Lead Expert Group
Professor Angela McLean, University of Oxford (Chair)
Angela McLean’s research interests lie in the use of mathematical models to aid our understanding of the evolution and spread of infectious agents. This encompasses modelling of the dynamics of infections and immune responses within individual hosts as well as models of the spread of infections from one host to another. She became Professor of Mathematical Biology at Oxford in 2004. In 2005 she became Director of the Institute for Emerging Infections – a founding Institute of the James Martin 21st Century School. She was elected to the Royal Society in 2009, and was awarded the Royal Society's Gabor Medal in 2011. She is a Fellow of All Souls College and is currently a member of the Science Advisory Council of Defra where she chairs a sub-group considering Defra’s use of scientific risk appraisal. She also sits on the National Expert Panel for New and Emerging Infections at the Department of Health and the European Academies Science Advisory Council working group on Migration and Infectious Disease.
Rowan Douglas CEO Global Analytics, Willis Group & Chairman, Willis Research Network
Mr Douglas is CEO Global Analytics, Willis Group, a global insurance and reinsurance broker. Willis arranges protection for assets and populations against extreme events from natural catastrophe, financial, man-made and liability risks. Willis employs approximately 20,000 personnel across 100 countries.
He also chairs the Willis Research Network, the world's largest collaboration between public science and the finance sector, involving fifty universities and science institutions to confront the challenges of delivering sustainability, resilience and financial security at local and global scales.
In 2011 Mr Douglas was appointed to the UK Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology (CST). The CST is the UK Government’s top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues. Since 2008 he has also served on the UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) which oversees around £300m of annual science expenditure.
Mr Douglas Co-Chairs, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Expert Advisory Group on Financial Risk Transfer, Geneva; and is a member of the Advisory Panel of the NCAR Earth System Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado; the Governing Board of the Global Earthquake Model Foundation, Pavia, Italy; the Private Sector Advisory Group of the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; the UNEP Finance Initiative Insurance Commission in Geneva and Co-Chairs the Willis Economic Capital Forum at Georgia State University, Atlanta.
He began his career underwriting reinsurance at Syndicate 1095 at Lloyd's in 1992 before founding the international risk information company WIRE Limited in 1994 which he sold to Willis in 2000.
Mr. Douglas holds degrees in Geography from Durham University (B.A.) and the University of Bristol (M.Phil) and was Hon. Visiting Research Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex from 1995 until 2001. He lives and works in London.
Professor Jan Willem Gunning, Amsterdam Institute for International Development
Jan Willem Gunning is professor of development economics and director of the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID). Previously he was professor at the University of Oxford where he directed the Centre for the Study of African Economies. He has also been a staff member of the World Bank in Washington DC. His current research focuses on impact evaluation of development programmes, microeconomic analysis of economic growth under risk and vulnerability of rural households. He became a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, and was a member of the editorial board of the World Bank Economic Review from 2001-2009. He founded with Paul Collier the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), University of Oxford, and invited by the Board of the IMF to conduct the first ever external evaluation of the Fund. He was the founding chair of the European Development Research Network, and has been a consultant for DfID, EU, ILO, IMF, UN, and the World Bank.
Professor Peter Guthrie, University of Cambridge
Peter Guthrie is the first Professor in Engineering for Sustainable Development in the UK, having held this post since 2000. His research is focused on the assessment of large scale projects for sustainability, and the sustainable development of infrastructure in developing countries, including the challenging the appropriateness of technical standards. Peter was a member and latterly Vice-Chair of DEFRA’s Scientific Advisory Council (2003-2011) and led the Waste Sub Group. He was on the DECC Project Board for the Severn Tidal Power scheme study. In 1980, following an assignment working with the Vietnamese Boat People in Malaysia, he was involved in the founding of RedR, a charity that provides engineers and other personnel to relief agencies in disasters. Peter is currently chairing the Global Agenda Council on Disaster Management for the World Economic Forum. He was awarded the OBE in 1994. He was Vice-President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in the late 1990s and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Carolyn Miller, Chief Executive Merlin
Carolyn Miller is the Chief Executive of Merlin - UK’s leading international health charity, sending medical experts to the frontline of global emergencies. Merlin works with a focus on the prevention of and response to the major health threats and disease burdens in disaster and conflict-affected populations. Carolyn joined Merlin in January 2005, just days after the Asian tsunami prompted the organisation’s largest ever emergency response. Since then, she has built on Merlin’s longer-term recovery and resilience programmes and policy work, as well as overseeing other emergency responses, most recently in Libya, Liberia/Ivory Coast, Pakistan and Haiti.
Carolyn has more than 20 years experience in international development and humanitarian work. She previously worked as a Director (Europe, Middle East and Americas) at the UK Department for International Development and as Director of Programmes at Save the Children.
