Contact IRDR


Phone: 02031081101

Ext: 51101

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


Tracing the surface ruptures of the Kumamoto earthquake (16th April 2016), Kyushu, Japan

Publication date:

Figure 1 Zoe

On the 10-11th May, Zoë Mildon, a PhD student in the IRDR, assisted with mapping the surface ruptures from the recent Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan. She is currently on a four-month fellowship at IRIDeS (International Research Institute of Disaster Science) in Tohoku University, and was assisting Prof. Shinji Toda (IRIDeS) and Dr Daisuke Ishimura (formerly IRIDeS) with the field survey.

Launch of new UCL IRDR Continuing Professional Development Courses in September 2016

Publication date:

IRDR Logo Black

We are pleased to announce the launch of two exciting new UCL IRDR CPD courses:

  • Business risk and resilience in the face of disasters: a research based workshop for leaders

Landslide Early Warning System Development in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Publication date:

Bayes Certificate

Two members of the IRDR, Bayes Ahmed and Prof. David Alexander have been involved in a project in Bangladesh, developing a Web-GIS based early warning system for communities in Chittagong, Bangladesh that at risk of landslides. This project took place between June 2014 and September 2015 and involved fieldwork in the at risk areas.

IRDR members visit the Fukushima Prefecture

Publication date:


By Serena Tagliacozzo

Six IRDR members recently visited the areas affected by the tsunami and the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011. The group consisted of four PhD students – Omar Velazquez, Nurmala Nurdin, Serena Tagliacozzo and Zoe Mildon, one Master’s student – Sandra Camacho Otero - and David Alexander, Professor of Disaster Risk Reduction at UCL IRDR.  Their experience has been covered in a recent blog post and in international newspapers (see here and here). Zoe Mildon, third year PhD student at UCL IRDR, is currently spending 4 months at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan - which is in the region affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster - after winning the prestigious JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) grant (read more).

Concluding Report of the IRDR Discussion Forum: Heritage and Disasters

Publication date:


The UCL Institute for Risk and Disasters Reduction (IRDR) successfully held its public event in form of a panel discussion on Heritage and Disasters at UCL on 9th March from 18.00 to 21.00. Five panelists from academia and practice engaged in a vibrant and lively discussion on how to protect cultural heritage from disasters such as earthquakes and conflicts. There were 120 registrants from heritage and disaster studies and practice. It was exciting to see that most of attendees were from the heritage sector, e.g. museums, heritage studies and NGOs. The attendees enjoyed an interactive and thought-provoking discussion with the panelists.  A drinks reception during which attendees could network and continue their informal discussions followed the discussion.

International Workshop in Bangkok on Groundwater Resilience

Publication date:

IRDR Research Fellow, Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (Shams) is coordinating an International Workshop on "Resilience of Groundwater Systems to Climate Change and Human Development" in Bangkok, Thailand from 7th to 11th February 2016. The British Council, together with the Thailand Research Fund, is supporting this international workshop through the Researcher Links Programme. This workshop will for the first time enable numerous young researchers and academics from both UK and Thailand to meet and brainstorm on the topic of groundwater resilience - an issue critical for adaptation to climate change and human development. The workshop is co-convened by UCL IRDR and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Thailand. Dr Shamsudduha is leading the UK team of 16 young researchers and academics from 10 different universities across the UK. Associate Professor, Dr. Uma Seeboonruang is leading the Thai team of 24 scientists, several early career researchers and a cohort of graduate students from across Thailand. This workshop aims at establishing a long-lasting research collaboration and network between UCL and KMITL and other Thai research institutes.

The IRDR goes to AGU 2015

Publication date:

sally agu

In December 2015, a contingent of researchers from the IRDR travelled to San Francisco, USA, to present talks and posters at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. The Fall Meeting is the largest annual conference in earth science, and brings together almost 24,000 academics and practitioners. The attendees from the IRDR included both PhD students (Amy Chadderton, Sally Scourfield, Luke Wedmore, Katerina Stavrianaki) and faculty (Dr. Gordon Ross and Prof. Peter Sammonds). Our IRDR representatives gave a range of oral and poster presentations, including volcanic and earthquake processes and ice friction. This highlights the diversity of research that the IRDR now undertakes in the natural sciences.

Urban Change in Iran

Publication date:

Urban Change in Iran Book Cover

The start of year 2016 saw the publication of a new book entitled Urban Change in Iranco-edited by Dr. Farnaz Arefian  (UCL-IRDR).  Published by Springer International Publishing, the book provides an in depth case study for understanding complexities of urban transformation, using cross-disciplinary perspectives. This book, based on conference excerpts, investigates various aspects of contemporary Iranian urbanism. 

IRDR Alumni Dinner

Publication date:

alumni dinner

Reflecting the growing body of IRDR graduates, the Institute held its second annual Alumni Dinner in November. The event was attended by a number of IRDR members, associates and returning scholars, as well as current staff and students.

