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NERC GW4+ DTP Studentship: Using Indicators to Advance Multi-(Hazard)-Risk Management

   Cardiff School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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  Dr Joel Gill, Dr Melanie Duncan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Background 

This project aims to understand whether existing risk management indicators (observable and measurable characteristics to understand a current state or monitor change) support “multi-(hazard)-risk management” and identify opportunities to strengthen their application in this context. Multi-hazard means:  

“(1) the selection of multiple major hazards that the country faces, and (2) the specific contexts where hazardous events may occur simultaneously, cascadingly or cumulatively over time, and taking into account the potential interrelated effects.” (UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), 2016) 

In this context, multi-hazard approaches include but extend beyond the collation (or overlay) of distinct information for multiple natural hazards, to also characterise hazard interrelationships. The identification of spatially relevant hazards is important, but failure to consider interrelationships (and their effects on exposure/vulnerability) can distort risk management priorities or result in an underestimation of risk. 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the UN strategy to reduce disaster losses, explicitly calls for DRR practices to be ‘multi-hazard’ and includes a specific target relating to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information (UNDRR, 2015). Progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework is monitored through 38 indicators, including two on the multi-hazard target (G1, G2). 

Indicators are used in different ways, including comparing risk levels spatially and over time by measuring progress towards a desired future state. Indicators therefore help to identify priority interventions to guide disaster risk management actions (Brecht et al., 2013). An initial review of literature on multi-(hazard)-risk indicators undertaken in the H2020 MYRIAD-EU project (Gill et al., 2022) suggests that these typically focus on individual hazards or do not provide the guidance required to evaluate multi-(hazard)-risk management. 

Project Aims and Methods 

This interdisciplinary project aims to understand the extent to which existing indicators support multi-(hazard)-risk management and identify opportunities to strengthen their use. The supervisors are keen for the student to be involved in the design of the project and influence the research direction, within the constraint of improving understanding of multi-(hazard)-risk management. Example objectives may include: 

  • Reviewing the extent to which existing indicators relating to hazard assessment, monitoring, and risk management can be applied to multiple environmental hazards, and their interrelationships. 
  • Evaluating whether including indicators relating to multi-(hazard)-risk management, and the defining of multi-hazard, is contributing to improved risk management at, for instance, local or national scales and how these feed into progress at the global scale (e.g., Sendai Framework).  
  • Identifying new and existing datasets and data schema to characterise and measure indicators from a multi-(hazard) risk management perspective. 
  • Designing and testing multi-(hazard)-risk management indicators with diverse communities of practice (including communities, industry, and public sector organisations), using expert elicitation methods as appropriate, to identify whether a set of generic indicators is achievable. 

To achieve these objectives, the student will draw on both natural and social science approaches to collect and integrate multiple evidence types, examining these through the lens of the physical mechanisms by which hazards and hazard interrelationships occur (e.g., triggering, amplification, compounding effects).  

Candidate Requirements 

Candidates should have a broad understanding of the physical processes underlying a range of natural hazards (e.g., with degrees in geology, geography, environmental management). This project would suit someone with a background in integrating different disciplines, in particular from the physical and social sciences, or with an interest in working across these disciplines.  

Project Partners  

The School of Earth and Environmental Science at Cardiff University is at the forefront of finding real-world solutions to some of the most pressing issues in Earth and Environmental Sciences. You will also be part of a community of doctoral researchers around the UK linked to the British Geological Survey (BGS), having access to training and opportunities to interact with their diverse hazard and risk experts. Both supervisors are involved in the Horizon 2020 funded project Multi-hazard and sYstemic framework for enhancing Risk-Informed mAnagement and Decision-making in the E.U., a project complementing this studentship. You will network with other researchers – across Europe – working on themes relating to multi-(hazard)-risk. 


This project provides an excellent opportunity for a student interested in developing interdisciplinary skills. The student will be expected to complete training in social-science research methods (where experience is limited) and strengthen their understanding of different hazard groups (geological, hydrological, atmospheric). Subject to any travel restrictions, the student will complete field visits to collect primary data. Locations will be agreed with the student, depending on the finalised objectives, but could include South or Southeast Asia, Central America, or Europe. You will be encouraged to apply to engage in national and international conferences, including those outside of academia (e.g., the UN Global Platform on DRR), and attend international, interdisciplinary summer schools (e.g., at Uppsala University, Sweden). 

Entry requirements

In order to be accepted you would need to have a first-class BSc degree or a second-class degree plus an MSc or good MSci. However, for international students, you would need to have a relevant degree in the subject area and have evidence of an English Language qualification. Further information on the English Language can be found here:

How to apply

In order to formally apply for the PhD you will need to go to the following web page:

In the black box on the right of the page please select the following options:

·Doctor of Philosophy

·Full Time

·1st October 2023

Click on ‘Apply now’.

Please ensure that you include the ‘Project Title’ you are applying for and supervisor and that you add ‘NERC DTP’ under the source of funding.

The application deadline is Monday 9 January 2023 at 2359 GMT. Interviews will take place from 22nd February to 8th March 2023. For more information about the NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership please visit

Funding Notes

Students will receive a stipend for 3.5 years of approximately £17668 p.a., payment of their university tuition fees, a Research and Training and Support Grant (RTSG) of £11,000 and an individual training budget of £3,250. The training budget of £3,250 are for each student to undertake specialist training relating to their specialist area of research and career development and to pay for travel and accommodation.


Brecht H, Deichmann U, & Wang HG. (2013). A global urban risk index. World Bank. Working Paper (6506)
Gill, J., Duncan, M., et al., (2022) Handbook of Multi-hazard, Multi-Risk Definitions and Concepts. MYRIAD-EU D1.2.
UNDRR (2015). Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–30. UNDRR.
UNDRR (2016). Report of the open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to DRR. Terminology available at:
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