Disaster management and resilience research has been conducted at Salford for over 20 years and related research is funded by research councils, national and international government bodies, and industry. Disaster management and resilience research is based at the University’s Centre for Disaster Resilience (CDR) www.disaster-resilience.salford.ac.uk which promotes research and scholarly activity that examines the role of the built environment industry to anticipate and respond to disasters that damage or destroy communities and their built, natural and human environment. This centre is world leading, and the only centre in the UK that promotes the multidisciplinary nature of the field and that undertakes cooperative research with a large number of international partners. Our research has: contributed to the development of resources to enhance professional practice in the humanitarian sector across the world; shaped and influenced policy made by governments and other official bodies; and have been used to develop resources to enhance professional practice in the humanitarian sector.
Researchers are working with communities to increase their resilience to the threat posed by natural and human hazards. Its researchers undertake real world, rigorous research; advises government and other decision makers; provides education and training opportunities; delivers relevant research outputs and positive outcomes; and draws upon and shares expertise internationally.
CDR’s capacity development, education and awareness raising activities are underpinned by this world-class, inter-disciplinary research.
Researchers and practitioners worldwide are supported in achieving higher qualifications and CDR offers doctoral study on a full or part-time basis for professionals wishing to achieve academic recognition of their specialism and further the development of theory and practice in their field. A full range of styles of research can be undertaken, from fundamental theory building to highly applied. Examples of areas that you can undertake research include:
More on these PhD research topics can be found via the Research Centre’s homepage: www.disaster-resilience.salford.ac.uk
CDR is one of the key partners of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and our research has informed and shaped UNISDR’s campaign to encourage people to prepare for potential disasters.
Use of field specific partnerships with world-leading institutions to develop and extend our research quality, recognising that these should be based on mutual benefit is one of our key agendas. Accordingly, our researchers target partnerships with key international institutions to address underutilised opportunities, ensuring coordination with a wider internationalisation strategy; use European partnerships more effectively to increase presence and influence in EU programmes; use strategic business partnerships to drive high quality high impact research; and work with key international research focused institutions where regional interests or issues of proximity drive the agenda. This collaborative research also raises the recognition and reputation of our centre as a key international player in the field. By working closely with these international partners, our researchers have obtained funding for international research from a wide variety of sources, including the European Union, UK and other national research councils, and enterprises.
One of our international research collaborations was shortlisted for the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2011 - International Collaboration of the Year 2011.
First class or upper second class undergraduate degree.
Masters degree is preferred but not essential. However, applicants without a Masters degree should provide evidence of previous research methods training.
We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.
The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.
Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
Overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any one element.
We offer four entry points – October, January, April and July. Applications can be submitted at any point within the year.
You should have a first degree that provides a foundation in the principles of disaster resilience, mitigation and reconstruction and this can be from various backgrounds.
The programme aims to develop the skills and knowledge of the built environment professions and other professions working in disaster mitigation and reconstruction, so that they may reflect on and strengthen their capacity in strategic and practical aspects of disaster preparedness, rehabilitation and reconstruction to mitigate the effects of disasters nationally and internationally.
We promote innovative inter-disciplinary working and co-operation among scientific communities tackling the challenges associated with natural and human induced hazards. The complex nature of disasters, their origins, causes and consequences, has led to widespread recognition that risk reduction through increased resilience. This will hence require a multi-sectoral approach that explores what resilience is, what it means to society, and how societies might achieve greater resilience in the face of increasing threats from natural and human induced hazards. Accordingly, we will accept students with multi disciplinary backgrounds including built environment, sociology, engineering, financial management, and business continuity. Evidence of ability to study and critically appraise literature independently is essential and candidates with Masters qualification are preferred. Experience of research involving human participants is also preferable but is not essential.
Our postgraduate research degree programmes are for researchers and academics, policy makers and other professionals working with disaster prevention, mitigation, response and reconstruction responsibilities who wish to improve their working knowledge of both theory and practice in making cities resilient to disasters. These professionals may be working with or for local and national government agencies, relief agencies, private sector companies, public sector agencies, UN organisations, national and international aid agencies, civil and military services, academia and insurance appraisers and investigators.
