Fall 2023 – CREATE News and Updates

Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies

Fall 2023

News and Updates

Friends of CREATE,

CREATE has reached an important milestone: the 20th anniversary of the date when USC announced CREATE’s selection by the Department of Homeland Security as their first university center of excellence.  I am grateful for all we have accomplished with support from DHS and our many partners.  

Please save April 19 for our anniversary symposium, “Emerging Threats to Homeland Security.” We will cover the breadth of CREATE’s work, including terrorism, infrastructure protection, supply chains, pandemics and climate disasters.  Since inception, CREATE has exercised the type of imagination needed to anticipate and prioritize the threats of the future.  Please join in our discussion on how we can effectively protect homeland security from the threats of the future.  Watch for a detailed program and registration information in January.  

Wishing you the very best of holidays. 

Randy Hall

Director, CREATE

New Grants

CREATE has partnered with California State University at Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) to establish a new homeland security institute, funded by DHS, for “Securing the Future of Los Angeles: CSUDH Homeland Security Initiative.” Led by Quiyuan Jin at CSUDH, the institute will recruit and support students toward completing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Homeland Security-related degrees.  CREATE faculty will support the institute through mentorship on collaborative research projects. Randolph Hall will lead USC’s effort in the new institute.  CREATE External Fellow Fynnwin Prager serves as co-PI at CSUDH.

Detlof von Winterfeldt, along with Richard John and Isaac Maya, received a new $970,000 award from the Department of Homeland Security for research on technology transition under the STAMINA program (S&T Analysis and Management of Innovation Activity).  The new award extends prior research with a focus on cost-effective resource allocation for combating threats from terrorism, natural hazards and technological accidents. The work will include evaluation of technology transfer metrics, return on investment analysis and benefit-cost analysis for transitioned projects.

USC professors Bistra Dilkina and Burçin Becerik-Gerber have been supported by grants from the CIRI and SENTRY DHS Centers of Excellence.  Dilkina’s work, with more than $200,000 in cumulative funding from CIRI, has focused on Enhancing Water Distribution Networks Resilience with Scalable AI-based Planning.  Becerik-Gerber received $150,000 in funding for her project from SENTRY on “Impact of Architectural Design on Emergency Behavior and Response During Active Shooter Incidents." 

Richard John received a new award from the DHS CAOE center to study normalcy bias.  He also received continuation funding from SENTRY. 


Economic Analysis

Adam Rose and Dan Wei developed a dynamic economic simulation model in “The Long Shadow of a Major Disaster: Modeled Dynamic Impacts of the Hypothetical HayWired Earthquake on California’s Economy” published in the International Regional Science Review.  Rose and Wei also studied the economic effects of Los Angeles’ green energy transition in “Regional Economic Impacts of the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Transition,” published in Climate Policy

External Fellow Fynnwin Prager co-authored “Revisiting the competitive analysis framework” in the Journal of Supply Chain and Operations Management.

Decision and Risk Analysis

Senior external fellow Vicki Bier served on the committee that produced the “Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism (Phase II)," for the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine. 

Among his many publications, External Fellow Samrat Chatterjee was a co-author on “Role of reinforcement learning for risk-based robust control of cyber-physical energy systems,” published in Risk Analysis. He also was a co-author on “Disaster risk and artificial intelligence: A framework to characterize conceptual synergies and future opportunities,” also published in Risk Analysis.  

Richard John has two new articles in Decision Analysis.  John’s “Partitioning the Expected Value of Countermeasures with an Application to Terrorism," is co-authored with CREATE External Senior Fellows Robin Dillon and William Burns (along with Nicolas Scurich).  On “Closing the Gap Between Decision Analysis and Policy Analysts Before the Next Pandemic," Robin Dillon was first author, with John, CREATE External Senior Fellow Vicki Bier and Abdullah Althenayyan as co-authors.

Media and Presentations

CREATE Senior Research Fellow and USC Price School Research Professor, Adam Rose, presented testimony to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee on October 25, 2023, at a hearing on Bottlenecks and Backlogs: How Climate Change Threatens Supply Chains.  His prepared remarks emanated from research sponsored by one of CREATE’s sister centers — the Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE) — on Modeling the Economic Impact of Complex, Multi-Vector Disruptions to the Marine Transportation System and Supply Chain.

Milestones and Honors

Basim Aljohani

Fynnwin Prager

Basim Aljohani completed his Master of Science thesis under the mentorship of CREATE Director Randolph Hall. His thesis, “Optimizing the Selection of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Centers and Allocation Quantities," incorporates vulnerability indices and transportation accessibility to promote health equity. The model was used to analyze 277 zip codes within Los Angeles County, examining their potential as vaccine distribution centers.  Basim is now a doctoral student at the University of Florida.

Fynnwin Prager has been appointed Director of the School of Public Service and Justice, CSU Dominguez Hills.

The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) honored four CREATE faculty this month, a huge achievement for the center.  Richard John along with External Research Fellow Robin Dillon-Merrill were elected as SRA Fellows.  In addition, External Research FellowJun Zhuan received the SRA Educator Award.


With support from the USC Office of Research and Innovation, CREATE launched a research initiative focused on Supply Chain Integration, Resilience and Trust. Five Ph.D. students from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering and Price School of Public Policy have joined the effort through their doctoral research. The new thrust is led by CREATE Director Randolph Hall.  Price faculty member Genevieve Giuliano and Viterbi faculty member Bhaskar Krishnamachari are co-Principal Investigators.  In addition, John Carlsson and Maged Dessouky from the Viterbi school are mentoring participating Ph.D. students.  Wentao Zhao, Tanvir Kaisar and Ke Xu from the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, along with Narjes Nourzad from Electrical Engineering and Qifan Shao from Price.

Six undergraduates are also participating, with added support from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Viterbi Engineering  (CURVE) — Arlette Irrazabal, Kuofu Liu, Hayden Ranshaw, Toby Roberts, Aishu Sivamurugan and Kipauno Washington.