UB, CUBRC Partners in New Homeland Security Center

Release Date: December 7, 2005 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo and CUBRC will serve as major collaborating partners in a new $15 million Homeland Security Center of Excellence to be established at The Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced this week at JHU in Baltimore.

The Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response -- the fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence established since 9/11 -- will study how the nation can best prepare for, and respond to, potential large-scale incidents and disasters.

Led by JHU, the UB/CUBRC team will be among a consortium of seven major partners contributing to the center's research. The Department of Homeland Security anticipates providing JHU and its partners with a total of $15 million over the next three years. The UB/CUBRC team anticipates receiving approximately $1.5 million.

Research areas to be addressed by the center will include deterrence, prevention, preparedness and response to catastrophic events, including issues such as risk assessment, decision-making, infrastructure integrity, surge capacity and sensor networks.

CUBRC's research contribution, working primarily with the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, will focus on disaster management for biological and chemical events, as well as the development of information fusion-based systems for disaster mitigation and response, according to Michael D. Moskal, principal engineer at CUBRC, who will serve as lead investigator for the UB/CUBRC team and also will serve as a member of the center's management board.

"Our collaboration with Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response puts UB and CUBRC at the forefront of research addressing the major problems that are facing our country and positions our team to become one of the preeminent research organizations in the country focusing on preparedness and response to catastrophic events," said Moskal, who was in Baltimore to participate in the announcement at JHU. "Using our country's experience in responding to Hurricane Katrina as an example, we will be conducting research to help make sure that U.S. preparedness and response to events of this magnitude can be as effective and rapid as possible.

"CUBRC is thrilled to be partnered with UB as part of this new center," Moskal added, "and we look forward to many more collaborations of this type that utilize the combined strength of the unique resources we have right here in Western New York to address major challenges facing our country."

Several other UB researchers also will contribute to the center's research and will lead research in several specialty areas. Ann Bisantz, associate professor of industrial engineering, is principal investigator for human factors research. Michel Bruneau, director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at UB, is principal investigator for critical infrastructure-related issues. Moises Sudit, managing director of the Center for Multisource Information Fusion, is principal investigator for information fusion research.

Bruce Holm, UB vice provost and executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, said UB's participation in the center at JHU complements UB 2020, UB's strategic planning process. UB 2020 has identified "Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response" as one of UB's 10 strategic strengths, representing areas across the disciplines where UB has the best opportunities to build academic excellence and achieve significant academic prominence and recognition.

"UB's participation in the Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response, as well its own ongoing research in extreme events, positions the university to become a national leader in disaster response and mitigation within the next five years," Holm said.

UB researchers from the Department of Geology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering and Department of Computer Science and Engineering also will contribute to the new center, Holm noted.

Secretary Chertoff, in a statement released by JHU, said "Johns Hopkins University has assembled and will lead a talented and deeply experienced team of professionals from institutions across the country.

"Together they will help DHS strengthen the nation's ability to prevent and, where necessary, effectively manage high-consequence disasters or terrorist attacks."

In addition to UB, the other major collaborators in the Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response include the Florida State Universities Consortium on Homeland Security, University of Alabama, Morgan State University, the American Red Cross, the Brookings Institute and the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Technology Alliance (CBRTA). Eleven additional affiliated participants also will contribute to the center's efforts.

The Centers of Excellence, overseen by the Office of University Programs within the Homeland Security Science & Technology directorate, establish a network of university-based centers that conduct multi-disciplinary research and develop innovative educational programs. Through this initiative, the Department of Homeland Security and partner universities focus the nation's most talented researchers on homeland security issues.

CUBRC (formally known as Calspan-UB Research Center) is a not-for-profit company headquartered in Buffalo whose mission is to bring together scientists and engineers from its own staff, academia and industry that form multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish project research and development objectives.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

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