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Introduction to Natural Disaster Science

6 September - 28 October 2011

This course is given by the research school for natural disaster science, composed by the two parts SENDIM and CANDIM and aims to provide an introduction to natural disasters research with a focus on the various scientific disciplines of the CNDS partner institutions. In addition to covering natural disaster phenomena and the various disaster phases, the course will address the possibilities and challenges for cross-disciplinary collaboration. Throughout the course, students will hone their skills in making oral and written presentations of the literature and their own work.

Course Goals

Upon completion of the course students should:

• have a solid understanding of cross-disciplinary scientific research concerned with natural disasters.

• be aware of the research frontiers and trends as well as the complications and research challenges of the different scientific disciplines represented in CNDS.

• have a common knowledge-base to better enable cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration.

• be able to participate in cross-disciplinary research projects related to natural disasters and the other activities outlined in the CNDS science plan.

The course syllabus, which e.g. clarifies the credits of the course and requirements for passing the course, can be found here.


The course focuses on four general themes, introducing various topics and areas of research within natural disaster science, including:

(1) Introduction to natural disaster science;

(2) Phenomena, Risks and Disaster Preparedness;

(3) Crisis Management: leadership, collaboration, communication;

(4) Learning and recovery – accountability and lesson-drawing.

The schedule of the course is likely to be modified during the autumn. To find the latest version, click here!


The course consists of a mix of seminars, lectures, and cross-disciplinary group work.

The literature list is gradually updated and you find the latest version here!

The course takes place at several locations in Uppsala. If you are not familiar with them, click here for directions.

The course is based on the students' active participation, primarily in the seminars. There are two seminar groups, each one led by a social scientist and a natural scientist. You can find instructions here.


CNDS, Centre for Natural Disaster Science, is a national knowledge-centre for natural disasters, a joint initiative by Uppsala university, Karlstad university and the Swedish National Defence College.

Uppsala University logotype Karlstad University logotype National Defence College logotype


Objectives of CNDS

- To develop tools for conducting negotiations and formulating treaties, which can effectively tackle and help prevent natural disasters.

- To improve management of natural disasters by an increased understanding of their reasons (incl. socio-cultural and human behaviour).

- To improve information handling and know-how on warning, decision, and other support systems in natural-disaster management.

- To develop infrastructure that is robust in case of natural disasters, e.g., autonomous, secure, and robust energy generation, and information and communication technology.


Goals of CNDS

- To become one of the most well-respected centres for natural-disaster science in the world.

- To provide well-trained personnel to our stakeholders.

- To improve Swedish and European natural-disaster databases.

- To provide a better understanding from the in-situ research opportunities in Central America that can improve policies and crisis management of Swedish/international stakeholders.

- To create commercial benefits for Swedish industry by reducing vulnerability and improving its products robustness.