PDRA in the Mountain Multi-Hazard Chain
The Department of Geography at Durham University seeks to appoint a full-time Grade 7 research associate to work with Professor Alexander Densmore, Professor Nick Rosser, Professor Boguslaw Obara, and a wider consortium team on a project entitled 'Sajag-Nepal: Planning and Preparedness for the Mountain Hazard and Risk Chain in Nepal'. The project is funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund, and aims to improve decision-making and preparedness in Nepal in order to mitigate the impacts and reduce the risks from the mountain hazard chain that is triggered by earthquakes and monsoon rainfall. The project involves close collaboration between physical scientists, social scientists, and a wide range of partner organisations in Nepal and elsewhere, including government departments, national and international NGOs, and the UN. The objectives of the project are to (i) contextualise the contemporary multi-hazard and systemic risk landscape in Nepal, to understand how risk is produced, experienced, and negotiated by households and communities, and to embed this understanding in hazard and risk reduction and management; (ii) transform the earthquake planning process into national-scale preparedness planning for catastrophic multi-hazard events triggered by rare damaging earthquakes; (iii) transform the monsoon planning process into seasonal planning for monsoon-related multi-hazard events at a scale that is appropriate for local government decision-making; and (iv) develop new protocols for embedding local, natural and social scientific knowledge of the mountain hazard and risk chain in preparedness and response.
This post will primarily contribute to objective (i), and will focus on the development and analysis of the first dynamic, national-scale multi-hazard inventory for Nepal. This inventory will cover the full earthquake- and monsoon-triggered hazard chain, including landslides, debris flows, and sediment aggradation. The post-holder will lead on upscaling an existing landside mapping and household-level risk assessment programme, focused on the area that was most badly affected by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, to the national scale. They will implement and refine a novel approach to national-scale multi-hazard mapping, using Google Earth Engine to develop annually-updated multi-hazard inventories. They will analyse the resulting inventories to understand the spatial and temporal distributions of different elements of the mountain hazard chain. They will also work closely with the interdisciplinary project team to explore the potential for integrating local and scientific knowledge on the mountain hazard chain.
The post-holder will be based at Durham University, but will be expected to work closely with team members at other UK institutions (Northumbria, Newcastle, Oxford, Bristol) and with wider members of the consortium, particularly at the National Society for Earthquake Technology (Nepal) and at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, Government of Nepal. The post-holder will also be expected to work closely with other members of the project team to ensure that the understanding and tools developed in this project are relevant to the research needs and skills of a wide range of potential stakeholders. A key element of the proposed work will be the development of capacity within the Government of Nepal to maintain and analyse the inventories, to share the data through existing online platforms, and to use the inventories to inform discussions with municipal-level government and community residents about the hazards and risks that they face.