As a student embarking on a postgraduate research degree you will be assigned a supervisory team, to help guide and mentor you throughout your time at the University. However, you are ultimately expected to take responsibility for managing your learning and will be expected to initiate discussions, ask for the help that you need and be proactive in your approach to study.
International Students and student who are not EU, EEA or UK nationals are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.
You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at email@example.com. If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on Salford-ATAS@salford.ac.uk.
You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link: https://www.atas.fco.gov.uk/
All postgraduate research students are expected to attend the research methods seminars covering subjects including conducting a literature review, methods of data collection, research governance and ethics, and analysis, presentation, interpretation and rigour in qualitative research.
In addition, the University offers all postgraduate research students an extensive range of free training activities to help develop their research and transferable skills. The Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme (SPoRT) has been designed to equip researchers both for their university studies, and for their future careers whether in academia, elsewhere in the public sector, or in industry and the private sector.
As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These 'progression points' are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team and it is essential that you complete them on time.
Learning Agreement: this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first 3 months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.
Annual Progress Report: this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.
Self Evaluation Report: this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.
Interim Assessment: this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year, and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report, presentation and oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.
Internal Evaluation: this will take place towards the end of the second year and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work, generally at least 4 chapters of your thesis.
The University of Salford’s built environment research incorporating disaster resilience and management was ranked 6*, the highest grade in the UK’s competitive Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2001 and 1996, the only built environment research institute in the UK to achieve this. In the 2008 RAE Salford's research in the fields of architecture and the built environment was rated as the best in the UK and finished top in Research Fortnight's 'Research Power' table for built environment. Its built environment research institute has over 110 research-active academic staff, and considerable experience of large research projects – between 1996 and 2009, it completed over £60M of funded research including major EU research projects and networks. USAL has one of three UK government funded research centres in the built environment and attracted contributions from more than 400 industrial partners worldwide. Salford hold several key positions of the CIB (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building & Construction), a worldwide network of over 5000 experts from about 500 member organisations active in the research community, in industry or in education, who cooperate and exchange information in over 50 CIB Commissions. USAL is one of the partners of the CEBE (Centre for Education in the Built Environment) in the UK, which is one of 24 Subject Centres which comprise the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN), funded by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The Centre for Disaster Resilience currently has more than 40 postgraduate research students and it is an international community. As well as the UK we have students from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Denmark, South Africa, China, Malaysia and France. We also have visiting students with us throughout the year (often for short study placements of 2-6 months). Our number of international partnerships exceeds 100.
The Centre for Disaster Resilience (CDR) research is leading to a reduction in the vulnerability of communities world-wide to the threat posed by hazards of natural and human origin. CDR’s research has resulted in better-informed and more socially inclusive public policy-making towards development of a disaster resilient built environment. The research has shaped a global United Nations campaign, contributed exponentially to the development of resources to enhance professional practice in the sector, including post-disaster reconstruction programmes, and led the development of new partnerships in Europe & Asia.
The Founding Editors-in-Chief of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment (IJDRBE) are key members of CDR. The journal promotes research and scholarly activity that examines the role of building and construction to anticipate and respond to unexpected events that damage or destroy the built environment. This is the only journal to promote research and scholarly activity that examines the role of building and construction to anticipate and respond to unexpected events that damage or destroy the built environment. The journal is published by Emerald Publishing and indexed in SOPUS, the British Library, Construction and Building Abstracts, ICONDA - The International Construction Database, Business Source Premier (EBSCO), ABI INFORM Global (ProQuest), Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (ProQuest) and INSPEC.
Our research has been nominated for the UN Sasakawa Award 2013, under the 2013 theme "Acting As One". The UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction recognises excellence in reducing disaster risk for a safer, more sustainable world.
This programme addresses capacity gaps and shortcomings in current disaster management practices that were exposed by recent disasters. The programme addresses the two phase cycle of disaster management, with post-disaster reconstruction informing pre-disaster risk reduction, and vice versa.
