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Reducing multi hazard risk for tomorrow’s citizens: citizen science as a means to embed disaster risk reduction into primary schools’ learning in Quito (BARCLAYJU20SCIGCRF)

Project Description

In hazard prone regions of the world, sustainable development demands the integration of multi-hazard disaster risk into urban planning and decision-making. So, the residents of tomorrow’s cities will need to be not just hazard aware but hazard ‘wise’: with a firm understanding of not just how and why hazards develop and transform into disaster but also their own role in mitigation and preparedness with a historical perspective.

This interdisciplinary project will investigate how we create these ‘hazard wise’ citizens by embedding interdisciplinary learning in the school’s curriculum in the case study regions of Quito in the Urban Risk Hub(iv). The aim is to use citizen science to generate ‘experiential learning’ of the relationship between hazard occurrence and local and global impacts (ii) as well as incorporating a historical analysis to understand why “disasters are not natural” but a product of socio-political decisions (Mora, 2009). During the course of their training the student will be expected to develop and maintain a network of instruments (RaspberryShakes and mini –meteorological stations) to monitor local and global events with primary school age children across 4 schools across the Hub’s Quito case study locations. These instruments and their data will act as a ‘gateway’ to develop interest and discussion about the complexities of the relationship between risk mitigation and sustainable livelihoods (see e.g. Barclay et al., 2019). The research student will develop research strategies to not only analyse the monitoring data with the participants but to understand the learning opportunities this creates, and evaluate its efficacy in creating tomorrow’s ‘hazard wise’ citizens.

For more information on the project’s supervisor, please visit:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date of project: October 2020.
Mode of study: full time.
Studentship length: 3 years. (3 year studentships have a (non-funded) 1 year ‘registration only’ period).
Location: UEA.
Entry requirements:
a) acceptable first degree: any affiliated with the Geological Sciences or an appropriate type of social science.
b) standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is funded by the Faculty of Science for 3 years. Funding is available to UK/EU applicants and comprises home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,285 for 3 years. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (which for 2020-21 are detailed on the University’s fees pages at View Website .

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase). This studentship forms part of the commitment made by UEA to support doctoral training as part of the UKRI GCRF Multi-Hazard Urban Disaster Risk Transitions Hub.


i) Barclay et al., (2019)
ii) Hicks et al., (2019)
iii) Stone et al., (2018)
v) Mora, S. (2009). Disasters are not natural: risk management, a tool for development. Geological Society, London, Engineering Geology Special Publications, 22(1), 101-112.

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