Practical Research and Collaboration Division
International Research Collaboration Office
Visiting Professor

Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London
Research Subject(s)
David Alexander is Professor of Emergency Planning and Management at University College London (UCL). He graduated in geography at the London School of Economics and obtained his PhD in Mediterranean geomorphology from UCL. From 1982 until 2002 he taught geomorphology, physical geography, natural hazards and disaster studies at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst (USA). Over the period 2003-7 he was Scientific Director of the Advanced School of Civil Protection of the regional government of Lombardy. As a Professor the University of Florence (2005-11) he was a leading member of the team that designed, launched and taught Italy's first Master of Civil Protection course. Alexander is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bournemouth and Northumbria (UK), Coimbra (Portugal), Lund (Sweden), Kyoto and Yamaguchi, (Japan) and Research Fellow at the Global Risk Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Alexander's book Natural Disasters was published in London and New York in 1993 and has frequently been reprinted. His subsequent books include Confronting Catastrophe (2000), Principles of Emergency Planning and Management (2002), Recovery from Disaster (with Ian Davis, 2015) and How to Write an Emergency Plan (2016).

David Alexander is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, and was formerly Co-Editor of Disasters journal. He is a member of the editorial boards of 14 academic journals. He is Vice-President and Chairman of the Trustees of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, which is the oldest learned society in the field of disaster reduction. In 2013 Alexander won the Distinguished Research Award of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM).
Key Words
Emergency planning / disaster management / disaster risk reduction / recovery from disaster; earthquake injury epidemiology
Research Activities

Study of monumentalisation of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. This work includes surveys of museums and sites in the Tohoku region.

Major hazards and people with disabilities. Work for the Council of Europe, including studies of the impact of Covid-19 on the disabled.

Cascading disasters and systemic risk. Studies of cascading impacts, including development and application to real cases of theory for the description and analysis of cascades.

Selected Works

Davis, I. and D. Alexander 2015. Recovery from Disaster. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 357 pp.
Alexander, D.E. 2016. How to Write an Emergency Plan. Dunedin Academic Press, Edinburgh and London, 268 pp. Published in Chinese translation by China Meteorological Press, Beijing.
Alexander, D.E., J-C Gaillard, I. Kelman, F. Marincioni, E. Penning-Rowsell, D. van Niekerk and L. Vinnell 2020. Academic publishing in disaster risk reduction: past, present and future. Disasters 45(1): 5-18. DOI: 10.1111/disa.12432
Alexander, D.E. 2021. On evidence-based practice in disaster risk reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 12(6): 919-927. DOI: 10.1007/s13753-021-00381-3
Alexander, D.E. 2022. On the meaning of impact in disaster risk reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 13(5): 822-827. DOI: 10.1007/s13753-022-00447-w

Selected Memberships
  • Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers (RGS)
  • Royal Society of Arts and Manufactures (RSA)
  • The Geological Society, London (GSL)
  • Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM)
  • Institute of Strategic Risk Management (ISRM)
Selected Awards
  • Awarded the Santa Barbara medal of the Italian National Volunteer Fire Brigades for services to emergency education and training, 15 May 2009
  • Winner of the Distinguished Research Award of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM), 5 September 2013
  • Institute for Strategic Risk Management "Fellow of the Year", 2023.

Recent commitments:
Specialist Adviser, UK House of Lords Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning
Member of the International Working Group on Strategic Crisis Management in Europe, part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM)
UK Government Office for Science Resilience Foresight Project Expert Advisory Group member
Expert Working Group member, UK Cabinet Office initiative on revision of the National Security Risk Assessment