Dr. Bernharðsdóttir is a Research Scientist and Lecturer at the EERC. She has a PhD in Political Science and Cand oceon in Business Administration. Her main field of research is culture and crisis management where she has studied how culture shapes the behavior of decision makers in crisis preparedness and response.

She is a former director of Excellence Iceland and a former director of the Institute of International Affairs and the Centre for Small State Studies at the University of Iceland. Her studies include crisis management research on avalanches, earthquakes and stranding.  She has worked on crisis management research in Sweden, U.S. and Iceland, and with Icelandic experts on long-term recovery planning that includes general guidelines to local authorities. Dr. Bernharðsdóttir has taught crisis management at the University of Iceland and at Syracuse University, U.S. Currently Bernharðsdóttir works as a researcher at the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre of the University of Iceland, focusing on disaster prevention strategies based on education information system.