UCL IRDR newsletter – May 2021
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IRDR News and Events
Annual Conference on ‘Why Warnings Matter’

UCL portico behind green leaves

The IRDR re-started face-to-face teaching this term for supervisions and workshops. Field excursions are also taking place and the Southwest England field trip for Master's students in July is given the go-ahead. Online teaching also continues with exciting enrichment activities in business continuity planning, careers development etc. to which many staff have contributed.  It is a welcome relief and pleasure to engage with students in person again. It has been a time of intense work and challenging circumstances for many students and staff alike. It is a tribute to academic and teaching staff who once again had to flex to fully online learning, to the professional service staff for their dedication to support this effort, to the researchers and PhD students who have kept IRDR research innovative and cutting edge, and to the Master's students who have shown dedication to their studies and thirst for education that has been so admirable.

There is much to look forward to. The IRDR continues to engage extensively with research and expert advice on the Coronavirus pandemic (see panel). Professor David Alexander has been appointed as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning. But the pandemic continues worldwide. The situation is dire in South Asia and staff and students in our department with links there, and our friends and partners in the region, may be stressed or grieving. We wish to offer our sympathy and support and also flag a care resources link (see panel).  The UK government’s ODA (Official Development Assistance) funding cuts will hit IRDR research and impact our involvement in important global programmes. While our Royal Society and British Academy funded projects have escaped, the UKRI GRRIPP network for Gender Responsive Resilience in Policy and Practice will have to be significantly curtailed next year. We find the UK government’s action to be deplorable.

The UCL Humanitarian Summit 2021 on Wednesday 16 June will interrogate how climate change, conflict and other global phenomena are shaping both the humanitarian sector and humanitarian studies. The IRDR 11th Annual Conference on Wednesday 23 June will focus on ‘Why Warnings Matter’ and the UCL Warning Research Centre launch. The keynote address will be delivered by Mami Mizutori, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR. You are most welcome to join these online days of thought-provoking talks and discussions with our in-house and guest experts. (Further details and how to register are given in the Events Panel.)

Our new BSc Global Humanitarian Studies will start in September 2021. Student interest has greatly exceeded expectations and there are currently 50 firm acceptances for the programme. We are running a Humanitarian Taster Course on Monday 7 June. There will be a Global Humanitarian Studies BSc Open Day (online) on Monday 14 June, for prospective students for 2022 entry. (Further details and how to register are given in the Events Panel.) Applications for our MSc Risk, Disaster and Resilience and MSc Risk and Disaster Science are 100 up on last year. Applications close shortly on 31 May so if you are thinking of applying you should do so now! We are aware that many applications are still awaiting offers from UCL. We are working on this and do ask for your continued patience.

New IRDR academic appointments

We are delighted that Dr Mohammad Shamsudduha and Dr Rozana Himaz will be joining us as Associate Professors. ‘Shams’ will be taking over a programme lead for BSc Global Humanitarian Studies as Associate Professor of Humanitarian Science. He is has a PhD in Hydrogeology from UCL and MSc’s from Auburn University, USA, University of Technology, Sydney and Dhaka University. He was an IRDR Research Fellow in water risks and project manager of the grofutures consortium of UK and Sub-Saharan Africa researchers led by Professor Richard Taylor, UCL Geography. He is currently a lecturer at Sussex University. He already has over 3,500 citations for his research. Rozana is appointed as Associate Professor in Humanitarian Economics. She has a PhD (Economics) from Cambridge University, an MSc from the LSE and an MA from the University of Colombo. She has held posts as Teaching Fellow Research Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Oxford. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and with research including merging geophysics and economics for catastrophe modelling with Professor Serge Guillas, UCL Statistical Science.

