UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Risk and Disaster Reduction Careers Discovery Evening 2024

21 February 2024, 5:30 pm–8:00 pm

People talking at the careers event

Find out about a range of careers and other opportunities in risk and disaster reduction, and meet potential employers.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Sarah Jeal – UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre and Roberts Foyer
Roberts (Engineering) Building
Malet Place
United Kingdom

Each year, the IRDR brings together employers from the humanitarian and risk and disaster reduction sectors to give students a feel for the different careers open to them. As well as a short talks session, there is also an exhibition space where you can meet employers, IRDR alumni and current PhD students to find out more about opportunities available and the routes into different roles. It's a great opportunity to expand your professional networks, start making connections in your chosen field and identify potential placement hosts. The IRDR will also be there to answer any questions about studying one of our degree programmes. The event is free and open to all.

Talks: 5.30–6.30pm

This section will include speakers from the commercial, public, academic, and NGO sectors whose organisations have roles and interests in the area of risk and disaster reduction. They will all introduce details of the risk and disaster related opportunities and roles available in their sector, the specific opportunities in their company, and offer advice on how to be the best candidate for these opportunities. Many of the organisations are international or have global offices. You don’t have to attend the talks, but they’re a great introduction to our exhibitor organisations.

Caroline Zastiral, Disaster Risk Reduction and Early Action Advisor, International Directorate, British Red Cross

Caroline has been working with the British Red Cross based in London since 2016, supporting Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies around the world and the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent with programmes, guidance and training in the area of disaster risk reduction as well as anticipatory action. Before joining the Red Cross, Caroline was based in Asia for 10 years and worked as programme manager with Plan International, UNDP and the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI). Caroline is a German national and studied International Relations at the University of Southern California (B.A.) and European studies at the Westphalian University of Muenster and University Twente (M.A & MSc.). 

Natalie van Eck , Manager, Verisk Extreme Event Solutions

Natalie van Eck has been a Manager at Verisk Extreme Event Solutions for the past two years in the client services and consulting team. Here she works closely with clients who license Verisk products to utilise these tools to help manage and mitigate their catastrophe risk. She also works internally with a talented and dedicated team who come from a multi-disciplinary background, including business, math, IT or geography related degrees, to achieve the best solutions for clients.

Prior to working at Verisk, she has worked in the London Catastrophe Modelling market for 12 years, including working as a Treaty modeller at a couple of London Syndicates and modelling reinsurance clients’ portfolios at a Reinsurance Broker. She has an MSc from UCL in Geophysical Hazards and a BSc from the University of Reading in Physical Geography.

Abbie Cartmell, EPRR Training, Exercising and Development Manager, NHS England – London 

Abbie is an Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management graduate from Kingston University and has worked at a number of London Local Authorities including LB Croydon before joining NHS England. Abbie has a particular interest in Training and Exercising and her current role links training and exercising strategy, coordination, and delivery. Over her even years working in EPRR the public sector, she has designed and delivered numerous training sessions and also command post, live and tabletop exercises to a variety of audiences.   

Jack Giddings, Comsultant, JBA Risk Management

Jack joined JBA in 2021 as a data quality scientist after completing a PhD in Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia, investigated the effect of chlorophyll on surface ocean properties in the Indian and Southern Oceans. Jack now works as a consultant for JBA, working with clients to understand their needs, applying our models and tools to solve their problems, helping them understand our data and delivering the results they require. He has a focus on supporting clients requiring analysis of individual, high risk, complex locations.

Alex Buxton and Daniel Gaffney, Cabinet Office

Alex Buxtion is Head of Policy and Standards in the Crisis Management Excellence Programme (CMEP) within the COBR Unit in Cabinet Office. CMEP is responsible for the professionalisation of crisis management in government through a combination of formal training, informal knowledge sharing, exercising, and a cross-government community of like-minded professionals. In his capacity as Head of Policy and Standards, Alex is responsible for maintaining and updating government's crisis management doctrine, setting crisis management standards, providing expert advice, and supporting cross-government collaboration on the review, development and validation of crisis management frameworks and plans.

Daniel Gaffney is Legislation and Local Capabilities Policy Adviser in the Cabinet Office Resilience Directorate. He leads on providing expert policy advice on the legislation and guidance that underpins local resilience arrangements and the duties on categorised responders, as set out in Part 1 of the Civil Contingencies Act. In this capacity, Daniel is responsible for implementing the recommendations outlined in the 2022 Post-Implementation Review of the Civil Contingencies Act and, in alignment with the objectives of the UK Government Resilience Framework, working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to meet the Integrated Review commitment to consider strengthening the roles and responsibilities of Local Resilience Forums (LRFs). Daniel also worked on the recent publication of updated Lead Government Department Responsibilities and provides wider policy advice on the Lead Government Department Model. In previous roles, Daniel has worked in DLUHC on the delivery of the Building Safety Act, as a Private Secretary in DHSC and as a Project Support Officer in Kent Resilience Team.

