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Dr. Isabelle Desportes

(c) Desportes

Institute of Geographical Sciences

Disaster Research Unit (DRU)

Research Associate

BMBF-Project: “Tsunami Risk : Multi-Risk Assessment and Cascade Effect Analysis in Cooperation between Indonesia and Germany – Collaborative Research on Vulcano- and Landslide-Induced Tsunamis”

Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6-10
Room 026
12165 Berlin

Academic and Non-Academic Positions

  • Since April 2021: Research Associate in the BMBF-funded research project ‘Tsunami Risk’ with a focus on disaster risk knowledge cultures and practices in Indonesia, at the Disaster Research Unit
  • 2016-2020: Doctoral Researcher then Research Associate in the ‘When Disaster meets Conflict’ research project funded by the Dutch Research Council, at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
  • 2015-2016: Project Manager (COP21), International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent, Geneva
  • 2015: Project Coordinator, Coalition Climat 21 and Alternatiba Strasbourg
  • 2014-2015: Consultant, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, Addis Ababa
  • 2014-2015: Researcher in Ethiopia for the NGO-alliance ‚Partners for Resilence’, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • 2012-2014: Student Assistant, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • 2013: Intern, Department of Environmental Resource Management, City of Cape Town
  • 2011: Intern, UNDP Regional Centre for Europe and Central Asia, Bratislava
  • 2010: Intern, Max Havelaar France, Paris



  • 2016-2020: PhD, ISS, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
  • 2012-2014: M. Sc. Research Master International Development Studies (cum laude), Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • 2013: Study and research stay in South Africa, University of Cape Town
  • 2008-2011: B.Sc. Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München



  • Civic Innovation Research Group at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • IHSA – International Humanitarian Studies Association
  • EADI – European Association of Development Institutes



  • Die Friedens-Warte - Journal of International Peace and Organization
  • Les Cahiers d´Outre-Mer
  • Development and Change
  • Disaster Prevention and Management
  • International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Journal of Disaster Risk Studies: Jamba
  • Journal of International Humanitarian Action
  • South African Geographical Journal
  • 2018/2019 ‘The Humanitarian Theatre in Ethiopia – Analysing Discourses of the Disaster-Conflict Nexus’. Guest lectures in the course ‘Violent Conflict and the Politics of Media Representation’, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
  • 2017/2018 Research Master supervision, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Research interests

  • Disaster research from a social science perspective: Disaster risk creation, disaster cultures and disaster risk reduction
  • Humanitarian aid and its de·politicization
  • Resilience and climate change adaptation
  • Conflict studies and civil society mobilization

Academic papers (peer-reviewed)


Part of book – chapter (peer-reviewed)


Blogs and op-ed


Working papers and research briefs