John Handmer profile picture

John Handmer

Emeritus Research Scholar

Equity and Justice Research Group

Population and Just Societies Program


John Handmer is Senor Science Adviser in the Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program at IIASA, an Emeritus Professor with the RMIT School of Science, an Honorary Professorial Fellow with Geography, University of Melbourne, and a Fellow of the Australian Social Science Academy. He works closely with the Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC (Cooperative Research Centre). He has also held positions at the Australian National University and the Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University (London). He chairs the Scientific Committee of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Program of ISC (International Council of Science and the UNDRR), and is, or has recently been, on a number of Australian advisory bodies. These include climate change adaptation, disaster risk and resilience, and most recently the National Vulnerability Profile project. He has qualifications and experience in human geography, economics and law. His research group at RMIT has won a number of Australian industry and national awards over the last few years, for its work on wildfire risk. He co-led the human dimensions research following the Australian fires of 2009.

Recent papers include work on transformation both as a concept and within disaster risk reduction, and on the need to integrate effort across climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and the sustainable development goals. In addition to these areas, current research interests include disaster economics, reimagining warnings and risk communication, and disasters as an existential threat.

Last update: 17 JAN 2020


McNaught, R., Nalau, J., Hales, R., Pittaway, E., Handmer, J., & Renouf, J. (2024). Innovation and deadlock in governing disasters and climate change collaboratively - Lessons from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 105 e104366. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2024.104366.

Birkmann, J., Schüttrumpf, H., Handmer, J., Thieken, A., Kuhlicke, C., Truedinger, A., Sauter, H., Klopries, E.-M., Greiving, S., Jamshed, A., Merz, B., Solecki, W., & Kirschbauer, L. (2023). Strengthening resilience in reconstruction after extreme events – Insights from flood affected communities in Germany. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 96 e103965. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103965.

Watson, M., Brown, C., Handmer, J., Kroll, C., Wein, A., Helgeson, J., Rose, A., Dormady, N., & Kim, J. (2023). Methods and lessons for business resilience and recovery surveys. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 93 e103743. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103743.