UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Impact Case Studies

Thinking Development

In January 2017, IRDR and the Humanitarian Institute partnered with Thinking Development to run a fundraising event to mark the 7th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Thinking Development is an NGO that emerged from the UCL student body following the disaster. The event showcased the work that Thinking Development has led on the design and construction of a disaster resilient girls school in Haiti.  We have worked with Thinking Development since their launch in 2010 and were delighted to support their final event as their project is now complete.


EEFIT missions

IRDR's Joanna Faure Walker, David Alexander, Carmine Galasso, Zoe Mildon, and Serena Tagliacozzo joined the EEFIT earthquake engineering field mission in Central Italy following the devastating earthquake of 24th August 2016. Luke Wedmore joined follow-up fieldwork. Their work has contributed to an analysis of the earthquake, response and impact of the disaster.


IRDR's space weather researcher and lecturer, Robert Wicks, is the Instrument Scientist for the Turbulent Electron Analyser for the European Space Agency's THOR mission, launched in March and June 2017. Robert has managed instrumentation development for  the first CubeSat built by UCL - UCLSat.

Digital Health

IRDR researchers Patty Kostkova and Maureen Fordham are developing a mobile app to support mother and newborn child health in Nepal for use during and after disasters.

Emergency Plans

Dunedin Academic Press published a new practical guide by David Alexander, Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction on How to Write an Emergency Plan.

PhD research partnerships

IRDR PhD student, Danielle Charlton is a Member of the Working Group on Hazard Mapping (IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic Hazards and Risk); Gianluca Pescaroli is working to integrate cascading disasters into London's response and preparedness Strategies; Rebekah Yore works with NGO, Rescue Global.

Eyjafjallajökull eruption

Our report Volcanic Hazard from Iceland, analysing the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption and its social consequences was widely commended and was the only contemporaneous report that analyzed the implications for future travel disruption both qualitatively and quantitatively. 

Cascades @IRDR

Research Group on Cascading Disasters (Cascades@IRDR).  This research group has been created with the support of the UCL Knowledge Exchange Award to promote a new approach on cascading events in the globally interconnected system.

Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

The IRDR Director joined the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) mission to Tohoku and contributed to the EEFIT report. This report has been drawn on extensively by the UK Cabinet Office in advice to ministers.

The IRDR organized a follow-up International Disaster Workshop in Japan in October 2012 at the British Embassy in Tokyo with the new International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University. A report was published by the IRDR on fieldwork undertaken, including to the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Two IRDR Research Students investigated post-tsunami recovery in March 2013, supported by the UK Embassy. Both Joanna Faure Walker and David Alexander joined the return EEFIT Mission in June 2013.

IRDR-IRIDeS Workshop on Disaster Science at the British Embassy, Tokyo 2012

Aon Benfield

Sponsorship of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre (ABUHC) was negotiated by the IRDR Director from 2010 to 2014 to support hazard research and knowledge exchange oriented towards the City re-insurance industry. This sponsorship was an important vehicle for knowledge exchange between universities and the City. The ABUHC undertook a broad range of client-oriented projects. For instance, the Hong Kong Landslide Hazard report for Royal & Sun Alliance has been prepared as a REF Case Study for Earth Sciences, based on the application of fundamental research to an issue of great economic and societal importance. ABUHC continued to thrive under the new direction of Chris Kilburn. However, the Aon Benfield Sponsorship agreement came to an end in 2014. We envisage a new partnership emerging with Aon and all its activities, worldwide. The IRDR has also been acting to diversify the range of City firms we engage with.