assessment on economic growth, safety and wellbeing of the general public”.


Dr Takako Izumi who is the APRU Multi-Hazards Program Coordinator and from the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University summarised the presentations and discussions made under Session 2 and reported to the audience. She also played a key role to the preparation of this conference from the initial stage as an ASTAAG member by sharing her inputs on the program, speakers and draft outcome document.

The key recommendations and messages from this two-day dialogue will feed in to the discussions at the succeeding Asian Science Conference in Bangkok and subsequently at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2016 in New Delhi.

15 September 2016
Published in APRU News

Research universities seek solutions for earthquake-prone Asia Pacific

New report reveals the impact of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities on the region’s greatest challenges
By Brad Fenwick, DVM, PhD

Anyone who has flown from the west coast of the United States to Asia knows the vast expanse of the Asia Pacific region. Rich in natural resources, it spans about a third of the Earth’s surface and is home to the world’s most influential economic centers as well as the 45 prestigious research institutions that make up the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).

During the past two decades, events of both natural and manmade origins have had devastating impacts on the region. Such tumult was the impetus behind the APRU Impact Report 2016, a comprehensive study of comparative data and case studies demonstrating the impact of the work of APRU’s member universities on their societies and the region’s challenges.

In-depth analysis in the 70-page report draws extensively on research metrics provided by Elsevier. It includes more than two dozen case studies and graphics about critical global issues such as health and infectious disease, investment in education and workforce readiness, environmental changes and disaster preparedness, population demographics, global religions, exports and trade.

The report’s findings were presented by APRU Secretary General Dr. Christopher Tremewan at the APRU Annual Presidents Meeting 2016 at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Mayasia. It is the first phase of a three-year pilot project intended to provide data and analysis of use to regional policymakers on ways to develop the region’s economies in a sustainable way.

One area of focus is the volatility of the region’s geologic composition, which has caused devastating tsunamis, floods and other natural disasters. It is estimated that 90 percent of all earthquakes occur along the “Ring of Fire,” where 75 percent of the Earth’s active volcanoes are located.

During the past decade, the region has incurred more than $1.7 trillion in economic damage affecting 2.9 billion people, according to estimates from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Much of the increasing impact of such disasters can be attributed to the region’s growing urbanization; it is home to some of the world’s most densely populated cities, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Taipei. The Philippines, with its capital city Manila, is often regarded as the most densely populated city in the world with 41,515 people per square kilometer, and has been identified as the most at-risk nation on the planet by the United Nations. Safer and more resilient infrastructure and more effective early warning systems will be key to minimizing the impact of future catastrophes upon the area’s inhabitants, according to the impact report.

Several APRU universities are collaborating on ways to mitigate the impact of such disasters as part of the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). For example, a partnership between Tohoku University, National Taiwan University and the University of California’s Davis and Irvine campuses has resulted in an operational prototype of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) early warning system for tsunamis. Deployment of additional GNSS stations and satellites at test locations on the Pacific Rim support the development of data sharing agreements among partners. The report details research case studies from Tohoku University, University of the Philippines, The University of Hawaii at Manoa, UC Davis and the University of Malaya on how the Multi-Hazards program has succeeded in enhancing disaster preparedness by improving critical dialogue between research communities, area governments, industry and civil society. They are focusing on developing disaster risk assessment methodologies and models and using traditional, indigenous and local knowledge and practices to complement scientific knowledge.

The area’s challenges are expected to grow during the 21st century as greater demands are made on the region’s environment and limited resources, but those involved hope that enhanced cooperation and collaboration among the region’s universities will continue to lead to solutions. “No single nation can solve the cross-border issues that confront them,” said Dr. Tremewan. “The value of international collaboration is crucial, and APRU is an ideal platform to facilitate the interdisciplinary research and partnerships required to find solutions to critical challenges facing the region.”

- Elsevier Connect

12 September 2016
Published in APRU News