Contact IRDR


Phone: 02031081101

Ext: 51101

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


One Research Associate Position in Risk and Disaster Reduction

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We are recruiting one research associate in risk and disaster reduction. The deadline for the position is 27 September, 2017. For full job description and further details, please follow the link below:

Dealing with Environmental Hazards in Border Conflict Zones: Insights from Turtuk, India

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The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region provides basic livelihoods to a population of around 210 million, and the river basins provide water to around a fifth of the world’s population. The HKH extends into eight countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, and is sometimes called the ‘Third Pole’ as it contains the world’s largest ice and snow concentration outside of the poles. The region is home to many of the world’s tallest mountains and is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides, floods, and drought. The catastrophic climatic events are becoming more intense due to changes in precipitation and runoff patterns. Around 31% of the population lives below the poverty line and outmigration is highest in the world in this region. The communities also have a prolonged history of internal conflicts and wars, and border incursions and insurgency, which has left them divided across borders, with militarised infrastructure and internal migration. These all have the potential to increase community vulnerability as they disrupt social cohesion. 

Disaster in Japan 2011: The Latest Research

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On Friday 23rd January 2017, UCL-IRDR hosted a special symposium entitled "Disaster in Japan 2011: The Latest Research." The event was organised by Professor Kenji Koshiyama of Kansai University, with help from Professor David Alexander of UCL-IRDR. Speakers and panellists were drawn from UCL and a variety of leading Japanese universities.

Two Research Associate Positions in Digital Health

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We are now recruiting two new research associate positions in digital health. The application deadline for both positions has now been extended until 28th August 2017. Follow the links below for full job descriptions and application guidelines.

New research published: Tourism industry financing of climate change adaptation in Small Island Developing States

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Tourism is the most important economic sector in many small island developing states (SIDS), often driving development. Tourism in these island nations is however, threatened by climate change impacts, such as sea level rises or tropical cyclones. To cope with the damage costs of these impacts, a larger amount of money will be needed. This raises the question of who should pay for climate change adaptations, and whether it is the government and the tourism industry that are ultimately responsible. 

Sea Ice Experiments at Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA)

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Field-scale laboratory experiments on artificially grown sea ice were undertaken in May 2017 by an international team of researchers at Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA). The project was organised by IRDR PhD students Sally Scourfield and Mark Shortt, and IRDR Director Prof. Peter Sammonds. The experiments conducted were designed to investigate the effects of ice rubble angularity on friction, and also the consolidation rate and strength of rafted sea ice. The rapid decline of sea ice extent in the Arctic brings with it the prospect of increased shipping in the region, as speculation rises that routes through the Northwest and Northeast passages might become commercially viable in the near future. However with this increased activity comes greater exposure to the problems and hazards associated with the interactions between ships and sea ice. Ice rubble accumulations around ports and in frequently used channels through sea ice cover can provide substantial resistance and sometimes prevent transit entirely. Similarly, the rubble generated when ice floes interact with fixed structures can exert large forces on them, which can become hazardous if not properly managed. Experiments at HSVA will contribute to research that helps address these issues and in doing so make the Arctic a safer and more accessible environment for industrial activity. 

EEFIT publishes its latest report on the Kumamoto Japan earthquake

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eefit  report

The Institution of Structural Engineers’ Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) has now published its report on the Kumamoto Japan earthquake of 14th and 16th April 2016. Peter Sammonds from the IRDR was part of the EEFIT team for this research. The report can be found on the EEFIT website here.

IRDR 7th Annual Conference Report

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Our 7th Annual conference was held on 21st June 2017 and attended by over 150 people. Our audience, speakers, and presenters came from a range of different backgrounds, and all gathered together to share and discuss research, approaches and initiatives to work towards the aim of reducing global disaster risk. It was a great opportunity for academics, practitioners, students, policy makers and the interested public to share ideas, discuss current challenges and new ideas, and to network.

New research published: Stress before, during and after the central Italian earthquakes in 2016

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Coulomb Stress Paper News

The three damaging earthquakes that occurred in central Italy in August - October 2016 (Mw = 6.0 – 6.5) damaged numerous hilltop towns and villages and the combined death toll was ~300. A summary following the first earthquake is available here (link to news article).

