George Perkins Marsh Institute

About the Center for Risk and Security (CRS)


The mission of the Center for Risk and Security (CRS) is to expand the scope of risk and decision analysis within security policy, planning, design, implementation and maintenance efforts, and to facilitate a balance between democratic values and the limitations imposed by security restrictions.


CRS, founded in 2003, is housed in the George Perkins Marsh Institute. CRS is built upon the strengths of the George Perkins Marsh Institute, CRS partner organizations and affiliated institutions. CRS is a multi-disciplinary collaboration that advances the application of risk concepts to homeland security issues. This work draws upon Clark University¹s three decades of experience in risk analysis and the capabilities of its current faculty.

Research at CRS builds upon one of the main research areas of the George Perkins Marsh Institute: the relationship among hazards, humans, and our environment. Specifically, current research members have been involved with one of Marsh¹s oldest centers: The Center for Technology, Environment, and Development (CENTED). Founded in 1978, CENTED is internationally recognized as one of the oldest and most prominent centers for the study of natural and technological hazards in the United States. Even prior to its foundation, CENTED researchers were active for more than a decade in studies of natural hazards, human responses to disasters, nuclear testing, and global environmental change.


(Statement of Purpose)
CRS adapts and develops risk and decision methods for analyzing security issues, conducts critical reviews of plans for addressing such issues, and assists private and governmental entities in planning and policy development.

The domain of effort includes:

  • Expanding the scope of risk assessments to include security issues,
  • Developing methods to evaluate the trade-offs inherent in decisions about security,
  • Examining human-response aspects of planning and design of security programs, and
  • Assuring that democratic values and institutions are utilized in security planning.


Currently two major partners, external to Clark University, have developed a collaborative relationship with CRS:


The Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library at Clark University was recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as one of the four best collections on risk and hazards in the United States.


Brian Meacham, Ph.D., is the current Director of the Center for Risk and Security and Research Associate Professor at the George Perkins Marsh Institute. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a principal with Meacham Associates. Dr. Meacham's research focuses on: multi-hazard threat, risk and vulnerability assessment and mitigation approaches for buildings and critical infrastructure; decision making for tradeoffs associated with security decisions; risk-informed performance-based building and fire regulations and design methods; and uncertainty and variability in evacuation models.

Robert Goble, Ph.D., is Director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute and Research Professor at the Institute and the Department of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University. Dr. Goble¹s current research focuses on: information management in the search for sustainable development, with emphasis on global climate change; uncertainties in estimating health effects risks, especially for radiation; and cooperation between scientists and non-scientists in risk assessment. Dr. Goble was one of the leaders of a team from Clark University that developed a model response plan for emergencies at nuclear power plants.

Roger Kasperson, Ph.D., is Research Professor and Distinguished Scientist at the George Perkins Marsh Institute and Professor Emeritus in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. Dr. Kasperson recently completed a tenure of four years as the Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden. He is an expert in risk and hazards, and is lead developer of the social amplification of risk framework. He has written widely on issues connected with risk analysis, risk communication, global environmental change, risk and ethics, and environmental policy. Dr. Kasperson was one of the leaders of a team from Clark University that developed a model response plan for emergencies at nuclear power plants.

Samuel Ratick, Ph.D., is Professor in the Graduate School of Geography and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Clark University. His research includes developing spatial decision support systems for situations characterized by a high degree of risk and uncertainty. He has been the PI on a series of government-funded research projects that involve assessing the vulnerability of coastal communities; determining the vulnerability of populations to mercury emissions; assessing the effects of topographic uncertainty in flood risk assessments; developing risk-based decision models to aid in the location of facilities; and developing methods for incorporating risk and uncertainty in government project feasibility studies.

Joseph Sarkis, Ph.D., is Professor at the Graduate School of Management at Clark University and Research Professor at the George Perkins Marsh Institute. Dr. Sarkis¹ research has included contingency and disaster planning for inter-organizational information systems and manufacturing operations systems. Dr. Sarkis is a member of program committees for a number of conferences related to environmental and risk management research, has been a speaker and participant at number of scientific and practitioner symposia and workshops related to corporate environmental and risk management.

Gordon Thompson, Ph.D., is Research Professor at the George Perkins Marsh Institute and Executive Director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His expertise is on technical and policy analysis in the fields of energy, environment, sustainable development, and international security. Since the mid-1970s, Dr. Thompson has conducted numerous technical and policy studies related to the vulnerability of industrial facilities to accident or attack. Most of this work has addressed nuclear facilities of various types. Dr. Thompson was one of the leaders of a team from Clark University that developed a model response plan for emergencies at nuclear power plants.

Claudia Araiza, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, is an ad-hoc Research Affiliate with the Center for Risk and Security. Currently, she is a student at Claremont Graduate University. Previously, from 2004-2006, she assisted with the development of the center's research agendas. Ms. Araiza's research interests are in applying economic models, decision analysis and organizational theory to large-scale disaster studies. She is experienced in conducting empirical analysis using tools from cost-benefit, survey and econometric analysis.


Elise A. Weaver, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Modeling and Simulation Program
Human Resources Research Organization (HumPRO)
66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314-1591