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Vicky Sword-Daniels

Vicky Sword-Daniels joined Itad as a consultant in winter 2016 and works in the Climate Change theme, specialising in qualitative research methods and analysis.

Vicky has a background in disaster risk reduction (DRR) particularly in urban contexts and has worked at the interface between research, policy and practice in international contexts since 2009. At Itad, Vicky is working on the DFID BRACED programme, providing technical support for monitoring and results reporting as well as programme-level evaluation.

Prior to joining Itad, Vicky was a research fellow at UCL, working in a knowledge exchange role for the Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards (IRNH) programme. She designed and implemented a formative evaluation system to track and trace project impact, enhance learning processes, and increase research impact. She has experience in design and facilitation of knowledge sharing workshops,  as well as brokering and building relationships with partners and stakeholders.

Vicky has a strong academic background with a doctorate in urban sustainability and resilience, in which she explored long-term disaster recovery processes for the healthcare system and the implications for development in Montserrat, West Indies. She also researched DRR and adaptation approaches for complex infrastructure systems in Ecuador and Guatemala. She has an MSc in natural hazards and over two years of commercial experience at an international engineering consultancy.

Nationality: British
Languages: English (mother tongue), Spanish (intermediate)
Country Experience:

Bangladesh, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Mexico, Montserrat (West Indies), New Zealand, St Vincent (West Indies)


2010 - 2013
EngD, Urban Sustainability and Resilience
University College London
2009 - 2010
MRes, Urban Sustainability and Resilience (Distinction)
University College London
2005 - 2006
MSc, Geophysical Hazards (Distinction)
University College London, with international secondment: Universidad de Colima, Mexico
2002 - 2005
BSc Geology Hons. (First Class)
University College London


2016 - Ongoing
Itad Ltd.

Lecturer (short-term contract)
Kingston University
Taught on modules: Disaster Risk Reduction (BSc), and Natural Hazards: Science and Society (MSc) in the School of Geography, Geology and Environment. Topics include an introduction to volcano, tsunami and earthquake formation and hazards, and the unique characteristics of Small Island Developing States, and the complexities and challenges of Disaster Risk Reduction in each of these contexts, drawing on case studies to exemplify real-world issues.
2013 - 2016
Fellow, Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards (IRNH)
Knowledge Exchange
Vicky held a joint NERC-ESRC funded Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, working across two large interdisciplinary consortia projects focussed on Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards (IRNH): Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA) and Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF). Vicky’s role was to increase the impact of the research projects by building interdisciplinary networks and collaborations, by embedding research into practice and policy. She designed and facilitated workshops to share experience and knowledge across the IRNH projects. She worked closely with the STREVA project in particular, to widen networks, prolong engagement with stakeholders and facilitate a co-design approach to research. Vicky monitored and evaluated the approaches, impacts and learning outcomes of the STREVA project using a longitudinal research strategy and a case study approach. She implemented a formative and developmental evaluation to promote project learning and account for impacts within complex disaster risk settings. She gathered and analysed qualitative data to inform interdisciplinary best practice and build an evidence-base of changes in resilience, to understand the varying types and timescales of research impact and to maximise outcomes.
2014 - 2015
Researcher (PDRA)
Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA)
Postdoctoral Research Associate for the STREVA project, funded by the British Geological Survey (BGS). My work focussed on infrastructure interdependence and volcanic ash impacts, and forensic analysis of volcanic disasters in Montserrat and St Vincent, West Indies.
2007 - 2009
Engineering geologist
Ove Arup & Partners
Employed within the geohazards team, specialising in seismic hazard assessment. I managed projects including hazard analysis, desk studies and reports, and used advanced ArcGIS skills throughout. I volunteered as a representative of RedR, and participated in post-disaster field studies with Habitat for Humanity International Bangladesh, and the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team.


Impact Assessment: what difference did we make?, BOND
Planning and practice in monitoring, evaluation and learning, BOND


  • Embodied uncertainty: risk, complexity and natural hazards (2016)
    Journal of Risk Research
    Sword-Daniels, V., Eriksen. C., Doyle. E. E., Alianiz, R., Adler, C., Schenk, T. & Vallance, S.

  • Unpacking long-term disaster recovery processes: a case study of the healthcare system in Montserrat, West Indies (2016)
    International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 34 (1)
    Sword-Daniels, V., Twigg, J., Rossetto, T., & Johnston, D. M

  • Time for change? Applying an inductive timeline tool for a retrospective study of disaster recovery in Montserrat, West Indies (2015)
    International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 12
    Sword-Daniels, V., Twigg, J. & Loughlin, S. C.

  • Interdependence and dynamics of essential services in an extensive risk context: a case study in Montserrat, West Indies (2015)
    Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Sciences, 15
    Sword-Daniels, V., Rossetto, T., Wilson, T. M. & Sargeant, S.

  • Consequences of long-term volcanic activity for essential services in Montserrat: challenges, adaptations and resilience (2014)
    Wadge, G., Robertson, R. E. A., Voight, B. (eds.) The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat from 2000 to 2010. Geological Society, London, Memoirs, 39
    Sword-Daniels, V., Wilson, T. M., Sargeant, S., Rossetto, T., Twigg, J., Johnston, D. M., Loughlin, S. C., Cole, P. D.