Malalgoda, Chamindi, Amaratunga, Dilanthi, Haigh, Richard, Keraminiyage, Kaushal and Weeresinghe, S. (2016) Professional education in disaster resilience in the built environment. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Resilience and Reconstruction (IIIRR). IIIRR, pp. 167-175. ISBN 978-955-589-210-1

Disasters continue to take a heavy toll on many communities around the world. It is critical to anticipate, plan for and reduce disaster risk in order to more effectively protect people, communities, their livelihoods, health, cultural heritage, socioeconomic assets and ecosystems, and thus strengthen their resilience. Professionals responsible for the built environment have a vital role to play in developing societal resilience to disasters. The protective characteristics of the built environment offer an important means by which humanity can reduce the risk posed by hazards, thereby preventing a disaster. Conversely, post-disaster, the loss of critical buildings and infrastructure can greatly increase a community’s vulnerability to hazards in the future. The consequences outlined above serve to underline and support the growing recognition that those responsible for the built environment (BE) have a vital role to play in developing societal resilience to disasters. With the increase in occurrence of high impact disasters, the role of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in enhancing the disaster related knowledge and skills of BE professionals is highly recognised. Doctoral education is identified as one of the methods in upgrading the knowledge of the BE professionals in this regard. Due to the shortcomings of the traditional doctoral programmes in addressing the needs of the industry and professionals, professional doctorates have become increasingly recognised. Most of the professional doctorates target practicing professionals and aim to integrate professional and academic knowledge in the selected discipline. However, professional doctoral concept is not popular in some parts of the world and not integrated within their higher education system. In recognition of these challenges, a EU funded project, CADRE (Collaborative Action towards Disaster Resilience Education) identifies knowledge gaps and develops an innovative professional doctoral programme (DProf) that integrates professional and academic knowledge in the construction industry to develop societal resilience to disasters. Accordingly, the aim of the paper is to present the DProf framework developed as part of this study and to investigate its applicability to developing societal resilience to disasters.

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