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HVRI was established in 1995 as the Hazards Research Lab. In 2006, HRL was elevated to an institute status by the College of Arts and Sciences and then approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Its mission was to conduct basic research on hazard vulnerability and resilience; train the next generation of hazard scientists and practitioners; and through engagement and outreach to governmental agencies and communities assist in the improvement of emergency preparedness, planning, response, and recovery at local, state, national, and international scales. Given the national and international reputation of HVRI, in 2013 it became an International Center of Excellence on Vulnerability and Resilience Metrics (ICoE-VaRM), an honor bestowed by the International Science Council (ISC) and the UNDRR Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR).
In 2022 HVRI merged with the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments a project established under NOAA’s RISA program, led by Dr. Kirstin Dow. The merger enabled an expansion of HVRI into the climate and climate arena and led to a new name, Hazards Vulnerability and Resilience Institute (HVRI). An updated mission statement now reflects the strengths in spatial analytical approaches for integrating hazard and climate information to advance equitable planning and management and adaptive capacity in communities as they build resilience to disaster risks and climate change. HVRI’s engagement throughout the state has expanded with its new mission.
HVRI is supported by external resources from state agencies (Office of Resilience, Emergency Management Division, State Climate Office). It also receives grants from a variety of federal agencies including NOAA, NASA, NSF, the National Academies Gulf Research Program, and from non-profits such as Feeding America.