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Personal profile

Research interests

Liz Holcombe's background is in dynamic slope hydrology and stability modelling with a particular focus on urban landslide risk management in the Humid Tropics. The core areas of Liz's research are the development and application of:

  • slope stability and landslide cost models
  • methods for assessing landslide risk to road networks
  • community-based drainage measures for reducing urban landslide hazards in developing countries

Liz’s wider research interests within the field of disaster risk management include decision-making in uncertain environments, ‘building back better’ for resilience and sustainability, and community-based approaches.

The main application of Liz’s research has been the development of an innovative methodology for assessing and reducing landslide risk in unplanned urban communities. MoSSaiC (Management of Slope Stability in Communities) is based on identifying the localized physical causes of landslides (often related to inadequate drainage), designing appropriate engineering measures to address these causes (such as surface water drains), and constructing those measures to an adequate specification so that the root cause of the hazard is effectively addressed. This science- and engineering-based approach is embedded in community participation and the engagement of local government experts, policy-makers and development agencies. It has been successfully applied in 12 communities in the Eastern Caribbean with funding from Governments, UNDP, USAID and The World Bank.

Liz’s work is recognised within academia and in the field of international development. In 2007 she was awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers Trevithick Prize for a co-authored paper on the MoSSaiC methodology. For a full publication list see here. From 2011 to 2017 she was engaged by The World Bank as Consultant Landslide Risk Management Specialist. Liz has co-authored a book entitled 'Community-Based Landslide Risk Reduction which was published by The World Bank in 2013.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Urban Research Cluster
  • Cabot Institute Natural Hazards and Disasters Research


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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