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David Litchfield

David Litchfield


David Litchfield


Twitter: @litchfieldd

OrcID: 0000-0002-6702-5398


Academic profile

My educational and professional background has followed two main strands: one in the health and social care sector and the other in geosciences and natural hazards. After gaining a BSc in Human Cybernetics (University of Reading 1997), I returned to study four years later for an MA in Social Work (University of Nottingham 2003) where it included practical placements in the UK and Greece and a project exploring the use of evidence-based practice with older people. I have worked for a number of years with vulnerable adults both directly in different services before moving into the regulation of health and social care as an inspector and finally as an analyst focussed on the development, analysis and use of health and social care datasets. However, a career break in Latin America awakened an old interest in the natural world and especially volcanoes. So alongside my employment I gained a second undergraduate degree in Geosciences (Open University 2012) and an MSc in Geophysical Hazards (UCL 2014). Projects have included reviewing the risk to aviation from Icelandic volcanic risk, and an examination of stress fields around Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano and their use in forecasting explosive episodes. I also spent an internship in Ecuador learning about volcano monitoring and community engagement.

My broad research interests are in the area of natural hazards and disaster risk reduction. I am particularly interested in volcanoes and in how science can be better applied and integrated with other disciplines including social sciences to increase its impact on reducing loss of life and livelihood from eruptive events.

Current research

My PhD project at the University of East Anglia began in October 2014 and reflects my interdisciplinary interests, focussed on the island of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles, home to 70,000 people and with the highest density of potentially active volcanic centres in the world. Recognising the uncertainties surrounding future eruptive events, I will gather data on the volcanic hazard as well as apply social scientific methods to better understand the vulnerabilities and resilience of the local community. I will then use the approaches being developed by the STREVA project to integrate these interacting factors into a volcanic risk assessment.

I am funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) via the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership.

Supervisory team

Prof Jenni Barclay, Dr Anna Hicks, and Mr Peter Simmons of the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA

Dr Richard Robertson, University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre.

Other activities

Student representative to the EnvEast DTP Management Board