She has lived and worked in countries affected by conflict, including Nicaragua and Mozambique, and has managed a variety of large international programmes. Carolyn has also worked in various positions within local government.
Professor Tim Palmer, University of Oxford
Tim Palmer is a Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics at Oxford University and Professorial Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. In addition he co-directs the Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate at the Oxford Martin School, is a senior consultant at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, and is currently President of the Royal Meteorological Society. His research spans a wide variety of areas, from the theoretical to the practical, in issues related to the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate. On the theoretical side, he is especially interested in aspects of the climate system which exhibit nonlinear behaviour. On the practical side, he has worked on the application of weather and climate forecasts for malaria prediction, flood forecasting, and crop yield estimation.
He has been a lead author of the IPCC third assessment report, have coordinated two European Union climate projects, and was co-chair of the international scientific steering group of a World Climate Research Programme project on climate variability and predictability. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, and is currently President of the Royal Meteorological Society, and a member of the government's Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Climate Change Committee.
Professor Mark Pelling, King’s College London
Mark Pelling is Professor in Geography. His research interests are in the institutions and social relationships that shape vulnerability and adaptation to natural disaster, including climate change, and in the ways in which conflicting values and practices of development inform resilience and transformation in the face of environmental change. He has served the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an author for its Fifth Assessment Report and Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. He also sits on the Scientific Steering Committees for the IGBP-IHDP core project Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) and the ICSU core project Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR). He has written reports on Disaster Risk Reduction for the World Bank, DfID, UNDP, Tearfund, and UN-ISDR. His books include: “Disaster Risk Reduction: cases from urban Africa”, “The Vulnerability of Cities: social resilience and natural disaster” and “Natural Disasters and Development in a Globalizing World”.
Professor John Rees, British Geological Survey
John Rees is the NERC theme leader for Natural Hazards. At the British Geological Survey, he was manager of the Coastal Geoscience and Global Change Programme and, most recently, Head of Corporate Policy and Science Co-ordination. His main coastal and marine interests are in flooding, erosion and pollution. John has also been involved in international programmes addressing regional coastal vulnerability and sustainability in Indonesia, Brazil and countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Emma Tompkins, University of Southampton
Emma holds a Readership in environment and development in the School of Geography & Environment. Her research career has covered all aspects of environmental management and governance from developing novel decision support tools for coastal management to exploring the trickle down effects of international conventions, and the relative roles of the state, firms and individuals in disaster management. Her current focus is on understanding the role of institutions in enabling or constraining social, structural and individual behavioural change in relation to weather hazards and climate change. She sits on the Editorial Board of Ecology and Society and on the Advisory Group for the UK Climate Impacts Programme.
She is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report Five and was a contributing author to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Extremes and Disasters, an expert reviewer for the IPCC fourth Assessment Report, and provides ongoing expert reviews for research councils in the UK and seven other European countries.
Emma has published papers, articles and policy briefs on environmental management, adaptation to climate change, and social and ecological resilience, as well as accessible handbooks on surviving climate change in small islands and participatory coastal zone management. She has a PhD Environmental Science (UEA), MSc Environmental and Resource Economics (UCL) and BA Economics (Leicester).
Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive Officer, Disasters Emergency Committee
After graduating from Trinity College Cambridge, Brendan Gormley MBE lived in Africa and the Middle East for ten years working on development programmes specialising in agro-pastoral and urban renewal issues. He then returned to the UK where he was Oxfam’s Africa Director for most of the nineties. As CEO since 2000 of the Disaster Emergency Committee, which unites the leading UK International Charities, he has helped raise several hundred million pounds to enable them to respond to major crises across the world. He served as Chair of Acord and is currently a Trustee of One World Media and the Noel-Buxton Trust.
Robert Muir-Wood Chief Research Officer at Risk Management Solutions
Robert heads the branch of Risk Management Solutions (RMS) responsible for enhancing approaches to natural catastrophe modeling and developing models for new areas of risk. RMS probabilistic models provide critical risk management solutions to hundreds of financial institutions around the world, enabling them to manage and price risks from a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and infectious diseases and manmade hazards such as terrorism.
Robert has more than 20 years' experience in developing probabilistic catastrophe models for a range of perils and regions, and has recently focused on the clustering of catastrophic events, insurance loss amplification, and "mega" catastrophes such as the potential locations of Magnitude 9 earthquakes and their accompanying tsunamis.
Robert was a lead author for the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, and for the 2011 IPCC Special Report on Extremes. He is also Vice Chair of the OECD High Level Advisory Board of the International Network on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes. He was the founding editor of the journal Terra Nova, is the author of six books, as well as numerous papers and articles in scientific and industry publications.
He holds a degree in natural sciences and a PhD in Earth Sciences, both from Cambridge University, and was a junior research fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.