Steering committee

These are the members of UKADR's steering committee.


Prof David Alexander

David Alexander

David Alexander is professor of risk and disaster reduction at University College, London. He has taught emergency planning and management for 42 years. His books include 'Natural Disasters', 'Confronting Catastrophe', 'Principles of Emergency Planning and Management', 'Recovery from Disaster' (with Ian Davis) and 'How to Write an Emergency Plan'. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction and vice-president of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. His research interests centre on disaster risk reduction, natural hazards and earthquake disasters. He is currently writing a new book on emergency management, a companion to his recent emergency planning volume. David Alexander is currently working for the UK Government on risk management issues and for the EU Scientific Advice Mechanism. He holds subsidiary academic appointments in Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland and Japan.

Prof Dilanthi Amaratunga

Dilanthi Amaratunga

Dilanthi Amaratunga holds the chair in disaster risk management at the University of Huddersfield, UK, where she leads its Global Disaster Resilience Centre. She is engaged in many significant research collaborations around the world, in partnership with key academic and other organisational stakeholders and has project managed many international research projects to successful completion, generating significant research outputs and outcomes. She provides expert advice on disaster resilience to national and local governments and international agencies, including the UNDRR. Among many leadership roles, she is the joint chief editor of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment. In 2019, she won the prestigious Newton Prize, which recognises the best research and innovation projects that create an impact socially and economically. She is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Fellow and a Chartered Manager of the Chartered Management Institute, UK. More information on Dilanthi Amaratunga.

Dr Marie Aronsson-Storrier (secretary)

Marie Aronsson-Storrier

Dr Marie Aronsson-Storrier is a lecturer in law at University College Cork. Previous to joining UCC in April 2022, Marie was a lecturer in global law and disasters at the University of Reading. Marie has published widely on law and disasters, including the edited collections The Cambridge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction and International Law (CUP, 2019) and Defining Disaster: Disciplines and Domains (Edward Elgar, 2022). Her current research explores the role of law in creating and addressing disaster risk, including questions around root causes of risk and the inclusion of marginalised groups and persons in law, and decision making processes.

Dr Amy Donovan (co-chair)

Amy Donovan

Amy Donovan, co-chair of UKADR, is an academic in the department of geography at the University of Cambridge and Official Fellow and director of studies in geography at Girton College. She is PI of the Imagine ERC project on the imaginaries of the environment and risk, part of the Tomorrow’s Cities GCRF Hub project and co-deputy-director of the Mount Paektu Research Centre. Amy is an interdisciplinary geographer with interests in the geographies of risk and (non-)knowledge in disaster risk reduction, the integration of science and policy, cultures and political geology, and volcanology. She has a background in literature but studied an MSc in geophysical hazards at UCL and did a PhD in interdisciplinary volcanology.

Dr Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan is an interdisciplinary applied risk and resilience researcher and deputy programme director for an MSc in carbon management. She lectures in climate change risk, social vulnerability, disasters and adaptation. She has worked as an applied researcher, consultant and practitioner in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for over fifteen years. She currently leads global and local research projects that aim to examine the role of heritage for climate change risk assessment and adaptation. She sits on the Scottish Scientific Advisory Committee and advises the Scottish Government and local authorities on climate change adaptation.

Prof Roger Few

Roger Few

Roger Few is a professorial research fellow in environment, risk and development in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia. His research is primarily in lower-income countries and centres on how households, communities and institutions respond to risks and impacts, and the structural factors that shape their vulnerability. Much of this work lies at the confluence between research in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, with linkages to themes of well-being, environmental health, water security and social justice. His concern for issues of equity and sustainability has led to an increasing emphasis in recent research on the long-term processes of recovery from extreme events.

Virginia Murray

Virginia Murray

Virginia Murray is a public health doctor committed to improving health emergency and disaster risk management. She was appointed as head of global disaster risk reduction for the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) in April 2014. She is a member of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) scientific committee, co-chair of IRDR’s Disaster Loss Data (DATA) and is currently the chair of the UNDRR/ISC Hazard Classification and Review Technical Working Group. She is co-chair of the WHO Thematic Platform Health and Disaster Risk Management Research Network and, by working in collaboration with this network, she is one of the editors of the WHO Guidance on Research Methods for Health and Disaster Risk Management, published in October 2021. She is a visiting/honorary professor and fellow at several universities. More information on Virginia Murray.

Prof John Rees

John Rees

John Rees is chief scientist for multi-hazards and risk at the British Geological Survey, with particular interest in the characterisation of multi-hazards and their associated risks and resilience. Previously he was RCUK Risk Research Champion, a UKRI GCRF Challenge Lead, and headed the NERC Natural Hazard and Risk and Resilience themes. He led the Major Group for Science and Technology during development of the UN Sendai Framework, was the first Chair of the UK Disasters Research Group and was a co-founder of UKADR. After graduating from Sheffield University, John undertook his PhD at Trinity College, Dublin, and he is a visiting professor at Leicester University.

Susanne Sargeant (co-chair)

Susanne Sargeant

Susanne Sargeant is co-chair of UKADR and a researcher at the British Geological Survey. Susanne is a seismologist specialising in seismic hazard and has a strong interest in how science is used for decision making for disaster risk management. Her current research and knowledge exchange activities reflect that and focus on maximising the use and usefulness of geoscience knowledge in humanitarian decision making and supporting recovery. Susanne leads the ‘Living in Multi-hazard Environments’ strand of the BGS’s international geoscience research programme.

Dr Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a senior research fellow in the ODI Global Risks and Resilience Programme, co-director of the Caribbean Resilience and Recovery Knowledge Network (CRRKN) and chief scientific advisor to the Climate Resilience Agency for Dominica (CREAD). Emily has 25 years' experience working as a researcher, analyst, journalist, lecturer and advisor, working with governments, UN agencies and international financial institutions, NGOs and scientific agencies to identify critical entry points and opportunities for overcoming hazardous geographies and managing risk in line with development priorities. She specialises in building the resilience of small island developing states (SIDS), with a current portfolio that includes several multi-year, multi-country projects focused on the political economy of investment in climate resilience, risk governance, effectiveness and accountability of disaster and climate finance, institutional learning and capacity strengthening.