Professorial Lecture Series – Autumn 2013

12th Dec 2013, 5:00pm - 7:30pm

Edge Hill University

Vulcans Shadow

Living in Vulcan’s Shadow: Risk management, technical expertise, and the policy challenges for emergency planning around extreme events – Professor Denis Fischbacher-Smith Research Chair in Risk and Resilience, University of Glasgow and Visiting Professor at Edge Hill Business School

Policy makers are increasingly faced with the challenges of dealing with extreme events such as terrorist attacks, pandemic flu, severe weather, or major physical disasters. While these are generally low probability events, if they occur they have considerable potential to cause widespread destruction. Such extreme events do not lend themselves to simple policy solutions, yet there is a need to respond coherently to the threat of extreme events to protect society and business interests.

In his lecture Professor Fischbacher-Smith will set out some of the challenges we face in understanding how to plan for mass emergencies. Taking the L’Aquilla earthquake in Italy in 2009 as an example, he will explore issues around the nature of technical expertise in risk prediction and policy making, and the implications for members of the academic community who act as expert advisors.

Professor Fischbacher-Smith is a graduate of the Universities of Manchester (BEd, MSc, MPH, PhD), St Andrews (MLitt), and Glasgow (MLitt, DLitt) as well as the CNAA (MBA). His 30-year research career focuses on risk and crisis management and particularly on  the main areas of the UK’s policy around resilience including issues of prevention, protection and preparation. He has published widely in the area of crisis management and has acted as a consultant to a number of ‘blue chip’ companies as well as local authorities, the emergency services, and Government. He has worked at policy level with the Scottish Government around resilience and the UK’s Department of Health in terms of patient safety, along with several police forces, local government and a number of commercial organisations. Outside of his academic work he has also been a lifelong supporter of St Helens Rugby League club.

View a trailer for the lecture


  • 5.00pm – Arrival Drinks
  • 6.00pm – Lecture
  • 7.00pm – Refreshments and Networking