UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


UCL IRDR Annual Conference 2011

22 June 2011

UCL Bloomsbury Campus Wednesday 22 June 2011 In celebration of its first year in operation, the UCL IRDR should like to invite you to participate in its first annual conference.

The conference aims to draw together a varied and dynamic audience from across UCL and beyond to report on, explore and inform research in risk and disaster reduction through thought-provoking lectures and discussions. The conference will be rounded off with the summer party, which will be an opportunity for further interaction and networking.


Time Event
09:00 Registration

Welcome and introduction

Stephen Edwards (Deputy Director, UCL IRDR)


Risk and uncertainty for Natural Hazards

Chair: Gerald Roberts (Birkbeck)

Speakers: John McCloskey (University of Ulster)
Identification of earthquake hazard hotspots by long term stress modelling

Dave Tappin (British Geological Survey)
The Tohoku 2011 tsunami: what we need to learn from catastrophic tsunami events.

Chris Kilburn (Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre)
Volcanic uncertainty: the design and delivery of eruption forecasts

Paul Kaye (Aon Benfield)
Using catastrophe models in insurance

Paul Kaye

Paul is head of the Actuarial and Enterprise Risk Management practice within Aon Benfield's International Analytics team. Aon Benfield is the largest reinsurance broker in the works and is part of Aon Corporation, the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage and human capital consulting.

Paul has wide ranging practical experience from underwriting, reinsurance analysis and strategy to capital modelling and has worked with a number of large European and global insurance and reinsurance groups. Prior to joining Benfield Greig in 2000, Paul worked for Commercial Union / CGU in the UK for 13 years. He is a Mathematics graduate and a Chartered Insurance Broker and Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Dr Christopher Kilburn

Christopher Kilburn is a volcanologist in the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL. His research has concentrated on understanding the physical controls on volcanic and landslide processes, with the aims of developing practical methods for forecasting hazards and designing effective methods for communicating forecasts to emergency planners and vulnerable communities. He has participated in emergency responses to eruptions in Italy, Cameroon and the West Indies and is currently Director of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre.

Professor John McCloskey

John McCloskey is Professor of Geophysics at the University of Ulster in N. Ireland. His main research interests are in the evolution of stress on faults and fault system from the time scale of earthquake stress interaction (a few seconds) to multi-seismic cycle loading and unloading (on the order of hundreds of years). His research aims to identify regions of particularly high seismic hazard - seismic hazard hotspots. He works with NGOs in attempting to increase awareness of earthquake hazard and to encourage detailed preparation for near future shocks.

Professor David Tappin

Dave Tappin is a Principal Researcher with the British Geological Survey, and Visiting Professor in the Earth Sciences Department at UCL. He is a marine geologist by training, working in the UK and internationally for over 35 years. Since 1999 he has been studying tsunamis sourced from submarine landslides, volcanic collapse and earthquakes. Since the Tohoku EQ and tsunami of March 11th Dave has visited Japan twice, researching the tsunami impact and the sediments laid down during inundation.

11:10 Break and refreshments

Key issues in water risk and security

Chair: Randolph Kent (Humanitarian Futures Programme)

Speakers and panel: Adriana Allen (UCL Development Planning Unit)

Willy Burgess (UCL Earth Sciences)

Francis McDonagh (CAFOD)

Sobona Mtisi (Overseas Development Institute)

Beth Walker (China Dialogue)

Adriana Allen

Adriana Allen is a senior lecturer at the UCL Development Planning Unit (DPU), with over 20 years of research and consultancy experience in the socio-environmental processes of change faced in the context of the urban global south. Over the years, her work in various urban regions in Latin America, Africa and Asia has focused on water poverty, the governance of service provision for the urban poor, citizen service co-production in water and sanitation and grassroots and planned responses to climate variability.

Within UCL she currently supports a number a university wide initiatives in the realm of urban sustainability, including her work as the UCL Environment Institute Co-Director for Sustainable Cities. In 2010 she led a UCL Grand Challenge initiative together with Sarah Bell (UCL CEGE), entitled 'Glass half empty? Urban water poverty halfway through the Decade of Water for Life'. She is Visiting Professor at various universities in Latin America and Europe and Co-editor of the International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development.