Call for Papers: Understanding and Mitigating Cascading Crises in the Global Interconnected System

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Ijdrr Cover

Our research group on cascading disasters is editing a special issue of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (Elsevier, IP 1.242). We aim to achieve a milestone in the field, contextualising cascading crises in the built environment, the social domains, and applied emergency management.

David Alexander Commentary on Grenfell Tower in the Observer

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David Alexander

On 2nd July, Professor David Alexander’s opinions were featured in an article on the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in the Observer. Access the article “Mistrust and anger deepen as Grenfell death toll is still unknown” by Emma Graham-Harrison, here:

Increasing Impact with the UCL IRDR International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

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Ijdrr Cover

The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (IJDRR), an award-winning academic journal founded in 2012 by Professor David Alexander of UCL-IRDR in association with Elsevier publishers, has just received its latest impact factor (IF). The

An Era Defining Mission: NASA’s Solar Probe Plus to Predict Solar Storms

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Dr Robert Wicks, UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, explains to BBC World News viewers how NASA’s next solar mission will help aid scientific understanding of solar activity and enable astronomers to better predict solar storms. Solar flares launch radiation and matter outwards compressing the earth’s magnetic field and can cause, amongst other things, radio interference and power failures.

UCL Build and Launch Cube Satellites

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Last week saw the deployment of 28 CubeSats from the International Space Station as part of the QB50 mission. UCL IRDR Lecturer Dr Robert Wicks is the project manager of the nine UCL scientific instruments flying on this mission. The Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS), designed and built at UCL, measures the concentrations of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Nitrous Oxide ions in the thermosphere, the top layer of the atmosphere, as the CubeSats descend from a 400km altitude until they are destroyed at an altitude of around 200km. These will form the first measurements of atmospheric composition from satellites at these altitudes, and will provide our first ever look at the transport of these ions around the world. Ions of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Nitrous Oxide are generated near the North and South poles by the aurora and are then transported around the globe by very high-altitude winds. Tracking how these molecules move around in the thermosphere will help us to understand the chemistry and weather in the top layer of the atmosphere, and enable us to better predict atmospheric drag on satellites and the impact of space weather on the atmosphere.

G7 Academies Statement on Heritage and Disasters

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golcuk mosque

The IRDR provided input into the G7 Academies Statement on Cultural heritage: building resilience to natural disasters. This statement is now live on the Royal Society website: Professor Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society, represented the Royal Society in the handover of the statement to Italian Ministers Franceschini and Padoan:

CASCADES@IRDR contributed to UNISDR’s new “Words into Action guidelines” on National Disaster Risk Assessment

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The United Nations Office For Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has just released the new interim version of its “Words into Action” Guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment. 

IRDR PhD student chosen to present at L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Ceremony

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Fellowship winners

On 4th May 2017, The Royal Society in London hosted the 10th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship Awards. For the last 10 years this annual Fellowship program has supported outstanding female postdoctoral researchers to continue their research. As part of the L’Oréal-UNESCO wider programme aimed at supporting and increasing the number of women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions, this year the awards ceremony included, for the second time, a poster competition for female PhD students in the UK and Ireland. Amy Chadderton, PhD student in the IRDR, was selected from over 500 entries as one of the final ten PhD students and was invited to present her PhD research at the Awards Ceremony. Here is her account of the evening:

From MSc to Contributing to UK Government Policy on Space Weather

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Rachel Ewer 

April 2017

Studying space weather at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) made it clear this field represents a key emerging risk for business sectors with employment prospects in policy, commercial operations, risk planning and business continuity. My dissertation on ‘The Impact of Space Weather on UK Business Continuity’ looked at the use of space weather forecasts by businesses to mitigate and manage potentially harmful impacts. Working with the UK Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC) I researched a cross-section of their forecast client group; I then evaluated the impacts of space weather on business, the level of awareness in key vulnerable sectors including critical infrastructure, how business continuity plans addressed these potential impacts, and the mitigation measures in place. Where there were gaps in knowledge, I highlighted areas where improvements could be made and offered recommendations. 

