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Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience

Who we are

IHRR is a research institute of Durham University. Our governance includes a management board and advisory board.

IHRR’s values are research-driven excellence, openness and collaboration.

We’ve shown on this website the people based at our headquarters in Durham, but it is not always possible to list everyone we work with. So if you can’t find the details of someone you’re looking for, please contact us on

Executive Director / Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk

Professor Louise Bracken

Professor Louise Bracken is the Director of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) at Durham University and the Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk. Louise leads international networks of researchers and practitioners around hazard, risk and resilience, and is a founding member of the UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR). Louise works closely with policy and practice around resource management and risk in the UK and around the world. Her research involves transdisciplinary research on water including flood risk management and communication, water resource management more widely and building community resilience. She links her physical science understanding of catchment processes to the management and governance of socio-physical landscapes. This encompasses factors such as managing risk, ensuring resilience and the choices facing citizens and policy makers.

Louise plays a key role in generating and overseeing research from a wide range of funds across the worlds of business, practice, policy, research and philanthropic donors. She has been awarded more than £3m in research funding, including awards from the EU on Nature Based Solutions, UK research councils on flood risk management, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and other less traditional funders such as the UK Heritage Lottery Fund and Yorventure. Louise has over 1,200 ISI citations and more than 60 publications in a range of top journals covering human geography, anthropology, environmental sciences, hydrology and geomorphology.

Co-Director of IHRR /

Lecturer in the Department of English Studies, Research Associate of Work Package 5 in Tipping Points Research Project

Dr Marc Botha

Marc Botha is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Theory in the Department of English Studies at Durham University.

In 2012 Marc was appointed Lecturer in English at the University of Pretoria, and was subsequently seconded as a research associate to the Leverhulme Trust Tipping Points project hosted by Durham’s Institute for Hazard Risk and Resilience. Marc was appointed to his current position as Lecturer in the Department of English Studies in 2016, and is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Marc's research interrogates the intersection of critical theory, modern and contemporary literature, and interdisciplinary aesthetics. It focuses on elaborating particular concepts – minimum, event, vulnerability, fragility, object, encounter, end – and the ways these concepts travel between histories, places, cultures and media. These concepts are put to work in three separate but interrelated areas: minimalism; fragility and vulnerability studies; and queer ecologies.

Co-Director of IHRR /

Chair in accounting and finance at the Business School

Professor Julian Williams

Julian Williams started at Durham University Business School in January 2014. He has published widely on the topics of financial regulation, risk management and portfolio management. His main interests lie in market microstructure, regulating complex derivative securities and the impact of the liquidity of these instruments on the cost of capital for individuals, companies and governments. Julian’s work has been commented on and referenced in the Financial Times, the Press and Journal and OECD publications.

IHRR Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr Hanna Ruszczyk, Assistant Professor (Research)

Hanna A. Ruszczyk is a postdoctoral research associate at Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience.

Hanna supports the interdisciplinary IHRR in a range of activities including establishing and strengthening relationships internally and externally, fundraising as well as organising seminars for the postgraduate community of Durham University.

Hanna’s research is concerned with urban risk and resilience governance strategies and frameworks in overlooked regional cities of the global South. She investigates the portfolio of risks different scales of government are concerned with and which they govern for. Exploring how residents manage their portfolio of risk and how residents interact with local authorities is also a key area of Hanna's research. Understanding how the international aid community, different scales of government, and urban residents interact to make regional cities liveable is an additional element of her research.

Hanna spent most of her career living and working in countries that are rapidly changing and urbanising. Her international development work, primarily with United Nations agencies (International Labour Organisation and United Nations Development Programme), has focused on livelihoods and local economic development in several countries. One of Hanna's professional strengths is my ability to build relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in different fields and to collaborate for a common purpose. She is particularly keen to ensure her research is of relevance to practitioners, policy makers and governments.

Her postgraduate research in the Department of Geography argued for a broader and deeper understanding of urban risk perception in ordinary medium sized cities of the world such as Bharatpur, Nepal. The research considered an intra urban comparison of residents' perceptions of risk in a core urban mixed usage ward and a rapidly urbanising ward. Risk perceptions were impacted by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and change in municipal status.

IHRR Administrator and PA to Institute Executive Director

Mrs Julie Dobson

Julie has worked at Durham University since 1994 and joined the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience in 2011 as the Institute’s Administrator. Her main responsibilities are to coordinate and manage the administrative work of the Institute and provide a comprehensive support service to ensure that the Institute meets its objectives of promoting and supporting the wide range of research of hazard, risk and resilience conducted across the University. Julie also encompasses PA support to the Institute's Executive Director / Wilson Chair, Professor Louise Bracken. The Director’s role to facilitate the conditions for academics and researchers to collaborate successfully on major, externally-funded research projects requires a dedicated and proactive PA service to allow the Institute to successfully deliver these activities.


Miss Katie Thurlbeck

Katie joined the Institute in 2013 as a Secretary to help the IHRR Administrator with administrative support across several key areas within the Institute. Two key areas are arranging the Seminar Series for the Risk Masters students and being responsible for updating web content for the Institute webpage and using social media to advertise the Institute for example Twitter and Facebook.

Contact Details

Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience
Durham University
Science Labs, South Road, Durham

Tel: +44 (0)191 3342257
Fax: +44 (0)191 3341801

Discover more on the IHRR Facebook page