UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


UCL IRDR 11th Annual Conference: Why Warnings Matter, and the UCL Warning Research Centre Launch

23 June 2021, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

Wildfire warning sign

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction welcome researchers, students, practitioners, policymakers, the media and the general public to a day of thought-provoking discussions on why warnings matter, and how we can do better at warnings both prior and during crises for all hazard types. This event will also launch the UCL Warning Research Centre.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Dr Carina Fearnley – UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Missed the Conference?

Catch up with the livestreamed sessions on our Annual Conference YouTube playlist.

Following a challenging year of managing natural hazards, including COVID-19, this one-day online event will provide thought-provoking talks, interactive discussions and online networking opportunities on why warnings matter. In addition, the UCL Warning Research Centre as part of the Department of Science and Technology Studies will be launched. The event will explore the role, design, use, and evaluation of warnings for different hazards from different stakeholder perspectives to examine how effective people-centred warning systems can be developed and help to be prepared for both the expected and unexpected. The event is hosted by the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and the Warning Research Centre.

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction welcome researchers, students, practitioners, policymakers, the media and the general public to a day of thought-provoking discussions on why warnings matter, and how we can do better at warnings both prior and during crises for all hazard types. Our in-house and guest experts will present a global perspective on the latest research and analysis through talks, interactive discussions and in conversation. We will explore multi-dimensional aspects of warnings, considering their physical, social, economic, environmental, institutional, political, cultural and gendered dimensions, and the challenges involved in making warnings successful to mitigate against losses.

Conference programme

09:00–09:45Master's applicant and offer holder Meet and Greet with staff (invitation only)
10:00–10:10Welcome by Professor Peter Sammonds, UCL IRDR Director
10:10–10:30Conference inauguration: A word on warnings. [Dr Carina Fearnley]
10:30–11:30Panel Discussion 1: Warning Systems – Exceptional versus expected events. [Moderator: Dr Joanna Faure Walker]
11.30–12:00Tea break (with networking on Zoom)

Keynote: Mami Mizutori, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). Warnings and the launch of the Warning Research Centre. [Moderator: Professor Ilan Kelman]

13:00–14:00Lunch break (with networking on Zoom)
14:00–14.45In Conversation with Dr Oliver Morgan (WHO) and Dr Gail Carson (GOARN), interviewed by journalist Andrew Revkin
14.45–15.45Panel Discussion 2: Warnings for organisations. [Moderator: Dr Gianluca Pescaroli]
15.45–16.15Tea break (with networking on Zoom)
16.15–17:00UCL IRDR Phd and MRes Research Showcase [Xiao Han]
17:00–17:15Conference closing [Professor Peter Sammonds]
17:30–18:00Masters applicant and offer holder Meet and Greet with staff (invitation only)

Confirmed speakers

Panel Discussion 1: Warning Systems – Exceptional versus expected events

Mickey Glantz, University of Colorado

Mickey Glanz
Mickey Glantz is a social scientist at the University of Colorado and director of the Consortium for Capacity Building. Throughout his career he has sought to bridge meteorological and hydrologic science communities with the social sciences and humanities worldwide to increase awareness among political leaders and the general public about the interactions of climate, water, weather, and society. Recent works focus on coping with El Niño-related hydro-meteorological disasters in a changing climate, EWS and Forecast Hesitancy.  



Daniel Straub, Technical University of Munich 

Daniel STraub
Daniel Straub is Professor for Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). He focuses on optimal decision making under uncertainty by combining stochastic modeling and data-driven methods. 

Find Daniel on LinkedIn.

Rebekah Yore, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Rebekah Yore

Rebekah is a UCL IRDR PhD candidate with ten years of experience working for NGOS in the development and humanitarian fields. Her research comprises disaster risk mitigation processes before, during and in the first few months and years following an event.

Rebekah’s research demonstrates how transitional phases to disaster recovery can be crucial time periods for determining the longer-term vulnerability of hazard-exposed populations. Through analysing global microinsurance case studies as mechanism for disaster preparedness, Rebekah has examined the value of considering such initiatives through both a humanitarian and business lens. Her fieldwork-led studies on the effectiveness of warning systems support the notion of warnings as process in which scientific, communication, social and infrastructure components must be considered as highly interrelated, accounting for culture, understanding, trust, perception and decision-making among the individuals affected.

Find Rebekah on LinkedIn.

Moderator: Joanna Faure Walker, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction 

Joanna Faure Walker is Associate Professor in Risk and Disaster Reduction, IRDR Director of Studies and Graduate Tutor (Taught). Her research focuses on earthquake geology and seismic hazard, including faults in the Earth's continental crust to better understand the physical processes controlling earthquake locations, timing and generation. She is also interested in disaster resilience, especially topics such as risk perception, warning and shelter. and her teaching encompasses earthquakes and other natural hazards, disaster-related vulnerability and risk, and integrating science into decision-making. Joanna has industry experience working for the catastrophe modelling firm RMS and academic consultancy practice for clients such as the World Bank.

Find Joanna on LinkedIn.

Keynote speech

Mami Mizutori, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

Mami Mizutori
Mami Mizutori is the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The role of UNDRR is to support countries and stakeholders in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030).