Dr Yulia Ioffe and Dr Lisa Guppy have both accepted offers of IRDR lecturer positions. Yulia will join us a Lecturer in Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She has a DPhil in Law from Oxford University, an LLM from Harvard Law School and an LLM from Kyiv National University. She has been a researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University and Judicial Fellow at the International Court of Justice. She is currently a researcher at Queen Mary College, London working on children’s rights in migration and conflict. Lisa will join us as Lecturer – Teaching in Humanitarian Crisis Response. She has a PhD in crisis management in developing countries from the University of Western Australia and an MSc from Northumbria University. She has extensive practitioner and research experience at UNDP, the United Nations University and the UN Environment Programme, where she is currently Humanitarian Affairs Officer in Bangkok. We are delighted to welcome such talented academics to the IRDR. 

We also welcome Sonia Fullerton as the BSc Teaching and Learning Administrator who joins us from the UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society. She was previously English Programme Director for Proyecto Peru.

The IRDR is under-going a rapid phase of expansion since becoming a department, strongly supported by the MAPS Faculty. Our mission is to develop the IRDR themed around disaster resilience, cascading crises, natural hazards, humanitarian crisis response, conflict and migration, climate change adaptation, health emergencies, and gender responsive resilience, in order to integrate education, research, innovation and enterprise for the long-term benefit of humanity. There is so much work to be done. We welcome you to join us.

Peter Sammonds
Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
IRDR Events
Male and female student looking at a document
Global Humanitarian Studies BSc Taster Course
Monday 7 June, 16:30–18:30 GMT
Open to: Prospective students

Are you considering a future in the humanitarian sector, making a real difference to communities around the world? Join our online taster course to find out more about the subject and why a career in humanitarianism could be for you.

Find out more and book your place
Global Humanitarian Studies BSc Open Day
Monday 14 June 10:00 and 15:00 GMT
Open to: Prospective students

As part of the UCL Virtual Open Days series, these live, interactive sessions give prospective students a taste of the new BSc and a chance to find out more about life as a UCL student. Booking goes live Monday 7 June.

Find out more and register your interest
Woman receiving blanket from aid workers
UCL Humanitarian Summit: Interrogating Changing Risks 
Wednesday 16 June 10:00–18:00 GMT
Open to: Students | Alumni | Staff | Members | Public

In the run-up to COP 26, the UCL Humanitarian Summit will debate and discuss how climate change, conflict and other global phenomena are shaping both the humanitarian sector and humanitarian studies as a field of research and teaching, and vice versa.

More information and booking
UCL IRDR 11th Annual Conference: Why Warnings Matter, and the UCL Warning Research Centre Launch 
Wednesday 23 June, 10:00–17:30 GMT
Open to: Students | Alumni | Staff | Members | Public 

Why do warnings matter, and how we can do better at warnings both prior and during crises for all hazard types? This thought-provoking event, with a keynote by UNDRR's Mami Mizutori, will also launch the new UCL Warning Research Centre.

Full details and booking
Earth from space
Space and Health Seminar Series 
July (date to be confirmed)
Open to: Students | Staff | IRDR Network | Practitioners | Public

The UCL IRDR, Institute for Global Health and the Human Security Centre present an online events series on the important role of space in the medical sector.

With contributions by leading actors from the medical, human space flight, telecommunications, defence and humanitarian fields, this series will explore the latest developments in prolonged field care and telemedicine and how they can contribute to saving and improving lives on Earth and beyond.

Find out more and book your place
Postgraduate application deadline approaching
There is still time to apply for our Master's courses in disaster, risk and resilience, but applications must be received by 31 May for entry in September 2021.

Choose the right course for you and apply
Rubble from buildings hit by Hurricane Maria in Dominica
Peter Sammonds, Katerina Stavrianaki, Ilan Kelman, Simon Day and Akhtar Ahmed won £100k GCRF for “Multi-hazard hurricane and epidemic risk assessment for a small Caribbean island developing state”. This project is focussed on Dominica and uses the Analytic Hierarchy Process to assess risk through physical and social research, in collaboration with the Red Cross and IsraAID.
Image: By U.S. Customs and Border Protection - 170923-H-NI589-0007, Public Domain
David Alexander
Professor David Alexander was appointed as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning. The committee will work until November and is currently hearing evidence from national and international experts.
IRDR Space Health Risks Research Group 
Coordinated by PhD student Myles Harris and Professor Ilan Kelman, IRDR’s new research group is a multidisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners who are investigating how the mitigation of risks to health in space can contribute to promoting good health and wellbeing in remote environments on Earth.
The Space Health Risks Research Group brings together IRDR’s current research projects related to these topics, one of which has recently won a UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral Student small grant. The group will host a symposium in September.

