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Research award recognises New Zealand’s resilience

Last week Christchurch researcher Dr Erica Seville was awarded an honorary fellow of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a prestigious award that recognises her innovation at the forefront of research in organisational resilience globally.

The highest honour granted by the BCI, the honorary fellowship has only been gifted to 26 others since its inception in 1994, and this is the first time it has been awarded to a New Zealander. Recipients must be nominated by their peers for the award.

Dr Seville says, “The award is recognition of the research excellence and leadership that New Zealand is offering to the world in organisational resilience.”

As Executive Director of the consulting firm Resilient Organisations, Dr Seville’s team is also part of the QuakeCoRE, New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence in earthquake resilience.

“This honour is quite special because it reflects a recognition of the contribution researchers have made to industry. This shows the research we’ve been doing here in New Zealand over the last decade has really helped organisations in what they do.”

Business continuity and organisational resilience is a massive industry globally and the BCI has thousands of members from around the world. The award was presented at the BCI World Conference in London, where Dr Seville was presenting about her research to improve organisations’ resilience to be able to weather disruption and uncertainty.

This research, started almost 15 years ago, has translated into practical tools that industry can use to raise their resilience.

“The factors that create resilience can be applied to any type of disruption,” says Dr Seville. “The things that will get you through an earthquake are the same things that will get you through a cyber-attack, or any other crisis.”

Nonetheless, earthquakes are the disruption that has provided Dr Seville’s team with the opportunity to study resilience in a real-world context, an opportunity that few teams in the world have had.

“The Christchurch earthquakes created a living lab, allowing us to collect a strong evidence base for our theory about what enables recovery after a disruptive event.”

Although the award was granted to Dr Seville individually, she says it is a recognition of her entire team’s research excellence, and indeed of the research excellence and leadership of New Zealand in resilience globally.

This year also marks the first time a New Zealander, Glenn Redstall of Inland Revenue, has been appointed to the global Board of BCI.

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