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Personal profile


Katharine is a human geographer specialising in risk communication, community and youth-centred disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. She has considerable experience undertaking qualitative and quantitative research with communities, emergency management practitioners, professionals and policy makers. Katharine has a special interest in participatory processes and action research as a means for understanding and enhancing community-based adaptation and risk reduction.

Katharine was called as an expert witness at the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, following the Black Saturday disaster. In 2015, she was awarded the Australian Academy of Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) for the most important contributions in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for a scientist under the age of 40. 

Prior to taking up a position with the Department of Geography and Planning Katharine worked with Risk Frontiers for 12 years and was responsible for the introduction of social science into their core body of work.

Katharine completed her PhD at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, investigating the communication of risk on the volcanically active island of Montserrat WI. 

Research student supervision

Higher degree research supervision

Past students:

Avianto Amri, ‘Challenges in implementing disaster risk reduction education: Views from the frontline in Indonesia’. Masters of Research awarded by Macquarie University August 2015. Received 91%.

Tetsuya Okada, ‘Acknowledging local sociality in disaster recovery: a longitudinal, qualitative study’. Doctor of Philosophy awarded by Macquarie University, December 2016.

Current students:

Avianto Amri, PhD - A cross cultural investigation of child-centred disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Indonesia and Australia. Macquarie University. Expected completion date: February 2019.

Arifa Ahmed Mozumdar, PhD -  Entering Floodwater: Occupational and Public Perceptions of Risk and Cue Utilisation. Macquarie University. Expected completion date: 15 March 2020.  

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of East Anglia


MSci, University College London



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