CSPRI Discussion: Blockchain Capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction Management - Part 3

Blockchain: Developing Bridges between Scientific Disciplines

March 9, 2021


Blockchain Capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction Management - Part 3


Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI)


Blockchain: Developing Bridges between Scientific Disciplines

Part 3 of the Series, Blockchain: Capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction Management

Co-sponsored by:


Dr. Neil H Wasserman, Adjunct Professor, The George Washington University
Dr. Costis Toregas, Director, CSPRI, The George Washington University
Joe Barbera, Co-Director, Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management,
GWU SEAS Dept. of Engineering Management & Systems Engineering
Jorge Aponte-Gomez, Director, JAG
Cécile Godé, Professor, Aix-Marseille University, France

Tuesday, March 9 at 8:00 am EST

(The webinar is scheduled to start early, enabling international attendees to join)







CSPRI continues its webinar series on the intersect of blockchain and disaster risk reduction, which is a discipline primarily focused on delivering operational activities on the ground ahead of, during and after man-made or natural disasters. Many of the researchers active in the field may not have the time or inclination to explore how breakthrough technologies, such as blockchain, can support their work. 

Creating research agendas and papers at the intersect of these two disciplines is a task in itself. This webinar addresses incentives and barriers that face scientists on both sides of the issue, i.e., blockchain and disaster risk reduction. Discussants this month include researchers from GWU, as well as Colombia and France. The process to support publications of shared research in Frontiers in Blockchain will also be highlighted.



a.     Disaster Risk Reduction - What are the drivers today? (Joe Barbera and Costis Toregas)

Disaster Risk Reduction has been in the spotlight, as Covid-19 responses have occupied the headlines, and the difficulties of climate change-related weather events have challenged the energy and food supply systems. A systematic approach to DRR including a Risk Assessment Framework is a timely concern, and technology intervention such as blockchain could help the logistics, as well as the equity questions being raised.

b.     Blockchain capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction - An introduction (Neil Wasserman)

What exactly is blockchain and why should we care? The recent weather-related collapse of vital infrastructure services in Texas shows that we have more agency than we think in both causing and mitigating disasters.  Tragic lessons can also be learned from contrasting country experiences with the pandemic. Blockchain and related technologies will play a key role in our ability to deal with current crises and in reducing the impact of future global challenges.  As an intro to the webinar, we will discuss the specific properties of blockchain that are relevant to managing disaster-related risks.  


a. Applying blockchain to distribution of vaccines in Colombia - addressing the ecosystem (Jorge Aponte Gomez)

The COVID-19 vaccination has shown that the data infrastructure is critical and needs to be modernized to respond for the greatest challenge for healthcare in modern history. Learn about promising experiences (directly from the source) that could change the way vaccination is performed and offer some future perspectives.

b. Blockchain: A technology for managing organisations in the unexpected? (Cécile Godé)

According to the Gartner hyper cycle, Blockchain (BC) is approaching the slope of enlightenment, that is a high level of technological maturity. From a managerial perspective, however, the effects of BC on organizations are still in the making. BC has the potential to transform and reconfigure business processes and work practices. Moreover, regarding the unexpected times we are experiencing, BC can support digital resilience by promoting information transparency and reliability. It can be observed in supply chain, for example, where BC took part in the digitalization process in supporting products' traceability through an access to the same information and potentially reducing transfer data errors; another example is the use of BC for COVID-19 contact-tracing purposes and patient information-sharing. Such possible positive effects involve organizational changes, that must be understood and conducted by managers to both gain benefits from the implementation and uses of BC, and reduce resistance to change. 


Invitees and registrants are invited to send ideas for subsequent presentations and new themes to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] at any time.  The aim of these targeted seminars is to encourage researchers to submit abstracts and contribute to a new Frontiers in BlockChain publication on the topic.  More information can be found here.

Access recordings and information from Part 1 and Part 2 in our series on Blockchain Capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction Management. 


Dr. Neil H Wasserman, Adjunct Faculty at George Washington University and Managing Partner at Timewave Analytics, focuses on engineering behavior change — on how innovative solutions emerge from understanding the impact of persistent, networked behaviors.  He has been involved with IT strategic planning, enterprise architecture, systems analysis and software implementation for twenty-five years.  Now he works at the boundaries of behavior change, healthcare , and data analytics.  He sees opportunity in the transformation of the medical culture to serve patients through creation of patient neighborhoods, which achieve long-term engagement in individual health, and change the costs and outcomes for chronic disease. His award winning book, From Invention to Innovation (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press) examined the foundations of innovation in telecommunications at AT&T.  He has spoken frequently on networked behaviors and complex systems at IEEE conferences and other venues. 

Dr. Costis Toregas is the Director of the Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute at The George Washington University, where he manages and conducts research projects in cybersecurity. His research interests include workforce development, the role of insurance in cyber risk management, and exploring a fuller utilization of Community Colleges in the cybersecurity work force strategies.  He is a Senior Advisor & Director, Scholarship for Service (SFS) Four-Year to the National CyberWatch Center. He is a respected consultant to national governments and intergovernmental organizations, and a much sought-after speaker on the impact of technology in government and society. Dr. Toregas has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Cornell University.

Professor Joseph Barbera, through the GWU Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management, conducts research across a wide range of topics in emergency management, risk management, and business continuity. The underlying basis that connects these disparate areas is engineering management and systems methodology applications that ensure a rigorous scientific approach. Current and recent research focuses upon large-scale incident (disaster) management, hazard risk assessments, public health hazard risk reduction, collapsed-structure search strategies, and confined space medical interventions. Healthcare emergency management that is focused both on mass casualties and continuity of critical operations is another active area of research and development.

Jorge Aponte Gomez is the Director of Project Genesis, an initiative that seeks to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and help during and afterward the recovery period in the areas of healthcare, education, and food supply. He has an MBA from San Pablo CEU (Spain) and a degree in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia).

Cécile Godé is full professor at Aix-Marseille University, France. She is also editor-in-chief of the French Journal of Management Information Systems. Her primary research fields are organization management and information systems management. Her current contributions focus on appropriation and uses of emerging technologies, decision/coordination practices and processes, as well as learning processes in extreme contexts. She published her research in ranking academic journals and authored four books. She also led and participated in research projects for private and public organizations, including the French Ministry of Defense and Interior. 

Jean-Fabrice Lebraty is a full-time professor in management at the IAE Lyon School of Management. He is a member of the Magellan Research Center and specializes in Information System Management. His main areas of interest are extreme decision-making, crowdsourcing, and new tech such as blockchain. He is also a member of the French Foundation for Management Education (FNEGE), serving as international program manager. Finally, he is a member of the University National Committee.

The intent of this and future Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI) webinars is to give GW faculty and students glimpses of the vibrant security and privacy private sector in the Washington region and to promote dialog and debate regarding breakthrough initiatives. The potential for support for research or conference papers on related topics will be part of the discussion.