Practitioners in multiple disciplines could contribute to such centers, including scientists, engineers, and hazard and disaster researchers, and centers should include partnerships with federal, state, and local disaster management agencies. Indeed, it is critical that experienced and capable officials and operational elements of disaster management organizations be deeply involved in the work of these centers. One approach for engaging these groups would be to provide incremental funds to agencies specifically for working with researchers and developing next-generation technologies. Having multiple centers (rather than a single entity) also helps to ensure healthy intellectual competition, cross-fertilization of ideas, specialization in specific types of disasters and specific technology capabilities, and attention to the comprehensive needs of particular geographical areas.

Research centers could also act as a resource for agencies seeking to implement a diversified acquisition strategy and incorporate the latest best practices and a mechanism for disaster managers and responders to share experiences and communicate requirements to guide further technology developments.

Recommendation 10: The federal government should sustain (and develop as needed) a network of research centers where IT researchers, hazard and disaster researchers, and disaster management practitioners can collaborate to study and evaluate the use of IT for disaster management from both a technological and an organizational perspective, to transition knowledge and technology to those who practice disaster management, to build human capital at the intersection of IT and disaster management, and to develop future IT capabilities.

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