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Durham University

Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience


Our 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 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.

Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk

Professor Louise Bracken

Since 2015 Professor Louise Bracken has been the Wilson Chair in Hazard and Risk. She was the Executive Director from June 2015 until September 2019. Louise holds an undergraduate degree in Geography from Leeds University and a PhD from Birmingham University. Louise’s research expertise is in fluvial geomorphology, flooding and how knowledge of water is used to better manage the environment. Professor Bracken is a highly respected scholar within physical geography and the hazard and risk community, serving as a member of various NERC and GCRF grant assessment panels, is a member of the Steering Committee for the UK Alliance for Disaster Research and established the GCRF Liaison Group in Durham University. Louise has published over 70 articles, stewarded over £25M of research grant income and supervised numerous postgraduate research students who now occupy senior roles in academia and practice. Louise is one of the world’s leading experts on the pathways that runoff and sediment take through drainage basins. Louise has also pioneered interdisciplinary research within the hazard and risk research landscape.

Co-Director of IHRR / Lecturer in the Department of English Studies

Dr Marc Botha

Marc Botha is Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature and Theory in the Department of English Studies. His research is situated in the broad field of critical and cultural theory, exploring the intersection of aesthetics and politics, with interests in minimalism, vulnerability studies, queer theory, and the political anthropology of religion. In addition to a monograph on minimalism (A Theory of Minimalism, Bloomsbury 2017), he is co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, Future Theory and Cosmopoetics and editor of a special issue of English Academy Review (Routledge, 2014), "Precarious Present, Fragile Futures."

His current research is focused on critically reimagining the relationship of contemporary thinking on risk to a trans-historical and trans-cultural genealogy of divination, and the ways in which bio political futures are 'poetically divined' by the potentialities and impotentialities of vulnerable bodies in the present. Marc has, since 2015, co-ordinated a research strand on risk and the humanities within the Matariki Network of Universities. He is also a Research Associate of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and an active collaborator on projects co-ordinated by Wits, Uppsala and Sussex Universities.

IHRR Postdoctoral Research Associate, Assistant Professor (Research)

Dr Hanna Ruszczyk

Hanna A. Ruszczyk is an Assistant Professor (Research) at Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience and the Department of Geography. She critically engages with a range of concepts including hope, resilience and resistance, community, urban, risk and power. Dr Ruszczyk conducts research on urban risk governance and resilience strategies in medium sized, regional cities of the Global South. She explores how local authorities engage with citizens, which risks are managed for in cities and the tensions caused by inequalities in an urban fractured world.

Dr Ruszczyk is particularly interested in how gendered aspects of cities manifest themselves in creating and perpetuating risk. She is keen to ensure that the research has relevance and traction within policy and practice spheres. Before academia, Dr. Ruszczyk worked for two United Nations agencies, the International Labour Office and the United Nations Development Programme. You can visit Hanna's website here.

IHRR Administrator and PA to Institute Executive Director

Mrs Julie Dobson

Julie joined IHRR in 2011 as the Institute’s Administrator. Her main responsibilities are managing all administrative work in the Institute and delivering a consistently high level of service by liaising with external and internal stakeholders and ensuring that the budget is effectively managed so that the Institute can achieve its strategic priorities. Julie also produces timely management information for departmental strategic and operational planning and decision making as well as encompassing PA support to the Institute's Executive Director / Wilson Chair, Professor Louise Bracken.