UD’s Disaster Research Center awarded $16.5 million to study interplay between resilience, equity and economic prosperity

The Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware has been awarded $16.5 million from the National Science Foundation to lead a multi-institutional effort exploring the tension and tradeoffs between a community’s goals of managing hurricane risk while also achieving equity and economic prosperity.

The UD-led hub — Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity and Resilience (CHEER) — is one of five NSF-funded projects announced recently as part of the agency’s Coastlines and People program, which is infusing $51 million in research funding to protect the natural, social and economic resources of U.S. coasts, and to help create more resilient coastal communities.

The work will require intense input from public policy, sociology, meteorology, engineering and other disciplines.

“The Disaster Research Center at UD has a long and successful track record of interdisciplinary research, analysis and problem-solving focused on some of society’s most complex challenges, so it is fitting that they will lead this latest effort,” UD President Dennis Assanis said. “Through collaboration with institutions nationwide, the CHEER hub will help make coastal communities more resilient in the face of growing threats from climate change.”

The five-year project will be led by Rachel Davidson, a core DRC faculty member and UD professor of civil and environmental engineering. Co-principal investigators include Sarah DeYoung, core DRC faculty member and associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at UD; Linda Nozick, professor and director of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University; Brian Colle, professor and division head of atmospheric sciences at Stony Brook University; and Meghan Millea, professor of economics at East Carolina University.

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