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Natural Hazards Research Platform

The Natural Hazards Research Platform (NHRP) is a new approach to research coordination funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST). It was officially established in October 2009 as part of a programme of change by FRST to increase the long-term stability and effectiveness of research funding.

For more information on the activities of the Natural Hazards Research Platform, please refer to their website

The agreed goals of the NHRP are to:
  • Develop strengthened relationships between research-users and research teams
  • Develop strong collaborations between research organisations
  • Support integration across all disciplines of research relating to natural hazards
  • Align hazards research with the strategic needs of Government, as reflected in key documents such as the National CDEM Strategy [hyperlink]
  • Ensure research capabilities are maintained and developed over the life of the Platform
  • Improve transfer and uptake of knowledge resulting from the research
Platform research aim
The aim of the research both supported by and aligned with the Platform will be to directly contribute to improved economic, infrastructural and social resilience to natural hazards in New Zealand. The science capability supported by the Platform will also be available to assist decision makers during significant hazard events.

Who is the platform?
The Platform is essentially self-managed by senior researchers, with a management group formed from representatives of the key Platform members (currently GNS, NIWA, Auckland University, Massey University, Canterbury University, OPUS, and FRST (as observers and advisors). A number of other research groups (other universities and consultancies, and international partners) are involved as subcontractors or through alignment of research programmes.

Platform structure (click for a larger view)

GNS and NIWA are ‘anchors’ of the Platform, with the majority of the $14M/pa funding. The Platform is ‘hosted’ by GNS Science and the Platform Manager is Dr Kelvin Berryman (formerly Hazards section manager GNS Science).

A Strategic Advisory Group of key research users, including government departments, EQC, lifeline utilities, and local government), provides advice to the Management group on research direction, and provides official endorsement of the research strategy. Strategic Advisory Group members are also expected to champion the Platform and facilitate the application and uptake of research outcomes. The Platform is looking to broaden the membership of the Strategic Advisory Group to include other government agencies with interests in hazards research outcomes.

MCDEM has an MOU with FRST to reflect the role of the National CDEM Strategy as the key driver for Platform research and capability outcomes.

Current NHRP research themes
Research is currently organised into the following interim themes:
  1. Geological hazard models (led by Gill Jolly);
  2. Predicting weather, flood, and coastal hazards (led by Mike Uddstrom);
  3. Resilient buildings and infrastructure (led by Dave Brunsdon)
  4. Developing regional and national risk evaluation models (led by Andrew King);
  5. Societal resilience: social, cultural, economic and planning factors (led by David Johnston)

Current themes (click for a larger view)

These themes reflect existing FRST research contracts. A key principle of the new approach by the Platform is for greater cohesion and integration across areas of research, especially between the physical, engineering and social elements of hazards research.

Research focus and grouping of research areas is likely to evolve as part of the development of the Platform Research Strategy.

The interim Platform Research Strategy is available here

For more information please contact:
Dr Kelvin Berryman
Platform Manager
04 570 4743