UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Prof David Alexander

Prof David Alexander

Professor of Emergency Planning and Management

Inst for Risk & Disaster Reduction

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2012

Research summary

David Alexander has conducted research on disasters since 1980. His main foci of interest are emergency management and planning, earthquake science, disaster epidemiology, and theoretical issues in disaster risk reduction. He has also studied cascading disasters and disability and disaster.

Teaching summary

At UCL David Alexander currently teaches emergency planning, disaster management, and research appraisal. Internationally, he teaches diverse aspects of the applied science of disaster risk reduction. Alexander was trained as a geographer and geomorphologist. For many years he taught physical geography and landscape dynamics. He has been teaching natural hazards and disaster studies since 1981.


David Alexander is Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London (UCL). He graduated in geography at the London School of Economics and obtained his PhD in Mediterranean geomorphology from UCL. From 1982 until 2002 he taught geomorphology, physical geography, natural hazards and disaster studies at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst (USA). Over the period 2003-7 he was Scientific Director of the Advanced School of Civil Protection of the regional government of Lombardy. As a Professor the University of Florence (2005-11) he was a leading member of the team that designed, launched and taught Italy's first Master of Civil Protection course. Alexander is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bournemouth and Northumbria (UK), Coimbra (Portugal) and Lund (Sweden) and Research Fellow at the Global Risk Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Alexander's book Natural Disasters was published in London and New York in 1993 and has frequently been reprinted. His subsequent books include Confronting Catastrophe (2000), Principles of Emergency Planning and Management (2002), Recovery from Disaster (with Ian Davis, 2015) and How to Write an Emergency Plan (2016).

David Alexander is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, and was formerly Co-Editor of Disasters journal. He is a member of the editorial boards of 14 academic journals. He is Vice-President and Chairman of the Trustees of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, which is the oldest learned society in the field of disaster reduction. In 2013 Alexander won the Distinguished Research Award of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM).