Contact IRDR

Email: irdr-enquiries@ucl.ac.uk

Phone: 02031081101

Ext: 51101

Office location: Rm 38, 2nd floor, South Wing, UCL Main Quadrangle

Overview of the IRDR

Understanding global risks and reducing disasters presents a major challenge that requires coordinated and collaborative action. Responding to the UCL Grand Challenges, our vision for the IRDR was for an institute, hosted in the MAPS Faculty, but working across UCL, that would lead research, knowledge exchange (KE) with industry and humanitarian agencies and advanced teaching, in the area of risk and disaster reduction (RDR). The Institute would concentrate the internationally established, highly successful, but dispersed expertise at UCL. By providing a focus for UCL’s activities, with its breadth of disciplinary emphasis, promotion of novel cross-disciplinary research and translation into practice, the Institute would assume leadership in risk and disaster reduction both in the UK and internationally.

Global Reach diagram


Following a UCL Town Meeting, which brought together over 70 academics and researchers across 12 departments in 7 faculties involved in world-class research and practice in the field, Professor Peter Sammonds led a proposal to the Provost to set up the IRDR, championed by 16 academics from Earth Sciences, Statistical Science, Mathematics, Space & Climate Physics, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Population Health and Laws. £295k PSDF funding was secured, supported by £231k from the MAPS Faculty and Departments. 


The aim of the IRDR was to become financially self-supporting through research and teaching income within five years, with an emphasis on new income generation from cross-disciplinary consortium bids, postgraduate teaching, and funding from industry and the humanitarian sector, It is located within its own space, because co-location of researchers demonstrably works, and is supported in its unique role by IRDR administrative staff and experts in KE, public engagement and research support.

Below we highlight achievements and developments of the IRDR, which would not have happened without its existence.

  • Established the UCL Chair for Risk and Disaster Reduction and appointed the world leading authority on resilience, David Alexander, to the position, so raising UCL to be a major international player in the field
  • Established the Readership in Risk, Resilience and Global Health, jointly with the Institute for Global Health, in a unique initiative with the School of Life and Medical Sciences
  • Established a Lectureship in Statistics and Risk Analysis, jointly with the Department of Statistical Science, the first position of this kind, internationally
  • Established a Lectureship in Earthquake Hazard, appointing Joanna Faure Walker, who encompasses both disciplinary excellence and City experience in risk management
  • Attracted £213k complementary funding from the MAPS Faculty and Departments
  • Won £2,566k research funding from research councils, industry, charities and Europe
  • UCL led the successful consortium bid for the NERC £2 million programme on Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment
  • UCL co-leads the euro 4.75 million Cascading Crises European project
  • Set up the first major university research project jointly funded by an NGO
  • 17 new PhD studentships set up in the discipline, co-supervised across UCL
  • 2 IRDR 3-year Research Fellowships set up
  • Launched a new MRes in Risk and Disaster Reduction and an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience
  • 1600 participants in IRDR risk and disaster reduction events from UCL and beyond
  • The IRDR has 220 staff and student members across UCL
  • Achieved impact for UCL research and reports in government, the City and the global media and through knowledge exchange with partners, internationally
  • Established a vibrant programme and a vision for the future for UCL

Find out more in our annual reports