York University Has Leading Researchers Tackling Disaster & Emergency Management

Whether environment, biological, or cyber-security related, York University is tackling disaster and emergency management challenges through the advancement of multidisciplinary research and teaching, and collaborative initiatives such as working groups and global partnerships that address the urgent needs and interests of industry and government bodies.

York students are well-equipped to become leaders in tackling real-world problems through the University’s Disaster and Emergency Management program, a one-of a kind program in Canada offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Through real-life applications and education, York University is empowering the next generation to create positive change by managing future challenges that will affect us all.

Research initiatives and training centres


York Emergency Mitigation, Engagement, Response and Governance Institute (Y-EMERGE), brings together a wide variety of disciplines, including mathematical modelling, artificial intelligence and more, building on York’s exceptional expertise to develop, grow, and sustain transformative and multidisciplinary research and teaching in transformative disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.

First in Canada CIFAL training centre

CIFAL York is part of UNITAR's global network of training centers for knowledge-sharing, training, and capacity-building for leaders, local authorities, and civil society. Established in 2020 as a partnership between UNITAR, York University and York Region, CIFAL York started its operation in June 2021 as the first CIFAL Centre in Canada.

ADERSIM Simulation Training

Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM) projects/partnership address the urgent needs of and interests of the industry, government and non-governmental partners in disaster and emergency management research and training.

Meet some of our leading researchers and earn a digital badge

Eric Kennedy is an associate professor in York University’s Disaster & Emergency Management program in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). His research focuses on how to: improve decision-making in emergency contexts; enhance disaster training; create better policies for preventing and responding to emergencies; and improving research and evaluation methods in disaster contexts.

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Usman Khan is an associate professor of civil engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering. His research interests lie in water resources engineering, focusing on urban hydrology, including flood risk assessment and uncertainty analysis, sustainable water resource management and infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change on these systems. Khan specializes in developing novel machine learning and artificial intelligence methods for various engineering applications. The role of civil engineering in creating vibrant, liveable and sustainable cities is a strong motivator for Khan. He is committed to using his professional practice to meet the challenges that face the urban environment. 

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Sapna Sharma is an associate professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, at York University. Her research highlights how lakes worldwide respond to climate change, including rapid ice loss, warming water temperatures, degrading water quality, and changing fish distributions. Her research has led to an induction into the Royal Society of Canada – College of New Scholars, she has been named one of Canada’s Top 10 Women Water Scientists, she has earned the prestigious Ontario Government Early Researcher Award and York University President’s Emerging Research Leadership Award. She is a dedicated science communicator and is the founder of SEEDS, an outreach program for refugees. For her commitment to science outreach, she was invited to serve as vice-chair for the Royal Canadian Institute for Science and awarded the Canadian Council of University Biology Chairs Science Promotion Prize.

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