Disaster management has emerged as a serious career option with the potential to take workers to all parts of the world. It is also an area where Australia is an acknowledged world leader.

“There is a whole range of important jobs being created in this area, with acute demand in Asia,” Associate Professor Anne Tiernan from Griffith Business School says.

Not only is she upbeat about the job prospects opening up in disaster and crisis management, but she is also excited about the part Griffith University is playing in “fostering cross-disciplinary skills and expertise to meet this new demand”.

She says the world, and in particular the Asia Pacific region, is increasingly vulnerable to unexpected shocks, severe crises and disaster situations, not least because of climate change.

“This includes working across the phases of disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery,” Associate Professor Tiernan says.

“An effective response requires collaboration between governments, businesses, communities and individuals, and coordination among professionals and volunteers. This spans a broad spectrum from police and emergency services, to health and community workers, policy advisers, communications and social media, to humanitarian and other non-government organisations.”

Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations has introduced two honours scholarships in Disaster and Crisis Management, starting in 2013. Disaster management has also been added as a specialisation in the Master of Public Administration program from Semester 2 2013.

Associate Professor Tiernan says Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations is building an impressive platform for students interested in many different facets of crises and disasters.

“We have a very strong long-term relationship with the State and local governments in Queensland, as well as with policy-makers and front-line providers across the disaster management system in Australia and New Zealand.

“This was very much in evidence in the immediate wake of the floods when we started a major collaboration aimed at capturing government agencies’ experience of the flood and cyclone events of the summer 2010-11 and the lessons learned.”

The connection typifies the efforts at the School of Government and International Relations to build a body of evidence to inform its programs and courses. This approach has taken Anne Tiernan to Christchurch, China and Japan in 2012 — locations that have recently experienced natural disaster events – to build relationships and share what has been learned from the Australian experience.

“There are Australians improving government capacity to manage disasters all over the world. We have a knowledge and expertise that is internationally recognised and sought after.”

The scholarships in Disaster and Crisis Management are open to graduates from a variety of disciplines, including the Bachelor of Government and International Relations.

Former Director-General of the Department of Community Safety, Professor Jim McGowan, AM, an expert in disaster and crisis management and the allocation of government resources to recovery projects, is part of the School of Government and International Relations team.