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 social scientist specialising in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and international development at the interface with public health. I am the founding President of the Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN) https://www.avoidable-deaths.net/

I received BA in English Literature from the University of Delhi (1998), MA in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2001) and PhD in Sociology from Warwick University (2007, funded by Ford Foundation’s International Fellowship Program). I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Full biography


  • MN7638 Disaster Risk Reduction and International Development
  • MN7640 Managing Risk, Crisis and Disasters
  • MN7642 Research Methods and Project (Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management)
  • MN3145 Crisis Management

Administrative responsibilities

  • Programme Director for the MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (2018 - current)
  • Module Leader for MN7633, MN7634 (2012 - current)
  • Module Leader for MN7638, MN7640, MN7642 (2021 - current)
  • Module Lecturer for MN3145 (2021 - current)
  • Member of the School of Business Distance Learning Operation Team (2018 - current)
  • ULSB SED Committee for Athena Swan (2021 - current)


My research is inter-disciplinary and currently focusses on: i) understanding the nuances of ‘vulnerabilities’ and ‘risks’ that exist in societies and the seams of disaster management organisations; ii) developing the capacity of disaster responders including the health workforce at primary health care for the continuity of sexual and reproductive health services during disasters and crises; iii) reducing disaster mortality and morbidity, especially of women and adolescent girls from post-abortion complications during disasters and crises through the use of RHCC intervention; and iv) reducing avoidable deaths from the direct and indirect effect of disasters through novel theories, methods and interventions (e.g. RHCC intervention, Facility Reproductive Health Kit and Crisis Reproductive Health Kit, avoidable deaths framework).

Previously my research has focused on caste, class, and gender in multiple disasters, health security and securitization of disasters, micro-finance, rural livelihoods, and a critical analysis of disaster and development policies by taking sociological and anthropological approaches.

I have 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 evidence-based research and implementation research. Funded by International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Designated Regional Funds, I recently developed a protocol for two low-budget lifesaving reproductive health (RH) kits, viz. Facility RH Kit and Crisis RH Kit https://www.ippfsar.org/resource/introducing-reproductive-health-kits-facility-crisis-set-bangladesh Currently, with funding from the IPPF’s Humanitarian Hub, I am piloting the Facility RH Kit in Afghanistan.

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

As a Principal Investigator for more than 12 projects, I have led major collaborations with the IPPF’s- South Asia Region Office (and currently with the Humanitarian Hub and Afghan Family Guid­­ance Association (AFGA)), 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). Currently, I am working on my third monograph, Avoidable Deaths from the Impact of COVID-19 and Economic Fall Out in India.

My research and enterprise activities have provided input in the ‘Asia Regional Plan 2016’ on ‘sexual and reproductive health in disaster risk reduction, UNDRR’s Global Assessment Report for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 and 2019, Leicester’s Times Higher Education Impact data 2017/2018 for the Sustainable Development Goal 3, the School of Business (SOB) UN’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Reports 2018 and 2020, and acted as an example of excellent impact within the SOB’s 2021 REF Research Environment Statement.

My research has featured in several press and mass media outlets including ATN Bangla, Somoy News, Dhaka Tribune, Daily Sun, Eastern Times, Leicester’s Press, BBC Radio 4, The Sun, IPPF, UNDRR’s PreventionWeb – 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 Sierra Leone's Food Security Policy to Alleviate Poverty. 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)


Alam, E. and Ray-Bennett, N.S. 2021. Disaster Risk Governance of Local Level Administration in Rangamati, Bangladesh. International Journal for Disaster Risk Reduction. In press.

Ray-Bennett, N.S., Corsel, D.M., Khan, S.T., Haseen, F., Bhuiyan, M. and Goswami, N. 2021. Policy Brief: Introducing Reproductive Kits for Facility and Crisis Set-Ups. IPPF-South Asia Region Office: New Delhi.

Ray-Bennett, N.S., Corsel, D., Goswami, N. and Bhuiyan, M. 2021. ‘RHCC Intervention: Strengthening the delivery and coverage of sexual and reproductive health care during floods in Bangladesh’. International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare. In press.

Ray-Bennett, N.S., Corsel, D.M., Khan, S.T., Haseen, F., Bhuiyan, M. and Goswami, N. 2021. Frequently Asked Questions on Emergency and Reproductive Health Kits. IPPF-South Asia Region Office: New Delhi.

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

2021: Interview with Heart Radio station on 'Tohuku Earthquake in Japan', Swindon, Wiltshire, 11 March

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.

TV Appearances

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 projects’ Dhaka Tribune, 1 March

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

Impact, Knowledge Exchange and Press

2021 Interview with the Manchester Alliance Business School’s initiative on ‘COVID-19 Briefing’ on the recovery plans from COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 Interview with Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter, The Sun. ‘XMAS WISH: Should I see my family at Christmas? Experts reveal what’s safe and what’s not’The Sun, 24 November.

2020 Interview with the Manchester Alliance Business School’s initiative on ‘COVID-19 Briefing’ on the leadership required during COVID-19 pandemic in India.

2020 Interview with feminist NGO in India called Prajna on COVID-19.  The interview has been published through The PSW Weblog by Prajnya: Reflections on Resilience: COVID-19: An Opportunity to learn effective Disaster Governance.

2019 Interview with Mahima A Jain, Business Standard. ‘Landless Dalits, hit hardest by disasters, are last to get relief: Study’ Business Standard, 17 August.

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

2018 DMA, University of Leicester release findings of two research projects’, Dhaka Tribune, 1 March.

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

2017: ‘Study of Natural Disasters offers Insights to Save Lives’ University of Leicester’s Press  Office, 10 November.

2017: ‘Leicester Academic Featured on UN’s Disaster Risk Reduction Website’ University of Leicester’s Press Office, 18 October 2017.

2017Reproductive Health in the Bangladesh Floods’ Expert Services: DRR Voices Blog. UNISDR’s PreventionWeb 10 October.

2017 ‘International project to tackle risk, crisis, disaster and development management’ University of Leicester’s Press Office, 3 July.

2016University of Leicester ‘Life-Changing’ Scholarships Announced: Six prestigious Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships awarded to students from around the world’. University of Leicester’s Press Office, 27 September.

2016Women’s sexual and reproductive health during humanitarian crisis tackled at international conference’, University of Leicester’s Press Office, 30 November.

2016University of Leicester to Award Prestigious Scholarships: Academic Testifies to ‘Life-Changing Opportunity’ of Scholarship’, University of Leicester’s Press Office, 23 March.

2015 ‘IPPF Project Inception Meeting Begins In City’, Daily Sun, Dhaka, 3 November.

2015 ‘New Project to Help Reduce Unsafe Abortion Death Rates in Disaster Zones’, University of Leicester’s Press Office, 10 November.

2015What is Needed Now to Recover From the Impact of Nepal’s Earthquake?” University of Leicester News Centre, 28 April.

2015Emerging Trends in Disaster Risk Reduction: Tackling Black Swans, Hyper-Risks and Extreme Events’ University of Leicester News Centre, 6 February.

2014Hyper-Risk in China: Increasing Social and Economic Resilience to Multiple Natural Disasters’, University of Leicester News Centre, 14 November.

2014 Inspirational Student Wins Adult Learners’ Week 2014 Award in the Face of Adversity, University of Leicester’s Press Office, 5 June.

2014 NORCAPer Wins Learning for Work Award, NORCAP Newsletter, 6 June.

2008 ‘Orissa: The Land of Multiple Disasters’. The Eastern Times, Bhubaneswar, 4 April.

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