3 December 2010
Apologies for the paucity of posts over the last fortnight – I promise that normal service will shortly be returned! I am currently somewhat rushed off my feet. You may know that my current job is split between two roles – nominally I spend 30% of my time on my own research, including fieldwork; conferences; supervising PhD students and post-docs; writing papers; refereeing; replying to emails; and, of course, writing this blog! The other 70% of my time is spent helping to run the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health (Faculty in this context is the European not US meaning – i.e. it is what is often referred to in the US as a College, although confusingly that word has a different meaning for us as well). In particular, I look after research and enterprise activities across nine academic units, including the Medical School, Archaeology, Anthropology, Education, Law, Geography, Government and International Affairs and Applied Social Sciences, and various associated units and centres.
From the middle of January I will give up this role to move to something new and exciting. At this time I will take over as the Executive Director of the Durham University Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience. My current research already forms a component of the activities of this Institute; it is a great honour to take over as director. The Institute is a cross-department and genuinely multi-disciplinary entity aimed at generating and disseminating world leading research in hazard, risk and resilience. Its remit is broad, including research in security, natural hazards, vulnerability, ecosystems and many other issues. It is housed in a three years old, purpose-built, and rather elegant, building (shown to the left) and has an excellent group of staff associated with it. The institute helps to deliver graduate programmes in Hazard and Risk, most notably a new Masters level programme in Hazard and Risk run in conjunction with the Geography Department. The Institute also manages an excellent blog, to which I am an occasional contributor (and in which I will play a greater role in the future). It has a host of really good multimedia material, most notably a series of podcasts of presentations and seminars. Of course it also has a number of great research projects, notably including a major programme on Tipping Points, a project on the implications of climate change for older people, a project on the regeneration of brownfield sites, and the Boulby Geoscience project.
I am tremendously excited about my new role, taking over from Professor Stuart Lane, who has done a wonderful job. I hope that this will mean that I am able to develop a new suite of research and knowledge exchange programmes, and to engage more with readers of this blog. So, this is an open invitation to all readers – please drop me a line and get involved with our activities.