The programme provides an opportunity for students to study contemporary issues surrounding disaster management theory and practice, combined with the wider study of built environment applications across the disaster management lifecycle, thus providing a unique and intellectually challenging course of study. Students will be equipped with the skills needed to practice disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and long-term reconstruction of disaster affected built environments.
There is consistently an emphasis on the critical need to shift the focus of disaster management from advocacy to practical actions, and to support efforts that build capacities for implementing disaster management principles. As a result, qualified disaster professionals are in high demand. Our doctoral researchers are much sought after by a range of organisations including governments, NGOs and private sector organisations.
The programme’s goal is to enhance graduate employability by giving students the knowledge and skills necessary to critically evaluate and apply key elements of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, including the ability to conduct assessments of hazards, risks, vulnerability and capacity. Also, through providing students with an understanding of approaches that may be used internationally to reduce and manage risk, the programme aims to prepare students for employment in a wide range of careers focused on disaster intervention. Accordingly, we will help you to upskill your knowledge and practical skills to ensure an interesting and rewarding career in the specialist area of disasters and its management. Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
Globally, a postgraduate research qualification is usually a prerequisite for an academic career and several of our alumni are now senior academics. We encourage the maintenance of links between graduating research students and their host research group and supervisor. This means the University can become part of the developing professional network that students take forward into their future careers.
PhD: Project risk management for community-based post-disaster housing reconstruction, 2013Current position: Lecturer at Civil Engineering Department, Andalas University, Indonesia
After completing my PhD at the Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of Salford in 2013, I returned to Andalas University, Indonesia. This area is highly prone to disaster. As a result, implementation of disaster management, from the mitigation stage to the recovery stage, is immensely important. With knowledge and research skills I gained through my PhD journey, I am very confident that I can significantly contribute to improve the disaster management practices in Indonesia.
The Centre for Disaster Resilience is really a fantastic place to study. During my study, I felt that the research environment and all the facilities provided were really great. The staff members were the experts in their field. They supervise their students to move in the right direction and always encourage producing research publications. What more can I say? This centre is really the right place to study disaster management.
PhD: Resilience of Construction SMEs to Extreme Weather Events, 2013Current Position: Lecturer, Aston University, UK
I conducted PhD research on the resilience of construction SMEs to extreme weather events at the Centre for Disaster Resilience. During my time at the University of Salford I got the opportunity to work on a number of externally funded research projects including EPSRC funded “Community Resilience to Extreme Weather -CREW”, RICS Education Trust funded “Developing Flood Expert Knowledge in Chartered Surveyors – DEFENCES” and British Council funded “CEREBELLA”.
Skills and qualifications gained at the Centre for Disaster Resilience helped me to obtain a teaching position at Coventry University before the completion of my PhD research. Following the completion of my PhD research in 2013, I moved to Aston University as a lecturer in construction management where I am currently employed.
PhD: Social Enterprise Applications in an Urban Facilities Management SettingCurrent position: UTM RAZAK School of Engineering & Advanced Technology, UTM International Campus, Malaysia
Focus of the research is to have an approach to develop a new service delivery model that meets the needs of social enterprise principles in an urban FM setting for managing community facilities operations. The applicability of the proposed model in this research shall be adapted to a Malaysia perspective.
PhD: Influence of integrating disaster risk reduction within post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction on socio-economic developmentCurrent position: Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University, UK.
After completing my BSc in Quantity Surveying at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka I decided to pursue a PhD in the field of construction management Centre for Disaster Resilience in the University of Salford, UK in 2006. My specific interest was to pursue my studies in the area of ‘Infrastructure development and environmental concerns in disaster management’. My doctoral project was concerned with investigating the influence of integrating disaster risk reduction strategies within infrastructure reconstruction projects in achieving the socio-economic development needs of disaster affected communities.
My research involved working closely with the Sri Lankan post-tsunami (2004) reconstruction sector and the experts in the disaster resilience field in the UK. It allowed me to broaden my experience and knowledge of the deficiencies in the post-disaster reconstruction practices and develop skills in formulating strategies to streamline the ineffective processes regarding the integration of disaster risk reduction into reconstitution. After completing my PhD in 2010, I started at Heriot-Watt University as a Lecturer in Quantity Surveying.
