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UAlbany's Center for Policy Research Receives NSF Grant to Study Flood Disasters

Contact: Michael Parker (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 22, 2004) --The University at Albany's Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and its Center for Policy Research has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to study flood hazard mitigation. The awards go to Thomas Birkland, the director of the Center for Policy Research, and George Richardson, the chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy. Michael Deegan, a doctoral candidate in Public Administration and Policy, assisted with the proposal will be a member of the research team.

The study will apply an analytic tool known as system dynamics to understand the complex relationships between various people, organizations, and levels of government that often argue about what should be the best way to reduce losses of life and property damage from floods.

“The application of system dynamic tools to the study of natural hazards policy making is quite unusual,” said Birkland. “If successful, we will extend this study to other sorts of natural and humanly caused disasters, such as terrorist attacks. This would result in a better understanding of how lifesaving policies can be made and enforced.”

Birkland is an expert on natural hazard policies, while Richardson is recognized in the field of system dynamics. “By combining our knowledge and skills, and with Michael Deegan’s hard work in preparing for this research, we were able to submit a winning proposal,” said Birkland.

The Center for Policy Research is the public policy research center of Rockefeller College. The Center's affiliated faculty conduct research funded by private and public organizations.

Ranked among the top-10 public affairs programs in the nation, UAlbany's Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy's core mission is to discover, communicate, and apply knowledge about politics, governance, public policy, and public management. The college directly helps public managers, policymakers, and others deal effectively with the challenges they face, making democracy stronger and governments more effective around the world. For more information about the college, visit

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