New UCL-IRDR & CNDS network established: call for researchers working on disasters-related topics across UCL

Publication date:

CNDS Photo

The Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction at UCL is promoting and improving collaboration with the Center for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS) in Sweden. The CNDS includes brings together several organisations including Uppsala University, Karlstad University and Swedish Defense College. Two postgraduate students initiated the collaboration last year and it has resulted in a visit to Sweden (funded by the Uppsala Forum grant) and a student-led doctoral workshop on Disaster Research last June at UCL. The workshop had thirty-two attendees, mixed between academics and students, coming from several departments at UCL and CNDS. A summary of the topics discussed can be found here. We intend to expand our network to anyone, either student or senior academic, who is working on disaster-related topics across UCL departments. This collaboration is cross-disciplinary and its aim is to develop a better understanding of how to reduce the impacts of disasters. To achieve this goal, we believe it is crucial to establish a collaboration and partnership between researchers coming from a range of disciplines and research institutes based in different countries.

Young Scientist Award for IRDR PhD Student

Publication date:

Omar Conference

Dr Carmine Galasso and Omar Velazquez have attended and presented their work on ‘Engineering Applications of Earthquake Early Warning’ at the 'Earthquake and Induced Multi-Risk Early Warning and Rapid Response' workshop in Luxembourg, between the 18th and the 20th of November.

Now recruiting: Enterprise and Promotions Manager. Application deadline Friday 11th December

Publication date:

UCL IRDR is seeking to appoint an enterprise and promotions manager. This post is available for 1 year in the first instance and is full time (though a fractional appointment or job-share would be considered).

Communicating water monitoring in Bolivia

Publication date:

Reworking mine tailings

Dr Megan French of the UCL IRDR recently completed her project on assessing water risk from mining on the Bolivian Altiplano, working with Dr Stephen Edwards (UCL Hazard Centre and IRDR) and Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards (Birkbeck, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences). The project was co-funded by the IRDR and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and was undertaken in collaboration with CENDA (Centro de Comunicación y Desarrollo Andino) in Bolivia. A lot was learned about the challenges of undertaking research to provide usable results at community level. The biggest impact has been the use of the results of the study to raise awareness of water quality and availability issues in the Pazña and Poopó sub-basins at government and community levels. The outcome is that the research has enabled CENDA to work with the Bolivian Vice Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to set up the Water Quality Monitoring System for the Poopó and Pazña Rivers, with the participation of the Regional Government of Oruro, the municipal governments of Poopó and Pazña, community water monitoring groups and local actors. A key achievement is the involvement of communities, as this gives legitimacy to the work of communities and civil society organisations in Bolivia. For more information, please contact Stephen Edwards at

Call for UCL Applications for AXA Research Fund post-doctoral Fellowships

Publication date:

AXA Research Fund

The 2015 AXA Research Fund (ARF) Post-doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme will open in late November. This year UCL will be allowed to put forward up to 4 candidates to apply for this scheme (exact number TBC in mid-November). In anticipation of receiving a quota and of there being more interested candidates than allocated places, we are now inviting proposals from candidates wishing to be put forward by UCL. Research proposals should focus on a better understanding of risk (where the word risk is connected to phenomena that are perceived - or yet to be perceived - as hazards or threats and which must be identified and measured for frequency and impact.)

IRDR 5th Annual Conference Report

Publication date:

Arctic Panorama

The UCL IRDR Fifth Annual Conference marked five years since the launch of the Institute, and another year of sustained growth where we have continued to move from strength to strength. Highlights of the last year can be seen in our Annual Report.

UCL-IRDR Third Academic Summit Report

Publication date:


UCL-IRDR held its Third Academic Summit on Wednesday 24th June 2015. The theme was "Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience - Strengthening the Links between Academics and Practitioners". Four panels of distinguished experts wwre convened to discuss the following topics: (a) making academic research more useful to practitioners; (b) improving communication between academics and practitioners; (c) training, teaching and exercising challenges, and (d) bridging the gaps with integrated research. Six main conclusions were reached during the discussion. (1) The work of practitioners, together with applied academic work on their behalf, is the crucible of ideas for academic research and the teaching that it informs. (2) Open minded, exploratory relationships between academics and practitioners can help facilitate needs assessments and projects that are mutually beneficial. (3) Practitioners tend to learn incrementally through an "apprenticeship" based on accumulated experience. This can be augmented by academic knowledge, which can help dispel misconceptions and introduce broad issues. (4) There is no simple barrier to overcome between academics and practitioners, as there are many kinds of the latter and many agendas. Relationships needs to be two-way. (5) Practitioners want academics to provide interdisciplinary research and training. Academics need to resist the pressures against this sort of work and ensure that promises of interdisciplinary contributions can be fulfilled. (6) Academics need to seek, and practitioners need to supply, feedback about what is beneficial, so that the right teaching, research and service will be conducted.

The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change

Publication date:

The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change was released on 23 June at the Wellcome Trust in London. IRDR's Ilan Kelman was one of dozens of co-authors on the report published in the journal The Lancet setting the stage for climate change and health research, policy, and action. Issues include:

Newly published IRDR Annual Report 2015

Publication date:

IRDR Report 2015 Cover

In this report, we highlight the achievements and progress of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction in the academic year 2014-2015 as we continue our vision for the IRDR to lead and coordinate UCL research, knowledge exchange with industry and humanitarian agencies, and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction.