Apart from lecturing I am continuing with my research in the field of disaster resilience in the built environment. The experiences which I gained during my stay in the Centre for Disaster Resilience in the University of Salford have strongly influenced the activities I develop in my new role as an active researcher in the field.
Links with key industry stakeholders are a key in facilitating the use of our research findings to inform and influence policy, strategy and operations. There needs to be key industry stakeholder buy in where research findings are translated into programmable actions, appreciating the value of the findings and to embark on discussions on how to incorporate these perspectives in their work. In this context, our researchers have developed strong links with key industry stakeholders with the support from major UK, European and global agencies, which fund its research and development activities, as well as major sponsors from industry, local government and the not-for-profit sector including the European Union, the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Council, the British Council, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Our researchers are leading the ANDROID (Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to Optimise Educational Development) http://www.salford.ac.uk/built-environment/research/research-centres/disaster-resilience/key-research-projects/android network of 64 universities across Europe, plus higher education institutions from Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka. The network promotes cooperation and innovations among European higher education institutions to increase society’s resilience to disasters. Its research and engagement has a significant influence on policymaking and practice and includes joint work to describe, analyse and compare the capacity of European cities and higher education institutions to address disaster risk. The network provides data, advice and guidance for policymakers and practitioners on the role of building and construction to anticipate and respond to unexpected major events which damage the environment.
A consortium of researchers drawn from 14 universities developed a set of tools for improving the capacity for resilience of local communities to the impacts of future extreme weather events. Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW).
The Centre for Disaster Resilience (CDR) has been working with a large number of stakeholders to achieve resilient, sustainable urban communities by working with local governments to reduce the risks associated with disasters. The Centre for Disaster Resilience’s involvement in the UN campaign brings direct influence to global efforts to help cities and governments get ready and become resilient to disasters.
Further, training is considered as a natural collaboration possibility for academia and industry and has been instrumental in developing and delivering key Continuous Professional Development (CPD) modules in Disaster mitigation and reconstruction, participatory reconstruction, post disaster reconstruction project management etc.
The 6* excellence attributed to CDR for over more than ten years by the UK’s competitive research assessment exercise represents its excellence in training, developing, nurturing and encouraging newer researchers into research careers. Students will benefit from such training activities. Specific areas to note include:
becoming integrated members of the dynamic 6* rated research institute with extensive international research collaboration. CDR provides a multi disciplinary research environment to students and support is given to them to determine how their specific research projects fits with the larger picture of built environment research.
support available for presentation and publication of research results, and students will benefit from the strong publication record that exists. Students will also benefit from being part of a larger group of PhD researchers, all with high standard office and laboratory facilities, and quality support in their research.
There is a network of visiting professors, and all the researchers have access to such visiting academics across the globe.
Students will be allocated a personal supervisor to ensure they receive well-structured supervision and training.
Several international networks are coordinated within CDR. For example, ANDROID (Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to Optimise Educational Development) aims to promote co-operation and innovation among European Higher education institutions (HE) to increase society’s resilience to disasters of human and natural origin. The network’s teaching and research is concerned with what resilience is, what it means to society, and how societies might achieve greater resilience in the face of increasing threats from natural and human induced hazards.
It is widely acknowledged that the disaster management sector benefits directly from an improved coordination in the research that these networks try to achieve. It needs to focus on a culture of continuous improvement based upon information sharing, and consistently and continuously improving performance making it highly valued by stakeholders. As such, these networks document and disseminate the recent developments to the industry and academia. This helps create a critical mass of individuals with comprehensive knowledge of this area that will influence its adoption and use by the industry. Students will have access to these networks and also be able to actively take part in related activities, particularly to exchange ideas and to disseminate research findings.
CDR organises inter-disciplinary conferences and seminars that promote innovation and knowledge exchange on disaster resilience between Higher Education and relevant stakeholders.
Start Dates: October, January, April and July
MSc by Research
One year full-time
Two years part-time
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
One year full-time
Two years part-time
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Three years full-time
Three years online/distance learning full-time
Five years split-site
Five years part-time
Professional Doctorate in the Built Environment (DBEnv)
Five years part-time