Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Risk Science for Climate Resilience: A Duke Climate Collaboration Symposium

Date and Time
Thursday, February 15, 2024 - 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Garden Room, Penn Pavilion
Philip Hollingsworth
Risk Science for Climate Resilience: A Duke Climate Collaboration Symposium


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Climate change poses multiple, interacting risks to the well-being of humans and the environment that are only expected to intensify with additional warming. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions must remain the primary policy goal, it is increasingly likely that global warming will exceed the targets specified in the Paris Agreement. Humanity urgently needs new approaches to managing climate risks—we can no longer rely on emissions reductions alone.

This two-day symposium will bring together the Duke community and experts from the public and private sectors to explore the essential roles that the insurance and finance sectors can play in addressing future climate risks. These sectors are unique in their ability to assess and price risk, allocate capital, offer financial protection, and influence risk-related behavior.

Topics covered at the symposium will include:

  • Insurance innovations to advance climate justice and community resilience
  • Use of finance and financial technologies to accelerate climate hazard mitigation and adaptation
  • Risk model and data dissemination to support public sector resilience

A keynote address and panel discussion on Thursday, Feb. 15, will be open to the Duke community and the public.

Frank Nutter (President, Reinsurance Association of America) will deliver the keynote.

Watch introductory remarks and keynote

The panel will feature:

Watch panel discussion

A networking reception will follow. Space is limited; advance registration required. 

In addition, Duke faculty, research staff, and invited participants from outside the university will take part in a workshop on Friday, Feb. 16, to explore opportunities for future collaboration on climate risk, insurance, and finance. Duke faculty and research staff interested in joining the Feb. 16 workshop should register here—the form will also allow you to sign up for the Feb. 15 event. 

If you are a Duke faculty member who wishes to recommend a postdoctoral researcher or advanced-level student for participation, please contact Mark Borsuk ( with the request.

About the Organizers and Event Series

This event will launch the Duke Climate Collaboration Symposia, a series of on-campus convenings designed to accelerate climate solutions by developing new collaborations among Duke scholars and external partners. Each symposium will focus on identifying opportunities for Duke University to make the most of its interdisciplinary expertise and convening power for meaningful impact on climate challenges. The series is funded by a gift from The Duke Endowment in support of the Duke Climate Commitment, which unites the university’s education, research, operations, and public service missions to address the climate crisis.

The “Risk Science for Climate Resilience” symposium is organized by RESILE (a new university-wide initiative to advance research related to climate risk, based in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering) and the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability.


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Opening Session Feb. 15

Open to the Duke community and the public. The public event on Feb. 15 is sold out, but you can still sign up for the waitlist

3:00 - 3:15 p.m. Welcome and Introductory Remarks, Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, Mark Borsuk

3:15 - 3:45 p.m. Keynote Address, Frank Nutter

3:45 - 4:45 p.m. Panel Discussion, Moderated by Lydia Olander


  • Francis Bouchard
  • Allison DeJong
  • Roger Grenier
  • Mahmoud Raya

4:45 - 5:00 p.m. Closing Remarks, Mark Borsuk

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Reception


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Mark Borsuk


Mark Borsuk, Ph.D., is the James L. and Elizabeth M. Vincent Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke and Director of Duke RESILE. He is also co-director of the Duke Center on Risk. Mark’s research concerns the development and application of mathematical models for integrating scientific information on natural, technical, and social systems. He is a widely-cited expert in Bayesian network modeling with regular application to environmental, human health, and climate change decision making.



Francis Bouchard


Francis Bouchard, J.D., is the inaugural Duke University Climate Leader in Residence. He is an accomplished global public affairs professional who has served as an advisor, catalyst, and contributor to a series of climate resilience and insurance initiatives. Francis is currently the managing director for climate at Marsh McLennan, where he works across the firm’s four businesses to drive climate-focused commercial and social impact initiatives. 



Allison DeJong


Allison DeJong, M.B.A., is a planner and policy researcher at the Water Institute, an independent, nonprofit applied research organization, where she leads and supports projects for urban resilience, greenhouse gas mitigation, climate adaptation, and decision science. Allison is the insurance focus area lead for the Water Institute’s Gulf Center for Equitable Climate Resilience, working to address systemic barriers to resilience through literacy, research, and action.


Roger Grenier


Roger Grenier, Ph.D., is senior vice president of the Global Resilience Practice at Verisk, a global data analytics and risk assessment firm. Roger is responsible for developing the extreme event solutions team’s public risk strategy and leading risk reduction and resilience. Through this work, he helps governments and NGOs prepare for disasters, promotes awareness of the “protection gap,” and helps clients make more informed resilience decisions. Roger also leads Verisk’s regulatory and rating agency consulting group and contributes to climate change strategy.




Frank Nutter


Frank Nutter, J.D., was president of the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) from 1981-1984 and again from 1991 to 2023. Frank currently serves on the Advisory Board of the OECD’s International Network for the Financial Management of Large-Scale Disasters, the RAND Center on Catastrophic Risk Management and Compensation, and the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner III Center for Insurance and Risk Management Advisory Board. Frank was an officer in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam veteran.




Lyida Olander

Lydia Olander, Ph.D., is a program director at the Nicholas Institute for Energy Environment & Sustainability at Duke University and adjunct professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment. She works on improving evidence-based policy and accelerating implementation of climate resilience, nature-based solutions, natural capital accounting, and environmental markets. She leads the National Ecosystem Services Partnership and sits on Duke’s Climate Commitment action team. She recently spent two years with the Biden Administration at the Council on Environmental Quality as Director of Nature based Resilience and before that spent five years on the Environmental Advisory Board for the US Army Corps of Engineers. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and widely published researcher. Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, she spent a year as an AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Fellow working with Senator Joseph Lieberman on environmental and energy issues. She was a college scholar at Cornell, earned a MFS from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.


Mahmoud Raya


Mahmoud Raya, M.A., is an associate director in the Financial Institutions, Energy, and Climate and Sustainability practices at Boston Consulting Group. He has significant experience in climate and sustainability, financial services, and macroeconomic and climate scenario forecasting and analysis. Mahmoud helps clients devise strategies to mitigate climate-related financial risks, identify new growth opportunities, and address regulatory requirements. 



Adrienne Stiff-Roberts


Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, Ph.D., is the Jeffrey N. Vinik Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Dean for Community-Based Innovation in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Her research explores thin-film deposition of semiconductor materials for optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells and light emitting diodes. Adrienne serves on the Research Subcommittee for Duke’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council.