The SRU supports shelter research in universities and specialized schools. Fields of research include architecture, urban development, industrial design, and other fields related to humanitarian action. The SRU conducts scientific research and encourages students in their fields of interest, helping them receive financing and bringing in expert advice. The SRU shares its research results with the Movement and all other humanitarian organisations that work in shelter design.
The SRU works in cooperation with educational and private sector research and development departments. It goes to great lengths to expand and improve the range of emergency shelters that can be deployed in the zones most affected by a disaster. These products must be appropriate to people’s needs to ensure smooth and rapid transition to sustainable solutions. Due to the sheer diversity of potential catastrophes, the emergency equipment must be precise yet flexible, effective in a maximum number of situations.
The SRU studies the types of shelters inhabited by victims following a disaster, from the first weeks to possibly years later. Thereafter, the SRU evaluates how effective the efforts of the population itself were and how residents can best be supported to ensure a safe and sustainable future. The SRU’s goal is to improve shelter, ensuring it is appropriate and helpful in specific situations.
The SRU’s objective is to play an important role in the creation and sharing of new ideas and know-how, be that in the development and conceptualisation process or in the distribution of emergency shelter. It identifies information useful to professionals engaged in creating shelter for the specific situations of people in need. Furthermore, the SRU actively shares its knowledge with all shelter providers. This effort, known as the “SRU documentation effort” (SRUde), is one of the SRU’s primary activities. The objective is to :
- Collect and compile information regarding the technical and material aspects of shelter ;
- Categorize and analyse information gathered ;
- Share this information with the community of shelter designers and suppliers.