Biography

I have a background in human geography, political ecology, and environment and health in developing countries. My current research focuses on vulnerability and adaptation to climatic and environmental hazards, with special interest in how households, communities and institutions respond to the risks, and what influences, promotes and constrains their responses. 

Much of my work lies at the confluence between research on disaster risk reduction and on climate change adaptation, with linkages to themes of livelihoods/wellbeing, water security and environmental justice. Recent and ongoing research projects include: ‘Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR)’, funded by IDRC/DFID (CARIAA), with work primarily in East Africa; ‘Strategic Research into National and Local Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Management’ with Oxford Policy Management, funded by IFRC; and ‘Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas – STREVA’, funded by NERC-ESRC, with research in South America and the Caribbean.

One strand to this research that I have been keen to develop is around health risks from environmental hazards. Projects on this theme have included an ESRC Research Fellowship ‘Climatic hazards, health risks and response in developing countries’ and ‘Seasonal environmental hazards: a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of health risks in lower-income countries’, funded by NERC under the Environment and Human Health programme. Additional funding was been provided for coordination of a major research initiative, the Environment, Health and Development Network

I contribute to research groups in Climate Change and DevelopmentGlobal Environmental JusticeAgeing and Development, and Health Policy and Practice. I am an Affiliated Researcher of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Applied research is a complementary component of my work, and I have recently  led several projects relating to disaster risk, including: ‘Measuring the Impact of Aid Agency Programmes in Rapid Onset Natural Disasters’, in collaboration with Oxfam/ECB, funded by DFI; ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Disaster Risk Management in Vietnam including Climate Change Related Disasters’, funded by UNDP;a study to support implementation of the European Union’s Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries and the study ‘Linking Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Poverty Reduction’ funded by the European Commission.

Career

I have been working in social science research on environment, development and health since 1994, based at Leicester University, South Bank University and the University of East Anglia. I joined DEV in 2002,  and have worked primarily on research related to climatic hazards and health risks, including projects funded by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, ESRC, NERC, EPSRC, British Academy, European Commission, IFRC, UNDP and DFID. In recent projects I have worked mainly in Ecuador, Colombia, St Vincent, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam and India  but I have research experience also in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Guatemala, Belize and the UK.

My undergraduate degree was in geography at Cambridge University, and, following a postgraduate diploma in journalism from The City University, I worked for several years as a freelance journalist, author and editor.  

A full CV may be downloaded here.

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