Find out more about the Space Health Risks Research Group 
Joanna Faure Walker
Dr Joanna Faure Walker is Co-Investigator on NERC Standard Grant "Active fault slip-rates and earthquake recurrence controlled by stress and viscous flow" Roberts, Faure Walker and Mildon, value £650k. This grant will investigate the fundamental causes of earthquake clustering on hundreds to thousands of years and tens to hundreds of millennia timescales, which could lead to a major breakthrough in our approach to seismic hazard calculations.
Joanna has also made several media appearances, including BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's "Naked scientists" programme discussing why earthquake prediction is so difficult, and in The Conversation reflecting on the need to look back on multi millennia timescales to help forecast earthquakes, published 10 years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
Professor Ilan Kelman has been named in the Reuters hot list of the world's top 1,000 climate scientists, ranking number 309.

In addition to appearing regularly as a media commentator, Ilan also hosts an accessible new YouTube series about disasters. Part of the "What makes it tick?" STEM educational series, "The Science of Disasters" is based on his book and blog "Disaster by Choice".
Gianluca Pescaroli
Dr Gianluca Pescaroli has been appointed to the editorial panel of the Crisis Response Journal, one of the most well-established resources for crisis management, and joins the technical panel of Resilience Shift's "Infrastructure Pathways: Navigating towards climate resilient infrastructure systems". 
He has also been a reviewer for EU H2020 "Preventing and fighting extreme wildfires with the integration and demonstration of innovative means". 
New UCL Warning Research Centre launches in June
The Warning Research Centre (WRC) at UCL is unique in bringing together global expertise to explore the role of warnings in managing vulnerabilities, hazards, risks, and disasters.

Housed within the Department of Science and Technology Studies, and led by Dr Carina Fearnley and the IRDR's Ilan Kelman, the WRC is an interdepartmental centre focusing on all aspects in relation to warnings for all forms of risks and disasters. 

The WRC will officially launch at the IRDR Annual Conference in June, and already has two further public events planned, including:

How can post-pandemic recovery efforts accelerate sustainable transitions and what is needed to enhance resilience to future systemic shocks? 
1 June, 17:15 pm–18:30 BST
Panel discussion with Lord Toby Harris (National Preparedness Commission), Amanda Janoo (Wellbeing Economy Alliance), and Rowan Douglas (Willis Towers Watson).
More information and booking
What Warnings Mean? 
30 June, 13:00-17:00 BST.
Three sessions exploring the history and social-cultural meanings of warnings, visual representations of warnings, and putting warnings into practice: policy and communication. 
More information and booking 


Awards season is in full swing and IRDR staff have featured in both nominations and winners lists this year.

IRDR teaching staff had six nominations by students in the UCL Student Choice Awards:

  • Joanna Faure Walker: Active Student Partnership; and Excellent Research-based Education
  • Ilan Kelman: Amazing Student Support; and Excellent Research-based Education
  • Punam Yadav: Diverse and Inclusive Education
  • Jessica Field: Excellent Personal Tutoring

Joanna Faure Wallker has also been shortlisted for the UCL Provost Education Award for Academic Support and won the UCL MAPS Faculty Award for Academic Support.

Elsewhere, Patrícia Nabuco Martuscelli received the International Studies Association (ISA) 2021 Martin O. Heisler Award. Patrícia is a Social Science Research Fellow in Conflict and Migration. Find out more about her research.

IRDR student news
Congratulations, Dr Duda!
Congratulations to IRDR PhD candidate Patrizia Duda who passed her viva in March for her work focusing on community-based disaster risk, reduction and response in the Arctic.

