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Witnesses: Resilience

Between October 2015 and June 2016, our topic was 'Risk, resilience and response'. As in previous years, a panel of three expert 'witnesses' from across and beyond Cambridge joined us each month. They were a rich mixture of policy- and decision-makers from governments and businesses , and technical experts and each of them will provide their perspective on the gaps in our knowledge and burning questions for future research.

Each term, we explored a different theme. First, we focused on food and water supply resilience. We jointly hosted these three meetings with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and we are co-producing a brief white paper for EC policy makers identifying future research gaps and opportunities in this area.

Between January and March 2016, we built on the discussions we had during our first topic and focus on resilient cities and ways in which big data and technology will shape the way we view and live in cities of the future. 

In April, May and June we explored energy resilience. Our expert witnesses helped us to explore research questions related to ‘How can Bioenergy (based on photosynthesis) be used as a deployable and sustainable energy source for off–grid situations’. 

Profiles of the witnesses


Dr PB Anand
  • Reader in Environmental Economics and Public Policy,
  • Bradford Centre for International Development,
  • University of Bradford
Professor Michael Batty
  • Professor of Planning, and Chairman, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis,
  • Faculty of the Built Environment, University College, London (UCL)
Edgar Blanco
  • Research and Development Manage
  • AnDigestion Ltd
Rowan Douglas
  • CEO, Capital, Science & Policy Practice and Chairman, Willis Research Network,
  • Willis Group
Sergio Freire
  • Scientific / Technical Project Manager
  • DG Joint Research Centre (JRC)
  • Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC)
  • Global Security and Crisis Management Unit
Professor Sir Brian Heap
  • Scientific Advisor at the Smart Villages Initiative
  • Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies, Cambridge.
Professor Chris Howe
  • Professor of Plant and Microbial Biochemistry,
  • Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
Professor James Jackson
  • Professor of Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics,
  • Head of the Department Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Dr Francois Kayitakire
  • Senior Scientist within the Food Security (FOODSEC) Group,
  • Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES),
  • Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission, based in Ispra, Italy
Dr Mukesh Kumar
  • Research Associate in the International Manufacturing group,
  • Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge
Rob Mills
  • Head of European Energy Markets, Ofgem
Dr John Mullett
  • Founder and Director
  • SOWTech (Sustainable OneWorld Technologies) CIC
Thierry Negre
  • Head of the Food Security Group within the Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit (MARS),
  • Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES),
  • Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission, based in Ispra, Italy
Paul Newell
  • A Statistician in the Energy Science team,
  • Met Office
Professor Alan O'Neill
  • Emeritus Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading and currently a visiting professor in the Cavendish Laboratory and a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge
Dr Heinz Ossenbrink
  • Head of Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit
  • Institute for Energy and Transport, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy
Dr Rana Pant
  • Scientific/Technical Project Officer
  • Sustainability Assessment
  • Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy
Stephen Peedell
  • Senior Scientific Officer in the Land Resource Management Unit,
  • Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (based in Ispra, Italy)
Professor Jaideep Prabhu
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business & Enterprise
  • Director of the Centre for India & Global Business (CIGB),
  • Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Dr Drew Purves
  • Research Scientist,
  • Google DeepMind, based in London
Professor Danny Ralph
  • Professor of Operations Research
  • Academic Director of the Centre for Risk Studies (CRS)
  • Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Dr Muhammad Tayyab Safdar
  • Affiliated Lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies
  • Member of the Tutor Panel at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), University of Cambridge.
Dr Elisabete A Silva
  • University Senior Lecturer,
  • Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
Dr Matthew Smith
  • Scientist in the Computational Science Lab,
  • Microsoft Research