Dr Nibedita S. Ray-Bennett

Associate Professor in Risk ManagementNibedita Ray-Bennett

Contact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5754
  • Email: nsrb1@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Room 0.26, Teaching Centre, Brookfield
  • Office hours: Monday 10.00 am - 2.00 pm (by appointment only)
  • Twitter: @AvoidableN
  • LinkedIn: Nibedita Shankar Ray-Bennett

Personal details


I am a sociologist specialising in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and international development. I am the founding President for the Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN). ADN is a global network dedicated to finding theoretical and practical solutions to reducing disaster deaths.

I received a BA in English Literature from the University of Delhi (1998), an MA in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2001), and a PhD in Sociology from Warwick University (2007). I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Full biography


  • MN7637 MSc Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (Dissertation Supervision)
  • MN7638 Disaster Risk Reduction and International Development
  • MN7640 Managing Risk, Crisis and Disasters
  • MN7642 Research Methods and Project

Administrative responsibilities

  • Programme Director for the MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (2018-2021)
  • Module Leader for MN7637 (2016-current, MN7638, MN7640 and MN7642 (2021-)
  • Member for the School of Business’s Flexible Learning Operation Team


My research currently focusses on: i) understanding the nuances of ‘vulnerabilities’ and ‘risks’ that exist in societies, and in the seams of disaster management organisations; ii) developing the capacity of actors and organisations for effective disaster risk governance; iii) reducing disaster mortality and morbidity; and iv)  promoting disaster resilience in reproductive health systems. I also conduct a critical analysis of disaster and development policies by taking sociological and anthropological approaches. Previously my research has focused on caste, class, and gender in multiple disasters, women’s empowerment, health security and securitization, micro-finance and rural livelihoods.

I have extensive applied knowledge and experience of conducting large scale household and community surveys, interviews (in-depth, focus group discussions, key informant interviews), participant observation, documentary analysis, content analysis, participatory rural appraisal tools, reflective practice and systems thinking tools, and theory of change tools. I also have knowledge and experience in leading and conducting implementation research.

My research locations are India, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Japan.  My research and enterprise have attracted funding from International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ford Foundation, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, NERC, ESRC, ESRC-Impact Acceleration Account, Global Challenge Research Fund - among others.

As a Principal Investigator for more than 11 projects, I have led major collaborations with the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s - South Asia Region Office, the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Data Management Aid, ICDDR,B, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Kansai University, Leicester’s National Centre for Earth Observation, Makerere University, UNDP-Kenya – among others.

I am the author of two monographs: Caste, Class and Gender in Multiple Disasters (VDM, Verlag, 2010), and Avoidable Deaths (Springer Nature, 2018 https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319669502). I have contributed research papers to the UNDRR’s Global Assessment Reports 2015 and 2019, Asia Regional Plan 2016, and have promoted resilience in the delivery of reproductive health care during a major flood in Belkuchi/Bangladesh. My research has featured in a number of press and mass media outlets (e.g. ATN Bangla, Somoy News, Dhaka Tribune, Daily Sun, Eastern Times, Leicester’s Press – among others).

I was a visiting Research Fellow at Kasai University in Japan in 2016. Twice I have been selected by the ESRC-NERC to attend the Newton Fund Networking Workshops in Chengdu (2014) and Jakarta (2017). I have served at the UKaid-NERC-UKRI’s Review Panel for Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) project proposals, and I regularly review research proposals from UKRI-GCRF, NERC, Commonwealth Commission and others.

Current projects


I am interested in hearing from potential PhD students intending to pursue research in the following areas:

  • soft systems and reflective thinking in disaster risk management
  • reducing human deaths in disasters (Sendai Goal One)
  • any stage of the disaster risk management cycle
  • governance of early warning systems for droughts/floods/cyclones/landslides/multi-hazards
  • health security and reproductive health to promote resilience in health systems (Sendai’s Target D)
  • governance and accountability in disaster risk reduction
  • human rights agenda and theory of justice in disaster risk management
  • gender mainstreaming in disaster management organisations
  • critical analysis of disaster management policies and programmes
  • caste, class and gender in disasters

Region: particularly from South Asia, South East Asia, Pacific Islands, or other developing and middle-income countries.

Current PhD student

Mr David Cole (2020-) Topic: Rethinking the governance of the International Monetary and World Bank Funds for poverty alleviation in Sierra Leone. Professor Peter Jackson (Co-supervisor)

Mrs Denise Corsel (2016-current) Topic: Flood risks and livelihood resilience in Takeo Province of Cambodia. Professor Peter Jackson (Co-supervisor)


Ray-Bennett, N.S. Mendez, D. Alam, E. and Morgner, C.  2020. Inter-Agency Collaboration in Natural Hazard Management in Developed Countries. In Gerber, B. (ed.) Oxford Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science, New York: Oxford University Press. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.176

Full list of publications


Social Media

Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN):



Twitter: @AvoidabledeathsN

Reproductive Health in Disasters Project:




Future Leaders RCDDM Programme Project:


Radio Interview/s

2020: Live interview with Ben Jackson's Mid-Morning Show, BBC Radio Leicester. I answered COVID-19 related questions from school children (11-17 years of age) in Leicestershire, 2 July 2020.

Press and TV Appearances

2019: ‘Report launch in Dhaka’, Somoy News, 24 April Dhaka.

2019: TV appearance on Samoy News, 26 April, Dhaka

2019: TV appearance on ATN Bangla, Chayar Chumukay, 3 May Dhaka

2018: Orientation Programme held for health workers in Belkuchi Upazila’, Dhaka Tribune, 28 June. 

2018: ‘DMA, University of Leicester release findings of two research projectsDhaka Tribune, 1 March

2018: Risk, Crisis, Disaster and Development Management: Future Leader Programme’ University of Leicester’s Press Office, 17 January.

Full list of press appearances

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