Skip to main content

EPFLx: A Resilient Future: Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction

Discover how science and technology help us reduce disaster risk and increase resilience.

7 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

8,107 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Apr 12

About this course

Skip About this course

This course aims to introduce participants to existing and emerging technologies suitable for disaster risk reduction while promoting the overall aim of sustainable development. The course focuses on three main natural hazards- floods, landslides and earthquakes. It also discusses the challenges and limits of adapting and adopting technologies depending on context (Global North and Global South) with examples from Switzerland, Nepal, Colombia, Philippines and other countries.

Image: “Earthquake in Nepal” by Asian Development Bank ( is licensed under BY-NC-ND 2.0 (permission granted 18 January 2016)

At a glance

  • Institution: EPFLx
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:
    • University degree or equivalent.
    • Background in engineering, environmental sciences, architecture, geography, anthropology, international relations or any curriculum sharing a global perspective. This list is not exhaustive. We encourage people of all disciplines and backgrounds to join.
    • Motivation, persistence, and interest in learning about disaster risk reduction.
    • Notions of statistics and calculus may help participants to better understand some concepts and equations used in somevideos; however, these equations are not key to the success in the course.
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, Français
  • Associated skills:Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development, Emerging Technologies, Resilience

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) related concepts and science and technology for DRR.
  • Identify and describe existing and emerging technologies for landslide and flood reduction.
  • Explain methodological tools to assess vulnerabilities and risk and strengthen the resilience of communities at risk of landslides, floods and earthquakes.
  • Exemplify the role and the challenges of science and technological innovations for disaster risk reductionin an interdisciplinary manner including the importance of social aspects.
  • Recognize some of the actors active in DRR and international policy frameworks and technology for DRR.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction and Science and Technology for DRR
Introduction to basic DRR concepts such as hazard, disaster, vulnerability, risk, capacity and resilience, and to define what is science and technology for DRR.

Chapter2: Science and Technology for Risk Assessment
Presentation of tools and technologies that can help complete hazard, vulnerability, and risk assessments.

Chapter3: Science and Technology for Prevention
Presentation of examples of technologies and structural measures that help to prevent and mitigate risks, the non-structural aspects of prevention, including actors and governance with a science and technology linkage, and case studies that show non-structural science, tools and technology application.

Chapter 4: Science and Technology for Early-Warning and Preparedness

Introduction to early-warning systems and examples of preparedness actions, and discussions on appropriate technologies for preparedness.

Chapter 5: Science and Technology for Disaster Response and Emergency Relief
Introduction to technologies that are used when a disaster strikes and in its immediate aftermath, and show how technologies such as robotics (e.g. UAVs) and ICT can help indisaster response.

Chapter 6: Science and Technology for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction
Introduction to technologies that can allow the assessment of the damages and presentation oftechnologies that could help to “build-back better.”

Chapter 7: Science and Technology for Resilience and Sustainable Development
Presentation on how science and technologycan help the international, national and local levels to become more resilient against disasters and examples of how science and technology for DRR help to increase resilience. Introduction of risk as an engine for development and general constraints and opportunities on the use of technology for DRR, resilience and sustainable development.

Learner testimonials

Skip Learner testimonials

"I haven't looked at all the materials yet but from what I see this is a great accessible collection of learning resources covering a range of levels of ability and experience. Materials can help to clarify lots of confusion and gaps in understanding on DRR and the technicality of some aspects. Well worth exploring."-- Previous Learner

Interested in this course for your business or team?

Train your employees in the most in-demand topics, with edX For Business.