The threat from space weather

Publication date:

Space weather is a global threat to the technologically driven financial sector, on the 27th May a symposium was held at the Royal Society to examine the risk posed and the resilience of the financial sector.

Reducing risks to public health from saline water in coastal Bangladesh

Publication date:

Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (Shams), an IRDR Research Fellow is collaborating on a research project ‘Health impacts of a climate change adaptation strategy to address drinking-water salinity in coastal Bangladesh’ which has just been funded (£360k) by the Wellcome Trust. The project is led by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR’B) and a number of institutions including UCL, Dhaka University, Stanford University and Emory University are jointly conducting this research in the coastal region of Bangladesh.

A Report on Arctic Fieldwork, Svalbard, March 2015

Publication date:


In March 2015 a team from the IRDR consisting of Prof. Peter Sammonds, Dr. Ben Lishman, Sally Scourfield and Andrew Goldsmith travelled to Svalbard in order to undertake Arctic fieldwork. With much logistical support from the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), the team travelled by snow scooter to the mining town of Svea. From here it was possible to work on sea ice in the Van Mijenfjorden fjord.

New UCL research reveals key controls on groundwater arsenic pollution in Bangladesh

Publication date:

Groundwater fed irrigation in Bangladesh

Groundwater-fed irrigation associated with lower arsenic in Bangladesh

IRDR Special Report on Arctic Risks

Publication date:

Giant icebergs

In September 2014, the IRDR hosted a meeting on Arctic Risk Scenarios. We see the Arctic as an area of increasing risk, due to rapid changes in its geography and economy. Technological risks and disasters – think for example of Deepwater Horizonor Costa Concordia – are often complex, with multiple interlinked causes. To understand such risks, and their potential consequences, requires a breadth of expertise: technological, but also commercial, legal, sociological and governmental. Our meeting was an opportunity to bring these fields together to consider two (hypothetical) case studies: a cruise ship sinking off Svalbard, and a wellhead blowout in the Kara Sea.

Now Recruiting: Research Associate in Risk and Disaster Reduction

Publication date:

fortress logo

UCL Department / Division: UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction
Grade: 7
Hours: Full Time

Now recruiting Lectureship in Space Environment Risk Reduction

Publication date:

A new joint lectureship position has been created between UCL IRDR and the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). The lectureship will focus on the understanding, assessment and mitigation of risks associated with the Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere, either in association with space plasma events (e.g. space weather) or as an indicator of developing high-risk situations (e.g. earthquakes). 

IRDR Special Report on Transitional Recovery and Reconstruction in the Eastern Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda

Publication date:

IRDR Special Report 2014-01 image of Typhoon Yolanda damage

In March 2014, four months after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), a collaborative field survey between UCL-IRDR and Tohoku University-IRIDeS was conducted in order to compare the effects of domestic and imported aid and assistance on the quality and speed of recovery and the vulnerability during the transitional phase between the initial emergency and long-term recovery and reconstruction. The team, comprised of Dr. Joanna Faure Walker and Prof. David Alexander from UCL-IRDR, Mr Joshua Macabuag from UCL-EPICentre and Dr. Anawat Suppasri from IRIDeS at Tohoku University, conducted interviews and accompanying structural engineering surveys of the respondents' dwellings for 160 households in 12 coastal barangays (districts) in Leyte, Eastern Visayas. Initial findings from the survey show:

Focus on the Positive

Publication date:

Hand-tubewell at a school in coastal Bangladesh

Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (“Shams”), a Research Fellow in the Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, has recently won a runner-up prize (£1,000) in UCL’s public engagement event Focus on the Positive for successfully pitching a research idea of installing hand-operated tubewells for vulnerable rural communities in coastal Bangladesh. The title of his pitch was “Finding Sources of “Fresh” Drinking Water for Communities in Coastal Bangladesh.” Shams was one of 4 competitors who pitched their ideas to an audience of 60 very engaged people from the University of the Third Age (U3A). The prize money will be used to install two hand-operated deep (depth >250m) tubewells in the coastal region of Bangladesh where there is a severe scarcity of ‘fresh’ drinking water as most surface water and groundwater sources are contaminated with high salinity. Shams is currently working on a UK-AID (former DFID)-funded research project (Groundwater resources in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: resilience to climate change and pumping) in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. Under this project, Shams and his colleagues from UCL, Bangladesh and India are investigating the security of deep groundwater in the Bengal Basin in the face of climate change and human development.

UK - Japan Symposium and Workshop on Disasters

Publication date:

Poster presentations and reception at the Workshop on Disaster Research

21-23 November 2013

After Fukushima: risk and resilience to disasters in Japan

Publication date:

UCL Lunch Hour Public Lecture 19th  November 2013

The Japanese islands face an extraordinary range of natural hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, lahars and tropical cyclones. In the wake of the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, Prof Sammonds looks at the impact of disasters, recovery and the building of resilience to natural hazards in Japan.

IRDR Newsletter: October 2013 

Publication date:

Search UCL News