John is Director of Earth Hazards and Observatories at the British Geological Survey, focusing primarily on seismic, volcanic and space weather hazards, as well as observational systems, including from satellites, to monitor these. His research interests include characterization of multi-hazards and long-term environmental change, the assessment of risks associated with these and options for building resilience to them. He has contributed to the development of risk analysis tools to support financial instruments in disaster risk reduction. John has worked in Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, particularly on urban, coastal and marine risks. He has worked for DFID, UNISDR and Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (World Bank).
John has a highly interdisciplinary focus, working with and across many sectoral funders. He led the Major Group for Science and Technology during the development of the UN Sendai Framework. He has served on many international scientific steering committees - for instance on risk modelling and early warning systems. He chairs the UK Disasters Research Group – a collective of funders addressing UK investment in disaster research which works through the UK Collaborative for Development Research (UKCDR).
John has a Ph.D in Geology from Trinity College, Dublin, and a BSc in Geology from the University of Sheffield. He has previously been Leader of the Natural Hazard and Risk and Resilience themes at NERC, and was the RCUK Risk Research Champion. He held a START lectureship in West African universities, and currently is a visiting Professor at the University of Leicester. He is author of over 100 publications.