Jacob Vriens, Marsh Strategic Risk Consulting

Jacob Vriens is a consultant on Marsh's Crisis, Reslience & Reputation team. He joined Marsh from the Austrian Mission to the United Nations, where he covered the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, UN COVID-19 business continuity measures and the Black Sea Grain deal. Before that, he worked with the CyberPeace Institute in Geneva to reduce the harm of cyber-attacks to under resourced humanitarian organisations. Besides Jacob’s academic background in Risk and Disaster Reduction, he also brings unique research skills from his work in investigative and supply chain due diligence (OSINT) for large institutional investors and corporations.

Dr Chris Needham-Bennett, Managing Director, Needhams 1834 Ltd and Visiting Professor at IRDR UCL

Chris has at various times been a debt collector (corporate), an iron foundry director, a ski instructor, a paratrooper, and since 1996 has run Needhams 1834, a small leading bespoke resilience consultancy. He is also a visiting professor at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.

Needhams 1834 has been a small leading bespoke resilience consultancy since 1996. We work with a wide variety of clients around the world. These range from global conglomerates to major law firms. We offer the full gamut of resilience services from plan authorship to sophisticated rehearsals and exercises. Our consultants are all academically qualified, have managed operational risk in their own right and have held significant commercial budgets. We all have a passion for resilience and risk and have authored several papers in the trade press to develop thinking in the field.

Panayotis Koulovasilopoulos, Hiscox

Speaker details to follow.

Jacob van Nieuwkerk, Senior Analyst, Consulting Service, Moody's RMS

Jacob van Nieuwkerk is a Senior Analyst in the Moody's RMS Consulting Services team. He works with both public and private entities to assess and manage their exposure to catastrophe and climate risks across the globe, including resilience-focused parametric trigger design, quantification of the impact of risk mitigation measures in the power sector and modelling the risk to ILS transactions. Jacob has an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience from UCL.

Exhibitor stalls: 6.30–8pm

Following the talks will be an exhibition space with exhibitors from commercial organisations, international NGOs, the public sector, and academia. Join them at their stands to discuss job opportunities in their organisations, many of which are global, as well as volunteering and internship opportunities. We'll also have IRDR alumni and current PhD students on hand to share their experiences and answer questions about their career journeys so far.

Cabinet Office, COBR Unit

The COBR Unit is the UK Government's central response team in the Cabinet Office. COBR Unit works with Departments and their sectors to identify emerging acute domestic risks to the UK, develop contingency plans, and lead the Government's response when risks materialise. 

Website: www.civil-service-careers.gov.uk/departments/working-for-the-cabinet-office/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/cabinet-office/

UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care 

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction offers MSc, MRes, PGDip, PGCert and PhD programmes in:

  • Risk and Disaster Reduction
  • Risk Disaster and Resilience
  • Risk and Disaster Science

Details of these programmes can be found on our graduate study webpages.

Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/risk-disaster-reduction/study
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ucl-institute-for-risk-and-disaster-reduction

The UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care offers a related Master's:

Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/epidemiology-health-care/ 
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ucl-institute-of-epidemiology-and-health-care

Further information on all of our courses will be available at our recruitment stall, along with the chance to ask questions of our academic staff and current students.

Verisk Extreme Event Solutions

For over fifty years and through innovation, interpretation, and professional insight, Verisk has replaced uncertainty with precision to unlock opportunities that deliver significant and demonstrable impact. From our historic roots in risk assessment, we’ve grown to provide analytic insights that help transform industries focused on some of the world’s most critical areas. Today, the insurance industry relies on Verisk to be, and to make the world, more productive, resilient, and sustainable.

Verisk works in collaboration with our customers and at the intersection of people, data, and advanced technologies. Through proprietary platformed analytics, advanced modeling, and interpretation, we deliver immediate and sustained value to our customers and through them, to the individuals and societies they serve, with greater speed, precision, and scale.

In 2022, Verisk received Great Place to Work® Certification for our outstanding workplace culture for the sixth year in a row and second-time certification in the UK, Spain, and India.

Website: www.verisk.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/verisk-analytics/

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We help vulnerable people in the UK and abroad prepare for, withstand and recover from emergencies in their own communities.  The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is the largest  humanitarian organization globally, recognized through the Geneva Conventions as auxiliary to public authorities.

Website: www.redcross.org.uk
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/british-red-cross/

UCL Careers Service

UCL Careers Consultants who work with students in departments across the MAPS Faculty, will be available to answer questions on how the UCL Careers Service can support students in making the most of their UCL PG degree to advance on their chosen career path.

Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/ucl-careers

JBA Risk Management

JBA Risk Management specialises in mapping and modelling hydrometeorological hazards. Our maps, catastrophe models and analytics are used by some of the world's largest insurers, reinsurers, financial institutions, NGOs and humanitarian organisations to quantify and manage exposure to risk.

Our team includes physical and environmental scientists, statisticians, software engineers and consultants. We use sophisticated modelling approaches to provide cutting-edge risk intelligence to our clients, translating complex, scientific data into valuable information.

