Is Our Research at Risk?

Helping academic research institutions prepare for disasters

Recommended Reading: Emory's Alex Isakov led the change to help research institutions protect their assets from disaster.
Kay Hinton

With more than $27 billion in assets and investments at risk, the academic biomedical research community should improve its ability to mitigate and recover from the impacts of disasters, from such natural phenomena as recent hurricanes to cyberattacks.

Alex Isakov, executive director of Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, helped to author a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine showing that investments of the US federal government and other research sponsors are not uniformly secure and recommends ten steps that academic research institutions, researchers, and research sponsors should take to bolster the resilience of academic biomedical research.

For example, academic research institutions should implement mandatory disaster resilience education for research students, staff, and faculty. And the National Institutes of Health should convene a consortium of stakeholders to discuss efforts research sponsors can take to enhance the disaster resilience of the biomedical research enterprise.

The report was authored by a committee that includes representatives from research universities, medical centers, public health organizations, laboratories, and engineering and informatics organizations.

“Convening this group of national experts to carefully consider and report on these important security issues is a critical step in protecting our nation’s investment in biomedical research and our ability to continue our future work and safeguard our personnel and resources,” Isakov says.

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