PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

KWN: Beerens on disaster response (exercise) evaluation

Received from the King’s Wargaming Network:

The Wargaming Network is pleased to announce the second lecture in our 2021-2022 public lecture series on wargaming. The theme for this year is evaluating and assessing the impact of wargaming on individuals and organizations and will feature speakers who have made important new contributions to wargaming assessment. The lecture will take place online on 12 May, 17:00-18:30 BST. Please register for the lecture here to receive the log in details for the online event. 

This lecture will focus on the enhancement of evaluation usefulness as a possible avenue to increase impact, built around Ralf Beerens’ PhD research which seeks to improve the usefulness of disaster response evaluations with respect to their contribution to disaster risk management (available online via: https://portal.research.lu.se/en/publications/improving-disaster-response-evaluations-supporting-advances-in-di). The dynamic disaster response environment in which his research took place, and the challenges it both poses and faces, resembles that of wargames. Overall, this research shows that to gain maximum benefit from disaster response evaluations, the outcomes must be systematic, rigorous, evidence-based and actionable. This is also challenging as this creates a dilemma around the so called ‘rigor-relevance gap’ which refers to the hurdle of simultaneously delivering practitioner relevance and scholarly rigour.

There will be a mixture of scholarly rigour and practitioner relevance by introducing and discussing various approaches, concepts, processes and models such as the research design strategy, design science and evaluation descriptions. This is combined with insights into the Dutch Crisis Management system and practical experiences (with evaluation) as well as key research findings that can be transferred to wargames. This lecture will propose some ways forward and open a conversation regarding how to manage both the process and the products of an evaluation and possible scientific and practical contributions, in order to optimise its usefulness for a range of purposes and users. In general the session is aimed at enhancing our understanding of the role(s) of evaluation in dynamic and complex environments such as disaster risk management and the transfer of these insights to wargames, keeping in mind that it is not the evaluation itself that leads to improvement; it is the use of the evaluation that can lead to improvement. Evaluation should be seen as a means to an end.Dr. Ralf Beerens is a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Public Safety (NIPV) and is also a senior lecturer for the Institute’s Master in Crisis and Public Order Management (MCPM). In September 2021 he received his Ph.D. from Lund University, Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, where he remains affiliated as a visiting research fellow. In this research he focused on disaster response (exercise) evaluation. He remains particularly interested in the evaluation of the operational performance of (international) emergency response organizations, teams or modules during exercises and crises, which also reflects his professional experience as an evaluator.

Please register for the lecture here to receive the information for attending this online event on 12 May 2022. 

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