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Personal profile

Research interests

My research concerns uncertainty and risk assessment for things that have the potential to cause substantial harm ('hazards').

  • One part of my research focuses on particular hazards, like volcanoes, avalanches, or floods. For example: predicting future events, combining historical observations, expertise, and modelling.

  • Another part focuses on general methods that are applicable across hazards, and across the full range of people connected with the hazard. This is mainly for strategic planning.

  • Then there is the tricky question of how to work within an organisation to improve risk assessment, possibly by reducing ambiguity, possibly by introducing new tools, or new ways of interpreting existing practices.

  • Finally, I have found that—as a practising statistician—it is important to have a sound grasp of the theoretical and philosophical fundamentals of Statistics, and also of the history of our subject.

PhD projects

A range of applied statistics projects looking at uncertainty and risk assessment in natural hazards, such as: volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides, extreme weather and floods, space weather.  Projects in these areas are typically characterised by limited and poor-quality observations, and often also by a limited understanding of the underlying processes.  Mathematical technique is important, but clarity of thought is essential -- including on important foundational questions like "How does Statistics help people to make better choices when managing risk?"  This is about addressing the right question, achieving a defensible answer, and communicating the results.

 

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