Introduction and Context

The UME (Understanding and Managing Extremes) Programme offered by Scuola Universitaria Superiore (IUSS) di Pavia (University School of Advanced Studies, Pavia) comprises two doctoral programmes geared towards the assessment and mitigation of seismic and other risks due to natural hazards. The key objective is to provide a system within which candidates can study, understand and manage the consequences of extreme events. 

As the need to understand and manage extreme events grows with our understanding of the complex phenomena involved, so too have the programmes and courses offered by IUSS Pavia over the years. Initially conceived in 2001, the school’s main focus was seismic risk in what became known as the ROSE School (European School for Advanced Studies in Reduction of Seismic Risk). In later years, the school’s scope for assessing and mitigating risk broadened to include other types, such as flood and chemical, and resulted in the ROSE School being rebranded as the UME School. The original ROSE School programme thus became the ROSE Curriculum and maintained its strong focus on the reduction of seismic risk alongside the new HYRIS Curriculum (Hydrometeorological, Geological, Chemical and Environmental Risk) which addresses a broad variety of subjects.

The academic activities of the UME School cover a wide range of subjects in the form of one-month intensive courses offered as part of the MSc programme, an international seminar held each May, one-week short courses and occasional individual seminars by invited speakers throughout the year. These activities have a long tradition of fostering advanced research, education and training at an international level. 


The current range of doctoral programmes offered by the UME School have been designed to deal with three main areas of research:

  • Disaster risk assessment, focusing on hazards such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires, landslides and chemicals (with possible extensions to the topics of climatology, desertification, human-made and technological risks etc.).
  • Extreme situation management, which includes topics of statistics and probability, law, economics, resource management, finance, insurance, sociology, ethics, psychology and medicine.
  • Engineering for risk mitigation, which includes topics on structural engineering to increase the capacity of buildings and infrastructure to withstand the demands from extreme events.