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COPE Research Themes

Each year COPE selects a research theme relevant to the current and planned activities of scholars and researchers working within the COPE network. The themes are implemented on a rolling basis and provide COPE members to collaborate internally as well as with external experts/institutions in an interdisciplinary environment on grant applications, special issues and research projects around focused research topics. For more information about the running themes, or if you wish to become actively involved in the activities under a particular theme, please contact the research theme coordinator.

Integrating Technology into Disaster Risk Management

Technology plays a crucial role in all disaster event types and phases. From weather monitoring and early warning systems to the application of communication technologies, geospatial data and the harnessing of crowdsourced data from social media platforms, the tools and processes at our disposal for managing disasters are only growing. This theme explores the interfaces and interactions among societies and technology for disaster risk management, and assesses the ongoing impacts of these developments.
Research in this theme is focused, in particular, on the socio-cultural and governance implications of the application of technology in disasters, and aims to generate outputs which may be used to produce more disaster-resilient societies.
Specific activities taking place around this theme include:

  • Examination and assessment of the impacts of crowd sourcing and social media technologies on risk perceptions and disaster risk management practices. We collaborate with research institutions, first responder networks and local public authorities in Denmark and around Europe to evaluate best practices and provide evidence based recommendations for effective governance strategies
  • Research on remote sensing and geospatial based technologies, in particular in the areas of 1) food and resource economics 2) drone applications in emergency management and 3) international governance of satellite remote sensing for disaster management
  • Examination of the legal and policy aspects of risks posed by technologies in conflicts and humanitarian crises

Activities within the research theme are undertaken by scholars from Copenhagen Business School, University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark and Roskilde University.

Research Theme Coordinator: Postdoc, Nathan Edward Clark

Related Publications:

Albris, K., (2018). Disaster Governance and the Rise of Social Media: Ethnographic Perspectives from Germany. Governance of Risk, Hazards and Disasters: Trends in Theory and Practice. editor / Giuseppe Forino ; Sara Bonati ; Lina M. Calandra. Oxon : Routledge.

Albris, K., (2018). The switchboard mechanism : How social media connected citizens during the 2013 floods in Dresden. In: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

Bjerge B., Clark N., Fisker P., Raju E., (2016). Technology and Information Sharing in Disaster Relief. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0161783. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161783. September.

Clark, N., (2017). International Governance for Satellite Earth Observation in Disaster Response: Exploring Legal and Operational Dynamics. København : Det Juridiske Falkutet, 331 p.

Disaster Risk Governance

Modern disaster risk management has become increasingly complex from local to global levels. Economic growth, new regional and global platforms, and an increasing awareness of disasters and climate change are some of the changes affecting the composition and interplays between stakeholders. Overall this presents disaster responders with the challenges of varied interests, objectives, functions and responsibilities among actors in unplanned constellations of disasters. Moving beyond governments, disaster risk management today is faced with governance challenges.

This research theme focuses on unpacking various governance challenges and exploring new forms of mechanisms to address disaster risk:

  • From local to global- disaster governance alternatives
  • Sendai framework and governance
  • Institutions and institutional convergence for disaster governance
  • Climate change adaptation governance and similarities for disaster risk governance
  • Disaster risk reduction and governance

Research Theme Coordinator: Assistant Professor, Emmanuel Raju

Current Research Grant: Enhancing Synergies for Disaster Prevention in the European Union (ESPRESSO), European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, coordination and support action: DRS-2015

Related Publications:

Rolsted, M & Raju, E 2019, Addressing Capacities of Local Communities in a Changing Context in Nepal. in 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.UNISDR.

da Costa, K., Raju, E., (2018). Governance in the Sendai: A Way Ahead?, Disaster Prevention and Management.

Albris, K, Lauta, KC & Raju, E 2017, Overcoming obstacles for disaster prevention: Challenges and best practices from the EU and beyond (Deliverable 2.2). Enhancing Synergies for disaster Prevention in the EurOpean Union (ESPREssO).

Coetzee, C., VanNiekerk, D., Raju, E., (2016) Disaster Resilience and Complex Adaptive Systems Theory- Finding Common Grounds for Risk Reduction, Disaster Prevention and Management, vol 25, no. 2, pp. 196-211.

Arctic Offshore Emergencies

Emerging technologies and climate changes allow for an expansion of cruise tourism, shipping and exploration for natural resources in Arctic and Antarctica. The growth in human activities in these regions promotes new uncertainties due to hazards, such as extreme weather, remote and sparsely populated locations, uncharted waters, as well as lack of social and physical infrastructures.

The research theme focuses on the emerging challenges regarding prevention of, responding to, and recovering from offshore emergencies in Arctic and Antarctica. In particular, current activities in the theme focus on:

  • Examination of modes of imagining, discovering and reacting to Arctic offshore hazards and vulnerabilities. We undertake empirical studies, including on-site observations of the planning, execution and evaluation, of exercises, organized and performed by military and public authorities operating in the Arctic, for example, the Arctic Command of the Danish Defence (JACO) and the Icelandic Coast Guard, as well as trade associations, such as the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). Such exercises may have the form of Search and Rescue Exercises (SAREX) and Table Top Exercises (TTX)
  • Examination and assessment of existing modes of organizational learning and knowledge capturing from emergency exercises. We undertake review of literature on exercises published in leading disaster and safety management journals, as well as in general organization and management journals. Also, we perform desk studies of reports and evaluations, produced by authorities and associations organizing such exercises

Activities within the research theme are undertaken by scholars from Copenhagen Business School, Royal Danish Defence College, University of Copenhagen, and University of Trento.

