Nuwan Waidyanatha

Senior Research Fellow

Nuwan Waidyanatha – Disaster, Emergency Communication and Crisis Response Expert

15 years’ experience in researching, innovating, building, implementing, and evaluating ICT-enable Disaster Risk Reduction and Management solutions.

Worked for Spot On Solutions, Sahana Software Foundation, LIRNEasia, and the International Telecommunication Union; applying skills in computer engineering, operations research, and a touch of social science.

Nuwan has over 15 years of experience in applying action research methods in support of evidence-based policy and innovating national-scale ICT-enabled systems and services. Recently completed the redesigning of the Fijian tsunami mass notification system (Tonkin+Taylor, 2017).  He leads an international team in operationalizing a “cross-agency warning and situational-awareness platform” for improving institutional responsiveness to coastal hazard in Maldives, Myanmar, and the Philippines (UNESCAP 2015-16). Mobile pictographs for disaster communication in support of linguistically challenged is the most recent research that investigated the use of symbology to empower marginalized and people with disabilities in Sri Lanka and the Philippines (ELRHA-HIF, 2016-17).

Nuwan transforms his research and innovation experiences into processes and practices. For example, the research experience and theory on ‘technology stewardship and agriculture communities of practice’ (SSHRC, 2014-16) has been applied in other sectors such as disaster management. Research on the Common Alerting Protocol international warning standard was instrumental to building the free and open source the Sahana Alerting and Messaging Broker (HazInfo-IDRC 2005-08, mobile-health-IDRC 2008-10, Interactive voice ELRHA-HIF/Kubatana-Trust 2011-13); adopted by several countries in the region. Other interests are in resilience and data science. Nuwan has evaluated national emergency communication systems to provide valuable inputs for the respective governments in improving their emergency communication policies and plans (Nepal 2015, Timor-Leste 2015, India 2014, and Mongolia 2012). His knowledge is shared with the WMO, ITU, IFRC, OASIS, IAEM, and other UN & International Agencies, through various working groups and committees, for them to use in their policy advocacy work.

Mr. Waidyanatha is a freelance consultant; runs his own company Spot On Solutions and serves as a Sahana Software Foundation board director and a LIRNEasia senior research fellow. He is on the International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (IJISCRAM) editorial board. Nuwan has published four book chapters, over a dozen journal articles, and more than 40 peer-reviewed conference papers. His education is in Industrial Automation (M.Sc – University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, 2005-incomplete), Operations Research (M.A – University of Montana, USA, 1999), and Computer Engineering/Mathematics (B.A – University of Maine, USA, 1996). Nuwan lives with his wife and daughter in Kunming, China.