Patrizia has made a huge impact in the IRDR, acting as the department's social media content and engagement manager for more than four years. As well as winning the Outstanding Contribution to the IRDR student prize, she was highly commended in the Faculty Education Award 2020 team category for her work on postgraduate recruitment. Patrizia remains with the department as Director of Strategic Development as well as running a successful consultancy.

Accessibility and Inclusivity in Disaster Studies | Opening up the Conversation

For two months between December and January this year, our two student Connected Learning Interns reviewed the content of postgraduate modules taught at the IRDR to examine how they could be more accessible and inclusive. Their subsequent blog details their findings and has been picked up by other departments in UCL, including Arena, UCL's professional development pathway for teaching, and UCL Careers.

Read the blog 
India Covid crisis
For anyone wishing to donate to Indian NGOs assisting people through this devastating Covid wave, please see this crowdsourced list of verified organisations accepting national and international donations.

See list of organisations
Recent publications

PhD student publications
Al-Zadjali, S., Al-Rawahi, Z., and Al-Brashdi, H. “The Impact of Tropical Cyclones in Premonsoonal Season on Local Convection over the Al-Hajar Mountains in Oman during 2007–2018”, Advances in Meteorology.

Harris, M.  “Space health and interdisciplinary practice”, abstract in “Why Space? The opportunity for health and life science innovation”, UK Space LABS position paper (p96).

Harris, M. "Understanding person-centred care for nursing associates". SAGE Publishing.  

Staff publications
Kelman, I. "Planning for Outer-space Humanitarianism", blog post in Psychology Today.

Faure Walker, Boncio, Pace, Roberts, Benedetti, Scotti, Visini, Peruzza (2021) "Fault2SHA Central Apennines Database and structuring active fault data for seismic hazard assessment", Scientific Data. 

Faure Walker, Joanna; Boncio, Paolo; Pace, Bruno; Roberts, Gerald; Benedetti, Lucilla; Scotti, Oona; Visini, Francesco; Peruzza, Laura (2020): Fault2SHA Central Apennines DatabaseInstitute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College LondonPANGAEA.

Lyytikäinen, M., Yadav, P.Wibben, A. TR., Jauhola, M., Confortini, C. C. (2020). Unruly wives in the household: Towards feminist genealogies for peace researchCooperation and Conflict, 56(1): 3-25. 

Martuscelli, P. N. (2021). How Are Forcibly Displaced People Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak? Evidence From Brazil. American Behavioral Scientist.

Pescaroli, G,. Alexander, D,. Murray, V.  "Emergency infrastructure and Facilities" in "Science for DRM 2020: acting today protecting tomorrow", European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Pescaroli, G., Galbusera, L., Cardarilli, M., Giannopoulos, G., Alexander, D. Linking healthcare and societal resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic, Safety Science, Volume 140, Elsevier.

Scotti, Visini, Faure Walker, Peruzza, Pace, Benedetti, Boncio & Roberts (2021) Which fault threatens most? Bridging the gap between geologic data-providers and seismic risk practitionersFrontiers in Earth Science Geohazards and Georisks.  

Yadav, P., Saville, N., Arjyal, A., Baral, S., Kostkova, P. and Fordham, M. (2021). A feminist vision for transformative change to disaster risk reduction policies and practicesInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol 54,

Yadav, P. and Horn, D.M. (2021). “Continuums of violence: feminist peace research and gender-based violence”, in Tarja Väyrynen, Swati Parashar, Élise Féron, and Catia Cecilia Confortini (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Feminist Peace Research. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 
Yadav, P. (2020). Can women benefit from war? Women’s agency in conflict and post-conflict contextsJournal of Peace Research. 

Yadav, P. (2020). When the personal is International: implementation of the National Action Plan on resolutions 1325 and 1820 in NepalGender, Technology and Development, 24(2): 194-114. 
About the IRDR
The Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) leads research, advanced teaching, policy engagement and knowledge exchange with industry and humanitarian agencies, in risk and disaster reduction across UCL. We welcome new members, who can access a number of benefits, including member-only events.

Find out more about the IRDR and how to join.
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