Research Theme Coordinator: Professor, Ph.D., Morten Thanning Vendelø Current

Research Grant: Nordic Center of Excellence in Resilience and Societal Security (NORDRESS) WP 5.4 – Arctic Offshore Challenges (2015-2019).

Related Publications:

Lauta, K. C., Vendelø, M. T., Sørensen, B. R., & Dahlberg, R. (in press) Conceptualizing Cold Disasters: Disaster Risk Governance at the Arctic Edge. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, pp. 1-7.

Dahlberg, R., & Vendelø, M. T. (in progress) Temporal Interorganizational Collaboration. Surviving Fragmented Sensemaking. Accepted for presentation at the 34th EGOS Colloquium in Tallinn, July 5.-7. 2018, Subtheme 16: Collaborating across Organizational Boundaries: Dealing with Surprises in Distributed Settings.

Cholera and Disasters

Despite of being one of the oldest known diseases, cholera still plays an active part in many emergencies and even though it is relative easy to cure, it is still one of the main communicable disease killers. From our common John Snow legacy (= cholera is mainly transmitted with drinking water), the humanitarian community have established guidelines and procedures on how to handle cholera outbreaks. Knowing that cholera prevention/interventions strategies puts a great logistical constrain (manpower and funding) on a relief operation, it is important that we know the relative importance of transmission routes to avoid interventions based undocumented fear or perceived importance of transmission routes.

This research theme focus on the following:

  • Establish the relative importance of different cholera transmission routes
  • Investigate historic outbreaks to develop/verify transmission theories
  • Investigate the role of fear and perceptions influence on cholera prevention strategies in disasters
  • Develop innovative solutions, particularly through engineering and architecture, to prevent/minimize cholera outbreaks

Research Theme Coordinator: Associate Professor Peter Kjær Mackie Jensen

Selected Related Publications:

Rieckmann, A. Tamason, C. Gurley, E; Rod, N. and Jensen, PKM (2018) Exploring droughts and floods and their association with cholera outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa: a register-based ecological study from 1990 to 2010. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 98(5):1269-1274. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0778

Phelps, MD. Perner, M. Pitzer, V. Andersen, V. Jensen, PKM and Simonsen, l. (2017)"Cholera epidemics of the past offer new insights into an old enemy." Journal of Infectious Diseases. jix602, doi:10.1093/infdis/jix60

Phelps, MD. Azman, AS. Lewrand, JA. Antillion, M. Simonsen, l. Andersen, V. Jensen, PKM. Pitzer, V. (2017). "The importance of thinking beyond the water-supply in cholera epidemics: A historical urban case-study." PLoS neglected tropical diseases 11.11: e0006103.

Ferdous, J. Sultana, R. Rashid, RB. Tasnimuzzaman, Md.; Nordland, A. Begum, A. Jensen, PKM. (2018) A Comparative Analysis of Vibrio cholerae Contamination in Point-of-Drinking and Source Water in a Low-Income Urban Community, Bangladesh. / Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 9, 03.2018.

Hossain, Z. Z. Ferdous, J. Tulsiani, S. Jensen, PKM. and Begum A. (2018).Toxigenic and transmission potential of Vibrio cholerae in Hilsha (Tenualosa ilisha) for human consumption in Bangladesh. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:222. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00222
CC Tamason, S Tulsiani, BA Hoque, A Siddique, PKM Jensen. (2016) What is cholera? A preliminary study on care takers knowledge in Bangladesh. Jour of Health Population and Nutrition, Vol. 35, No. 3,

Grant, S. L., Tamason, CC. & Jensen, PKM. (2015) Climatization: A critical perspective of framing disasters as climate change events. Climate Risk Management. 10, s. 27-34 8 s.

The Cultural Life of Climate Change

The ongoing climate change, or climate disaster, is ubiquitous in contemporary human life. It impacts not only the political and ethical spheres, but also the cultural constructions of meaning in the fields of art, philosophy, and religion. Understanding the basic narrative and affective frameworks that determine contemporary perceptions of climate change is critical for understanding our present situation, and not least for imagining technical and political solutions.

This research cluster investigates the cultural forms that arise along the edges of climate change, e.g.:

  • Climate fiction
  • Narratives of the apocalypse
  • Ethics in a climate age
  • Philosophies and theologies of nature

Research Theme Coordinator: Postdoc, Mikkel Gabriel Christoffersen

Related Publications:

Christoffersen, Mikkel Gabriel. 2019. Living with Risk and Danger: Studies in Interdisciplinary Systematic Theology. Forschungen zur Systematischen und Ökumenischen Theologie. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.

Gregersen, Niels Henrik. 2015. “Theology and Disaster Studies: From ‘Acts of God’ to Divine Presence”. I Disaster Research: Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives, redigeret af Morten Thanning Vendelø, Oliver Rubin, og Rasmus Dahlberg, 34–48. Routledge Humanitarian Series. London/New York: Routledge

Holm, Isak Winkel. 2015. "Making sense of disaster: The cultural studies of disaster", with Peer Illner. I Disaster Research: Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives, redigeret af Morten Thanning Vendelø, Oliver Rubin, og Rasmus Dahlberg, 34–48. Routledge Humanitarian Series. London/New York: Routledge

COPE Research Projects

COPE's past and ongoing disaster research projects include:

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