We are part of the JBA group, a specialist environment, engineering and risk consultancy business, and we support our independent charity, JBA Trust, which enables research, education and training in the water environment sector.

JBA is proud to be employee owned, with a strong focus on employee health and wellbeing. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and ultimately becoming a Net Zero business.

Website: www.jbarisk.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/jba-risk-management/

Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, South East London Integrated Commissioning Board and NHSE London

Guys and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK's leading providers of hospital and community-based healthcare, research and education. They have 5 main hospitals – Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital, Evelina London Children's Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital, and also provide community services in Lambeth and Southwark. 

The NHS needs to plan for, and respond to, a wide range of incidents and emergencies that could affect health or patient care. These could be anything from extreme weather conditions to an outbreak of an infectious disease or a major transport accident. The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) requires NHS organisations, and providers of NHS-funded services, to show that they can deal with such incidents while maintaining services. This programme of work is referred to in the health community as emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR), and the Trust's EPRR Team is represented at the event. 

Also joined by London Region NHS Emergency Preparedness Response and Resilience Team. They plan for and respond to a wide range of incidents across the city, as well as supporting NHS Trusts with their EPRR work programmes, training, exercising and assurance processes. 

Website: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/jobs
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/guys-and-st-thomas-nhs-foundation-trust/

Listen to a podcast about life as an EPRR Manager in the NHS.

Hari Mollett: www.linkedin.com/in/hari-mollett/
Abbie Cartmell: www.linkedin.com/in/abbiecartmell/
Francesca Davies: www.linkedin.com/in/francesca-davies/

Marsh Strategic Risk Consulting 

Marsh Strategic Risk Consulting (SRC) works with organisations to create risk management strategies across four pillars: enterprise risk, climate risk, cyber risk and crisis management. SRC is part of Marsh McLennan (MMC), which is the world’s leading professional services firm in risk, strategy and people. MMC brings together experts from across four global businesses — Marsh (insurance broking and risk advisory), Guy Carpenter (reinsurance), Mercer (human resources consulting) and Oliver Wyman (strategy consulting) — to help make organisations more successful and societies more resilient.

Website: careers.marshmclennan.com/global/en/marsh
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/marsh/

Met Office

Effective weather and climate services are essential in dealing with the impacts associated with severe weather, climate variability and extremes. These services aid planning to protect against disasters, underpin socioeconomic growth, inform policy and help societies adapt to and mitigate against the impacts of climate change. The Met Office is a trusted and long-term partner for national governments, donor agencies, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and non-governmental organisations around the world. Through FCDO programmes we run like WISER, we support improved use of weather and climate information to help people stay safe and thirve.

Website: www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/careers/vacancies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/met-office/


Hiscox are a leading specialist insurer underwriting a range of commercial and personal lines risks. 

Website: www.hiscoxgroup.com/careers
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/hiscox/

Médecins Sans Frontières | Doctors Without Borders

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organisation providing medical care in more than 70 countries. We constantly deliver humanitarian aid projects – from disaster response to long-term medical programmes – which can stretch over decades.

Website: www.msf.org/work-msf
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/medecins-sans-frontieres-msf/

Moody's RMS

For over 30 years, Moody’s RMS has led the way in transforming the catastrophe risk industry, helping organizations make better decisions to improve human and environmental outcomes. By combining proven modeling science and applications Moody’s RMS empowers customers to manage their risk and reduce uncertainty through access to applications that integrate our proven model science and robust data solutions on the Moody’s RMS Intelligent Risk Platform™, the industry’s first risk platform. In the past, managing risk was the realm of insurance companies. Today, it has become an important undertaking across industries and geographies. And Moody’s RMS continuously advances this effort. Extreme weather, climate change, and other catastrophes impact all of us. Understanding risk, integrating analytics, and sharing our expertise more broadly are how we’re helping to build a more resilient world.

Website: www.rms.com/careers/graduates
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/rms/

Osprey Flight Solutions

Transforming aviation risk management through data, technology, expertise and innovation. Osprey Flight Solutions enables systematic risk management. On their own, data, technology and human analysts cannot deliver objective, consistent and dynamic risk management. But by bringing these essential components together – hundreds of thousands of reliable data sources, an industry-leading analysis team, and a proprietary software package to seamlessly fuse them together – we enable operators, governments and regulatory bodies to truly understand the broad spectrum of risks facing each and every flight and thus the global aviation network.

Website: www.ospreyflightsolutions.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/osprey-flight-solutions/

Alumni/PhD stand

Rebekah Yore, Current IRDR PhD student, humanitarian responder and researcher

Rebekah is a humanitarian responder and researcher, with a growing knowledge of and interest in search and rescue. Research interest are mainly: inclusive (early) warning systems and evacuation decision making, emergency and temporary shelter and housing, and microinsurance as a support tool for low-income populations and a force for good! 

She loves flying, aeroplanes and helicopters, with a hope to combine aviation with emergency response/humanitarian efforts.