Dr William Burgess

Willy Burgess is Senior Lecturer in Hydrogeology at UCL, and was previously with the British Geological Survey. He directed the UCL MSc course in Hydrogeology & Groundwater Resources, 1990-2000. He is interested in the combined influences of hydrological and geochemical processes on groundwater, especially on the vulnerability of groundwater to contamination and/or depletion.

He works on:

  • Arsenic in alluvial groundwater systems in the Bengal Basin
  • Fluoride in crystalline bedrock / regolith aquifers (East Africa, India)
  • Contaminant solutes in the double-porosity Chalk aquifer of the UK
  • The hydrogeology of urban environments (Dhaka, Bangladesh; London, UK)

Francis McDonagh

Francis McDonagh has worked on South American development issues for over twenty years. He is currently Andes programme manager for CAFOD, with responsibility for the organisation's work in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

Dr Randolph Kent

Dr Randolph Kent, Director of the Humanitarian Futures Programme, King's College, London, has more than 25 years' practical and policy engagement in the provision of emergency assistance, mainly serving with the United Nations in situations of both natural disaster and conflict. He served as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Kosovo and Rwanda, Chief of the UN Emergency Unit in Sudan and Chief of Emergency Prevention and Preparedness in Ethiopia. He was also Special Advisor to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs from 1995-6. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Dr Sobona Mtisi

Sobona Mtisi is a Research Officer at the Overseas Development Institute, Water Policy Programme, with a background in sociology, demography, and holds a PhD in International Development. Sobona has over seven years research experience on water governance and policy processes and their implications on social and economic development in southern Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe. His current research interest focuses on the contributions of water to growth and development in the context of climate change in Africa. Currently, Sobona is leading a climate change and development project in Zimbabwe working with government agencies, research and academic institutions, civil society organisation and NGOs. The project is aimed at developing a National Climate Change and Development Strategy for the country with contributions from a broad spectrum of organisations.

Beth Walker

Beth walker is researcher and commissioning editor for the Third Pole (www.thethirdpole.net), a chinadialogue project that aims to inform, debate and foster constructive cooperation on the regional environmental and climate crisis in the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau. Beth is a fluent Chinese speaker and has worked extensively in Beijing and southwest China for health and environmental NGOs. She is co-author of the report "Waters of the Third Pole: sources of threat, sources of survival". She has an MSc in Development Management from the LSE and a first class BA in Chinese from Oxford University.


Keynote lecture by Frank Furedi, University of Kent

Communicating disasters: the cultural script of a 21st century pandemic

Chair: Graham Hart (UCL Infection and Population Health)

Professor Frank Furedi

During the past 15 years Furedi's studies have been devoted to an exploration of the cultural developments that influence the construction of contemporary risk consciousness. His research has been oriented towards the way that risk and uncertainty is managed by contemporary culture. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His, Invitation To Terror; Expanding the Empire of the Unknown (2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of possibilistic thinking. It develops the arguments contained in two previous books The Culture of Fear (2003) and Paranoid Parenting (2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society. In recent years he has worked on a variety of ESRC and EU funded research project on risk related issues. He is currently engaged in the study of the relationship between resilience and uncertainty.

Contact details:
University of Kent Canterbury
United Kingdom
e: Frank.Furedi@gmail.com
w: www.frankfuredi.com


IRDR General Meeting

Professor Peter Sammonds (Director, UCL IRDR)

15:40 Break and refreshments

In discussion with Virginia Murray, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the Health Protection Agency

Chair: Stephen Edwards (UCL IRDR)

Professor Virgina Murray

Professor Virginia Murray is Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the Health Protection Agency and a Visiting Professor in Health Protection at King's College London. Virginia qualified in medicine and has considerable experience in advising on toxicological and environmental public health aspects of response to acute and chronic chemical and extreme event incidents. In heading the new Extreme Events and Health Protection section, she is taking forward work on evidence base information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events. Virginia has been the UK Government member on the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Scientific and Technical Committee since 2008. She is a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, due for publication in 2011.

17:00 Summer party
20:00 Close

IRDR General Meeting
Please send agenda items to Peter Sammonds (p.sammonds@ucl.ac.uk).

The conference will be held in the Pearson Lecture Theatre, which is located in the northwest corner of the main UCL quadrangle. Registration and breaks will be held in Pearson room G17, and lunch will be in G17 or the South Cloisters, weather dependent. The summer party will take place either in the Wilkins Roof Garden or the South Cloisters (if wet).