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Thursday, August 2, 2012

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Visiting Scholar to Join Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative Next Year

A researcher with worldwide expertise on the impact of planning policy on coastal vulnerability and insurance risk will be a visiting scholar at Old Dominion next spring.

Diane Horn, professor with the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies at the University of London’s Birkbeck College, will fly across the Atlantic to work as a visiting scholar with Old Dominion’s Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI).

From May 1 to June 15, 2013, Horn will work with Michael McShane, assistant professor of finance and co-director of the Emergent Risk Initiative at ODU (ERI@ODU), which is doing pioneering cross-disciplinary research on risk management.

McShane, who sought the visiting scholar position for Horn, said she would be an ideal collaborator in investigating the important, but under-researched relation between insurance and climate change.

“London is the insurance capital of the world, and she has made contacts and gotten funding from some of the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance firms, insurance brokers and catastrophe modeling companies,” McShane said. “These firms have an intense interest in climate change research and other emerging risks.”

McShane said ODU could benefit by making these firms aware of the multidisciplinary climate change and sea level rise research being done here.

He plans to collaborate with Horn on her research involving the application of science to coastal management and policy. The role of insurance in adaptation to climate change will be a primary focus of their joint scholarship.

The researchers will team up to look at how insurance can help reduce the financial impact of flood risk when development occurs in flood-hazard areas, and do a comparative study of U.S. and U.K. flood insurance and future flood insurance approaches.

ODU’s Emergent Risk Initiative envisions the creation of the next-generation body of knowledge in risk management for current and future systems and organizations characterized by uncertainty, emergence, complexity and interdependence.

The university’s Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative is a multidisciplinary effort that focuses related expertise from all of its six colleges on the challenges an urban coastal community faces from climate change and rising sea levels, and includes collaboration with government, industry and other academic partners.

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