Moderator: Ilan Kelman, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and UCL Institute for Global Health 

Ilan profile photo
Ilan Kelman is Professor of Disasters and Health jointly appointed between IRDR and Institute for Global Health. His main research interests link disaster and health topics through (i) diplomacy, namely disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy; (ii) climate change; and (iii) island and polar locations. Bringing his research into the classroom means coordinating modules on 'Conflict, Humanitarianism, and Disaster Risk Reduction' and 'Climate change and health'. He lectures on migration, sustainability, gender, and disability, connecting practice with theories of vulnerability, resilience, disasters, islandness, Arcticness, and climate change's role. His recent consultancies have been for the international and national agencies as well as the private and non-profit sectors, and his work has appeared throughout the media around the world.

Find Ilan in LinkedIn.

In conversation

Oliver Morgan, World Health Organisation

Oliver Morgan
Oliver Morgan is the Director of the Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment Department in the WHO Health Emergencies Program. From 2007 through 2016, Dr. Morgan worked for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during which time he held critical leadership positions in the Ebola response between November 2014 and February 2016 (CDC Atlanta Ebola Response Incident Manger and CDC Country Director in Sierra Leone). From March 2010 to October 2014, Dr. Morgan was the CDC Country Director in the Dominican Republic.  Dr. Morgan was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at CDC from 2007 to 2009 with the International Emerging Infections Program, during which time he conducted projects in Thailand, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, and Guatemala. 

Before joining CDC, Dr. Morgan worked for the UK Health Protection Agency, leading epidemiological investigations of outbreaks (enteric, vaccine preventable, hospital acquired, zoonotic, respiratory, and sexually acquired infections), chemical and radiation exposure incidents, terrorist bombings in London, natural disasters, and humanitarian civil conflicts.  Dr. Morgan has also worked as a consultant to WHO/PAHO in several countries.  Dr. Morgan’s academic achievements include a doctorate in epidemiology from Imperial College London and extensive publication in peer reviewed journals and reference books. 

Gail Carson, GOARN (Global Outbreak and Response Network)


Gail Carson
ail Carson is Director of Network Development at the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium. She is a Consultant in Infectious Diseases who in 2012 moved from Public Health England, Porton Down to help set up the global federation of the hospital based clinical research networks called ISARIC. She was frustrated with trying to provide clinicians during outbreaks with clinical management advice based on weak evidence. ISARIC was set up to try to make sure that clinical research is done and done quickly during outbreaks. ISARIC has responded to COVID19 via CoCIN and ISARIC4C, via a pre-approved Clinical Characterisation Protocol (CCP) in the UK and internationally with a database hosting 500,000 patient entries from over 50 countries.
Andrew Revkin, Columbia University

Andrew Revkin
Andrew Revkin, one of America’s most honored environmental journalists, is the founding director of the Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University's Earth Institute. He has written on climate change and disaster risk for more than 30 years, mostly for The New York Times and held senior positions at National Geographic Society and Discover Magazine.


Panel Discussion 2: Warnings for organisations

Catia Guimares, InterContinental Hotels Group

Catia Guimares
Catia is Director, Global Resilience at IHG Hotels & Resorts. She is responsible for overseeing the Strategic Resilience, ERM, Crisis and BC management programs for a UK FTSE 100 company globally. She coordinates the strategy, development and implementation of activities at all levels and has been directly involved in crisis response for various events, including natural disasters, cyber and covid-19.

Find Catia on LinkedIn.

Emily Hough, Crisis Response Journal

Emily Hough
Emily Hough is founder and Editor in Chief of the Crisis Response Journal, the interdisciplinary global publication that explores risk, prevention, mitigation, response and resilience in the face of natural hazards and human-caused emergencies.


Andy Marshall, AstraZeneca

Andy Marshall
Andy Marshall is Group Policy Owner and Group Director, Business Continuity at AstraZeneca. He is a resilience professional with extensive front-line leadership and consulting experience in the public and private sectors in the UK and globally. His areas of expertise include resilience policy development and exercise design and delivery. In his spare time, Andy is a keen horse-rider and show-jumper.

Find Andy on LinkedIn.

Jeremy Reynolds, London Fire Brigade

Jeremy Reynolds
Jeremy Reynolds is London Resilience Manager for London Fire Brigade. He is also currently studying for his PhD with the UCL IRDR with a focus on learning from organisations regarding adaptive capacity and their relevance to urban resilience planning.

Find Jeremy on LInkedIn

Moderator: Gianluca Pescaroli, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Gianluca Pescaroli
Gianluca Pescaroli is Programme Director for the Risk, Disaster and Resilience MSc and a lecturer in Business Continuity and Organisational Resilience. HIs research investigates how to build and improve the ability to maintain operations during disruptive events, how to minimise their impacts and how to increase the resilience of the public and private sectors. This includes learning to understand complex challenges such as cascading risks, critical infrastructure failures, cross-sectoral interdependencies, and compound dynamics. 

Find Gianluca on LinkedIn.

Get involved

Tweet #IRDR11

Submit your questions in the webinar Q&A or in advance to irdr-comms@ucl.ac.uk

Master's student meet and greet sessions

If you have applied for a place on one of our postgraduate programmes, we invite you to attend one of our meet and greet sessions. We are holding two dedicated sessions at either end of the Annual Conference for you to meet our staff and current students in an informal online space. It's a chance for you to find out more about the courses, the department and the team, and ask us any questions you have. Invitations with login details will be sent to applicants by email, but if you don't receive your invitation, please email irdr-comms@ucl.ac.uk.

Please note, this event will be livestreamed on the UCL IRDR YouTube channel and recorded. By attending the event you consent to this.