“An introduction and overview of the new natural hazards and disaster risk research group, School of Geosciences”

Thursday 21 November

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SEI Boardroom, L2.39 The Quadrangle, The University of Sydney


A brief overview of the new natural hazards research group in the School of Geosciences.



This SEI lunchtime seminar gave Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes the opportunity to provide an overview of the new natural hazards research group in the University of Sydney’s School of Geosciences. Professor Dominey-Howes has applied his considerable expertise in natural hazards, risk assessment and disaster management to head up this interdisciplinary team of experts who seek to provide world class, scientific, community and policy relevant natural disaster knowledge. This advanced research group draws upon collaborative networks of community groups, government, NGOs and private industry to develop a risk management approach that encompasses everything from an understanding of micropaleontology to the social dimensions of risk. This diverse approach reflects the work of SEI that also seeks to lead cross-disciplinary engagement on a range of environmental and sustainability issues.

The natural hazards group has worked on a variety of vital projects from assessing the urban vulnerability of cities in NSW, to considering the impacts of climate on tourism in the Pacific. It is hoped that this unique group’s collaboration with SEI will see the continued advancement and expansion of this vital work, work that has important implications for a world increasingly shaped by climate change.

Dale Dominey-Howes completed a BSc (Hons) in Geography and Archaeology at London University and completed his PhD in geohazards (tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes) in Greece at Coventry University, UK under the supervision of Professors David Smith and Alistair Dawson. His PhD was funded by a large European Union grant enabling him to be based at the National Observatory of Athens under the guidance of Professor Gerassimos Papadopoulos.

Dale’s interests and expertise are in natural hazards, hazard, risk and vulnerability assessment, disaster and emergency management. He is particularly interested in the interconnections between biophysical systems and the socio-economic contexts in which disasters unfold and considers ‘natural hazards’ in terms of coupled human-environment systems and policy. He has worked on natural hazards such as earthquakes, river floods, tropical cyclones, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and bushfires in places as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Thailand, Iceland and the Maldives.

At the present time, He is involved in a variety of research projects focusing on hazards and risk in Australasia, the Indo-Pacific region and Iceland in conjunction with members of the Natural Hazards Research Laboratory and collaborators from across the globe.

Dale has completed research projects and consultancies for organisations as diverse as the United Nations, The World Bank, major insurance and reinsurance companies, State and Federal government departments and risk/disaster management agencies.

He is Chairman of the United Nations UNESCO-IOC Post-disaster Policy and Protocols Working Group (2010 – present). He joined The University of Sydney in July 2013.