National Knowledge and Research Center for Emergency Readiness - Social Science

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Social Science group

Head: Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, University of Haifa

The social science group is a very interdisciplinary collection of researchers which includes human, political and physical geography (geomorphology and fluvial geomorphology, geology, geophysics, climatology) and its interface (i.e. environmental history); communications; political science and international relations (including national security), and  psychology and economics. GIS and Remote Sensing researchers are part of the group and will offer their methodological tools to the work of other groups as well.

Intergroup social science areas designated for active research include: Israel defense policy, international security and arms control transfer, and innovation systems for defense laboratories;  improved understanding of atmospheric and geologic hazards and their relationship with the physical, biological, and social environments; geopolitical and geostrategic impacts of emergency management; GIS and Remote Sensing as a means to assess and communicate hazards; the financial impacts of hurricanes and floods; effective and efficient management of coastal erosion; the relationships between human behavior, land use, and natural hazards; individual behavior, community projects, and government policies for mitigating and managing disaster risks; economic valuation of risk-reducing public and private projects; individual and household evacuation decisions, and communications of emergency events, pre, post and during.

Specific research areas of group members include:

  • Threats and challenges to the administration of modern democracies in times of major risks and rapid global changes  - political, economic, natural and technological. The Center for Public Management and Policy at the University of Haifa has conducted the largest national longitudinal survey/study of public sector performance and trust in government over the last 17 years, and its interpretation is highly relevant to the group research agenda.
  • The National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa has conducted large scale annual surveys on national resilience in Israel over the last 17 years. Research will focus on the subjective features of national resilience.
  • The Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy and the Reuven Chaikin Geostrategic Center look at questions relating to international security and defense.
  • Modern terrorism and the mass media.
  • Communication mediums and effectiveness for emergency information dissemination. 
  • Group members from the International Research Collaborative on Anxiety will examine the psychological processes that engender and maintain prevalent forms of mental suffering including anxiety, depression, fear, and distress in the context of disaster and emergency situations with the aim of therapeutically targeting the suffering.
  • Examination of the impacts of continuity of school-based learning during emergency situations and how this relates to post-traumatic growth.
  • Integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
  • Land use planning for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change.
  • Building resilience in the built, natural and social environment.
  • Tourism crises and disaster management.
  • Vulnerability and capacity assessment (community mapping for disaster risk reduction and recovery).
  • Social network analysis for disaster governance, risk reduction and resilience.
  • Post disaster assessment methodologies for response and recovery.
  • Finance and behavioral economics with regard to both the mitigation and the recovery stages