Biography

My research centres on the connections between environmental change, risk and human wellbeing, mainly in lower-income settings. I place particular focus on vulnerability and adaptation, especially on how  households, communities and institutions respond to risks and impacts from climatic and other environmental hazards, and the factors that influence, promote and constrain their responses. Much of this work lies at the confluence between research in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, with linkages to themes of livelihoods/wellbeing, environmental health, water security and social justice. My concern for issues of justice, equality and sustainability has led to an increasing emphasis in recent research on the long-term processes of recovery from extreme events.

Recent and ongoing research projects include: ‘Down2Earth: Translation of climate information into multilevel decision support for social adaptation, policy development, and resilience to water scarcity in the Horn of Africa Drylands’, funded by the EU under Horizon2020; ‘Recovery with Dignity’, a GCRF project funded byBritish Academy, with research in three states of India; ‘Moving with Risk: forced displacement and vulnerability to hazards in Colombia’, a GCRF project funded via ESRC/AHRC;‘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 is work on 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. . 

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 DFID; ‘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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