Personal profile


Andrew Collins is Professor in Disaster and Development with the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences where he is also subject lead for human geography, policy and development. Beyond his regular research, teaching and management responsibilities, he represents disaster, development and health related initiatives internationally, including through election to board and chair appointments for multiple disasters related institutions and alliances. He gained his PhD from King’s College London in Human Geography in 1996 and first-class BSc (Hons) from Kingston University in 1992.

Prior to the above, Andrew worked for extended periods in Africa and the Middle East including voluntary service. He has led the establishment of the world’s first disaster management and sustainable development postgraduate programme launched in 2000, and currently the Disaster and Development Network (DDN) (formerly the DDC) launched in 2004. Related projects and international links include through supervision of a community of PhD, postdoctoral and active affiliates for research grounded both in local level hazard and vulnerability mitigation and higher-level policy and advisory challenges.

Research interests

My research interests are in the theoretical, methodological and policy aspects of disaster reduction, health ecology, sustainable development, adaptive capacity or human security in contexts of complex crises. This engages interlinked issues of environment and society, population displacement, risk, governance, education, environmental and disaster management globally and locally. Local impacts have focussed on engaging health security through disease risk reduction and community-based strategies, considered a form of resilience building. This requires societal and scientific rebalancing midst environmental and global crises. I engaged in field specific research of more than 25 countries, using this to interpret action on hazard, risk, disaster, health ecology, complex emergency and humanitarian spaces, as interdisciplinary and cross sectoral challenges.

This research orientation embraces advocacy and engagement of an altogether people centred disaster risk reduction, with an objective of emboldening this beyond resilience and survivability, purposively for well-being outcomes at multiple levels. In concept and methodologically, living with climate change and pandemic threat demands evidence of the nature of persistent social and economic inequality, fragility and uncertainty. This opens possibilities for proactive application of science, technology, policy and behavioural change. I aim to spend the remainder of my research contribution attempting to make it influence the change we need to see for the health of future generations. I draw on knowledge and research experience accumulated locally during smaller-scale research partnerships through to global research alliances. I serve on a range of high-level academic research, policy and practitioner advisory, review and commissioning boards, nationally (UK), regionally (EU) and globally (UN), particularly when linked to the 2015-2030 agenda of the United Nations SDGs, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Paris Climate Agreement.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Geography, PhD

30 Jun 199631 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 1996

External positions

Member of UKRI/NERC COP26 Events Steering Group

5 Mar 2021 → …

Leader of United Nations Science and Technology (STAG) Working Group on ‘Data’, for the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR 2015-2030)

1 Nov 201731 Dec 2019

Advisory Board Member, Access to Safe Reproductive Health Services in Bangladesh, Reproductive Health in Disasters Programme, University of Leicester, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and ICDDR, Bangladesh.

1 Sept 201631 Dec 2019

Co-Chair of International Peace Research Association (IPRA) ‘Ecology and Peace Commission’ (incorporating Risk and Conflict Working Group)(2016-2018). Subsequently, Co-commissioner of ‘IPRA Peace Ecology in the Anthropocene’ (PEA) Commission (2018-Present).

24 Jul 2016 → …

Member of Disaster Medicine Fellowship Advisory Board, School of Medicine, University of Indiana, USA.

20 May 2016 → …

Elected Co-Chair of UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR)

1 May 2016 → …

Elected Chair, (Elected Board Member since 2015) of Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI)

21 Mar 201631 Mar 2021

Chair of Advisory Board: ‘The Position and Experiences of ‘New Migrants’ in the North East of England’, A Consortia of Civil Societal and Refugee Support Organisations and Northumbria University funded by British Academy and Leverhulme.

15 Jun 201431 Dec 2016

Board Director: International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM); hosted by Kyoto University, Japan.

24 Mar 2014 → …

WHO - Member of WHO Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (H-EDRM) Research Network since 2016. Previously World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Health and Disaster Risk Management Platform Consultative Pre-Groups.

1 Jul 2013 → …

GOS - Lead of UK Government Office for Science (GOS) Review of ‘Mechanisms for Reacting to Environmental Shocks’ for migration influenced by climate change, commissioned by Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Govt. as part of Foresight Global Environmental Migration Project

1 Sept 201031 Dec 2011

RCUK - Member of Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) Global Uncertainties Programme.

1 Sept 201031 Dec 2015

UKRI - Member of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Peer Review College. ESRC Large Grants Commissioning Panel Member 2014, Centre Grants Selection Panel and Interview Panel Deputy Chair 2017. GCRF Grants Selection Panel 2019.

1 Sept 2010 → …

Elected Chair of Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) Steering Committee (£30+ million); supported by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Department for International Development (DFID), Government of Sweden and Welcome Trust. 2010-2017: Nationally Elected Steering Group Member for ELRHA. 2017-2019: Member of Humanitarian Innovation Fund Grant Selection Panel.

15 Jul 20103 Sept 2019

ZIF - Research Fellow. ZiF-research group, ‘Communicating Disaster’, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University, Germany.

15 Jan 201030 Sept 2012


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