New research publication: Understanding the Economic Impact of Space Weather

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The Sun and conditions in space that contribute to space weather can impact on human activity and technology both in space, in the air and on Earth. In 1859, the largest space weather event ever recorded occurred, known as the Carrington event. In addition to the global aurora, telegraph operators reported sparks from their equipment and fires caused by the power surge. That happened at a time when technology was

Panel Discussion: Risk Finance for the Developing World 

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panel discussion

 8th March 2017

Last week, UCL partnered with DAI Europe to bring together panelists from UCL and wider academia, as well as public and private sector actors, including the risk modelling and insurance industries, to discuss the prevailing challenges in contemporary risk financing in today’s developing world.

Best Student Presentation Award at International Workshop

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Tasnuva Award

10th International Workshop on Statistical Seismology in Wellington, New Zealand, 20-24th February, 2017

UCL IRDR Projects Win Funding

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Projects led by UCL’s Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction and Department of Statistical Science are among 29 that have been backed by the Building Resilience research programme to tackle a range of life-threatening hazards, from droughts and land degradation to volcanoes, earthquakes and flooding. The programme, run by the NERC, ESRC and AHRC, forms part of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), a £1·5bn UK government fund to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.

DTP ESRC funded PhD Research Studentships for October 2017

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Qualification type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Closes: 3rd February 2017

Job Alerts: Humanitarian KE Associate and Earthquake Teaching Fellow

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We are currently recruiting 2 exciting new posts in the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction:

UCL IRDR-CNDS Workshop Report, 26th-27th October, Uppsala University

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A joint workshop between UCL IRDR and CNDS (Center for Natural Disaster Science) was held at Uppsala University on 26-27 October; the latest activity in a long lasting collaboration. CNDS is one of the leading institutions on disaster studies in Sweden, consisting of Uppsala University, Swedish Defence College and Karlstad University. The Centre benefits from the support of several Swedish authorities, including the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).

Motorola Solutions Foundation provide Scholarships for IRDR MSc Risk, Disaster and Resilience

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The IRDR are delighted to announce two scholarship opportunities through the Motorola Solutions Foundation. These are to assist high-level academic study of risk, disasters and resilience from a cross-disciplinary perspective with students from a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of discipline, experience and location.

AXA Research Fellowship: Call for Applications for UCL Shortlisting 2016/17

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AXA Research Fund

UCL triage application deadline: 27th October 2016

AXA full application deadline: 6th December 2016

Recent Publications from the IRDR

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IRDR Logo Black

Three papers have recently been published by members of the IRDR covering a wide range of topics related to risk and hazards. The three papers are summarised below, and links to the full texts are included.

Devastating earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, on 24 August 2016

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UCL IRDR's Joanna Faure Walker on CNN Amatrice EQ 2016

Summary and media appearances from UCL IRDR experts

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the Umbria and Lazio regions of central Italy at 3.36am local time (2.26am BST) yesterday (Wednesday 24th August). At the time of publishing, 159 people have been killed and the search and rescue operation is ongoing. The earthquake was felt as far away as Rome (160km away), Venice and Naples. The epicentral region is made up of many small villages, and is a popular holiday destination for Italians. Roads are small and the region is very mountainous, which appears to be hindering recovery efforts. 

Symposium on Facing Disasters: International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Responses

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UCL Fukushima Symposium

Based on experience from the Great East-Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, the aim of this public symposium held on the 28th July in UCL was to discuss how to build safety systems and resilience against future disasters in the region. Scientific views of, and human problems after the disaster were discussed with talks given by representatives of academia, industry and Japanese local government. The symposium keynote lecture was delivered by Prof. Peter Sammonds (Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction). Other speakers included two PhD students from the IRDR, Serena Tagliacozzo and Omar Velazquez Ortiz, who spoke about their experiences visiting the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant and the communications during and after the disaster.  Dr Ilan Kelman also spoke about maternal psychological heath following the disaster. More information about their visit to Japan can be found on the IRDR blog.

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