M.S. in Technological Systems Management

Focus Area on Digital Technologies in Disaster Risk Reduction


Although disasters have affected human societies throughout history, their frequency and intensity are increasing in the early years of the 21st century. Those who seek to prevent disasters or to manage them and improve public safety response face two realities. One is the threat to environmental and planetary sustainability posed by climate change on the one hand and international terrorism and military conflicts on the other. The second is the potential of digital networks and related technologies to address sustainability issues, including the reduction of disaster risks.

This focus area centers on next generation networks and related digital technologies that can impact disaster risk reduction (DRR). They include, among others, next generation (currently LTE) public safety networks, satellites, robotics, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. Disaster risk reduction, as understood in this focus area, follows the Sendai Framework, adopted at a UN World Conference in 2015. Among its innovations, the framework shifts the focus from disaster loss to disaster risk, from disaster management to disaster risk management. It also broadens the scope of the effort to include slow-onset, man- made and bio hazards.

Furthermore, the Sendai Framework aims to mobilize and coordinate existing networks and scientific research institutions at all levels and in all regions. The focus area strongly complements the existing M.S. areas of interest at SBU. Korea will launch the world’s first nationwide public safety LTE network at the end of 2018 and SUNY Korea is part of a unique public-private partnership aimed at preparing Korea and the world for the capabilities that these new networks offer for disaster risk reduction. The main partners include the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in Songdo, The Korean Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) both located at SUNY Korea, and SafeNet Forum, Korea’s rough equivalent of FirstNet in the U.S. and comparable organizations in the U.K., Canada and other countries.

As the next generations of public safety digital networks become increasingly ubiquitous and offer an expanding range of new capabilities, the need for education and training increases. Building the new networks, as Korea is doing, provides essential infrastructure. However, optimal use of the capabilities provided by the new public safety network infrastructures will require new forms of ICT literacy. We anticipate increased training needs for the following target groups.

 Government officials at the national, regional and local levels who have responsibility for public safety

 Emergency services personnel also referred to as “first responders”

 Volunteers and staff of NGOs such as the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and others

 Citizens

Required Courses – 6 credits

EST 581 - Heuristics and Quantitative Decision-Making
EST 582 - Introduction to Systems Concepts

Elective Courses

Selection of an additional 24 credits from the following (at least one from the following four groups of courses and the remainder from others on the list)

1. Networks

EST 567 - The Internet, Social Networking and Collaborative Environments
EST 568 - Networked Communication Technologies

2. Big Data, Data Science

EMP 530 - Introduction of Big Data and Data Science for Technological Management
EMP 531 - Data Mining for Technological Management
EMP 532 - Big Data Systems for Technological Management

3. Mobility

EST 559 - Mobile Technologies and Disaster Risk Reduction 
EST 527 - The Impact of Mobile Devices and Cloud Based Systems in Education

4. Innovation and Entrepreneurship

EST 534 - The Lean Launch Pad
EST 691 - Seminar on Innovation, Invention and Diffusion 

Additional Elective Courses

EST 558 - Digital Technologies in Disaster Risk Reduction
EST 561 - Sensing Technologies for Digital Risk Reduction 
EST 550 - Introduction to Homeland Security
EST 560 - Risk Assessment, Regulation, and Homeland Security
EST 569 - Technology in the City
EST 577 - Environmental Information Systems (EIS)
EST 580 - Advanced Technology Assessment: Business, Government and Strategy
EST 583 - National Energy Decision Making
EST 589 - Technology-Enhanced Decision Making
EST 593 - Risk Assessment and Hazard Management