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Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience

Action on Natural Disasters


Action on Natural Disasters is a Doctoral Training Centre that focuses on interdisciplinary research into the causes, consequences, and mitigation of natural disasters. It is born from an understanding that reducing the impact of future natural disasters depends on understanding not only the physical nature of the events that cause disasters, but also the social, economic, cultural, historical, and political factors that shape their impact on communities that are exposed to them.

Natural disasters are complex products of triggering events, social context, and community vulnerability. Effective research into natural disasters and their mitigation therefore depends upon working across conventional disciplinary boundaries.

The core goal of the Action on Natural Disasters initiative is to enable cohorts of PhD students to undertake interdisciplinary research that has social impact – mitigating the risks posed by natural hazards by reducing their capacity to become disasters. Research in this DTI will cover the entire disaster cycle from the triggering event of the disaster, through to impacts and response, including evaluation, preparedness, recovery, reconstruction and building resilience in people and communities.

Each cohort will be based around a specific research theme - the theme for the first cohort is earthquake-induced landslide hazards in Nepal. This theme responds to the 2015 earthquakes, builds on existing relationships between IHRR and institutions and organizations within Nepal. You can read more about the theme, and the component PhD projects here.

The first cohort of PhD students started in October 2016. Learn more about the projects here.

Action on Natural Disasters is funded through benevolent donations. You can learn more about benevolent giving to Durham University here.