Principal Investigator (PI):

Mike Douglass is Professor and Leader of the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Asia Research Institute and Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He received his PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA. To 2012 he was the Director of the Globalization Research Center at the University of Hawai’i (UH) and was Co-Editor of the journal, International Development Planning Review. He previously taught at the Institute of Social Studies (Netherlands) and at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia (U.K.). He has also been a Visiting Scholar/Professor at Stanford University, UCLA, Tokyo University, Thammasat University and the National University of Singapore.

With a professional focus on urban and regional planning in Asia, he has lived and worked for many years in Asian countries, including in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. He has joined numerous research and planning projects and has been a consultant for international organizations as well as national and local governments in Asia. He has also advised university programs on planning education in Asia and the U.S.

His current research in Asia, includes (1) livable cities (the environment, personal well-being, and social-cultural life); (2) disaster governance and the environment; (3) globalization and urbanization; (4) international migration; (5) trans-border intercity networks; (6) filmmaking for social research and planning.


Gregory Clancey is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, the Leader of the STS (Science, Technology, and Society) Research Cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) and Master of Tembusu College at NUS. He formerly served NUS as Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and as Chairman of the General Education Steering Committee, on which he is still a member.

Assoc Prof Clancey received his PhD in the Historical and Social Study of Science and Technology from MIT, and has been a Fulbright Graduate Scholar at the University of Tokyo, and a Lars Hierta Scholar at the Royal Institute of Technology (KtH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He has won three NUS teaching awards. Assoc Prof Clancey’s research centers on the cultural history of science & technology, particularly in modern Japan and East Asia. His book Earthquake Nation: The Cultural Politics of Japanese Seismicity (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 2006) won the Sidney Edelstein Prize from the Society for the History of Technology in 2007, and was selected as one of the “11 Best Books about Science” for the UC Berkeley Summer Reading List, sent to all incoming Freshmen in 2009. He is co-editor of Major Problems in the History of American Technology (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1998) and Historical Perspectives on East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine (Singapore: Singapore U. Press & World Scientific 2002).

Assoc Prof Clancey is the 2012 recipient of the Morison Prize from MIT for “combining humanistic values with effectiveness in the world of practical affairs, and in particular, in science and technology”.


Sulfikar Amir is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University, where he teaches subjects on science, technology, and society, and sociology risk and disaster. His research interests include sociology of technology, development, globalisation, sociology of risk and resilience, and city studies. He has conducted research on nuclear politics and risk in Southeast Asia, examining the social and political dimensions of nuclear power in emerging democracies. His ongoing project on nuclear risk searches for the origins of vulnerability in socio-technical system, which is situated in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. He is also involved in a Singapore National Research Foundation-funded project that aims to develop the underwater city in Singapore in which he studies the socio-technical dimensions of the underwater infrastructure, taking into account risk and sustainability as the main features. The primary conceptual framework used in his research centres on the notion of socio-technical resilience, which he defines as the ability to bounce back from shock and disruption built by the integration between social and technical elements.

Caroline Brassard is adjunct assistant professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY SPP), at the National University of Singapore, where she has been affiliated since 2002. Her research focuses on development policy lessons from natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific, and humanitarian aid effectiveness. She has extensive fieldwork experience in Vietnam, Indonesia, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Caroline also consults with various international organizations and civil society organizations in Asia on the area of poverty alleviation, and development effectiveness. At the LKY SPP, Caroline teaches courses on aid governance, research methods, economic development policy, poverty alleviation strategies and empirical analysis for public policy. Her latest edited book “Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific” (edited with David Giles and Arn Howitt) was published by Springer in 2015. Other recent publications appeared in the Asian Journal of Social Science and the Global Risk Report 2014. She has been serving as a council member of the Singapore Red Cross since 2013. Caroline holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London.

Christopher Courtney is a postdoctoral fellow in the Asia Research Institute and a research fellow at Gonville and Caius College, the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester. His previous research focused upon the history of China, and in particular the city of Wuhan, where he has lived for a number of years. His forthcoming monograph examines the 1931 Central China Flood. He has published articles and chapters upon Chinese popular religion, Yangzi flood disasters, and Maoist disaster governance. His new research examines the impact of epidemic diseases upon global Chinese communities in the early twentieth century, with a particular focus upon Malaya and Sarawak.

Eli Elinoff was a joint Postdoctoral Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster of the Asia Research Institute and the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. He received his BA (Anthropology) from University of Colorado, Boulder, and MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego in June 2013. His research focuses on citizenship, emerging political practices, notions of sustainability, and contestations over urban development in Thailand. His dissertation, Architectures of Citizenship: Democracy, Development, and the Politics of Participation in Thailand’s Railway Communities, considers these themes through an ethnographic analysis of the implementation of new forms of participatory urban planning in squatter settlements in the growing northeastern Thai city of Khon Kaen. In 2012, he co-edited a special focus issue of South East Asia Research that explored Northeastern Thailand’s political transformations. He also has a forthcoming article in Political and Legal Anthropology Review that examines the politics of sustainable development and the “Sufficiency Economy.”

Eric Kerr is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Science, Technology & Society cluster at the Asia Research Institute and a Fellow of Tembusu College. His interests are primarily in the philosophy of technology and social epistemology, with a special focus on petroleum engineering. He is currently working on a project connecting issues of risk, safety, expertise, and collective responsibility based on his philosophical work and fieldwork with engineers and officials in disaster mitigation and risk management in Thailand. He has published articles in Philosophical Issues and Social Epistemology, among others. He received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2013.

Michelle Miller is a Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She has conducted disaster-related research in Indonesia for almost two decades, focusing particularly on conflict and tsunami recovery issues in Indonesia’s westernmost province of Aceh, but more recently on life in the shadow of Indonesia’s most active stratovolcano, Mount Merapi, on the island of Java. She has authored, edited or co-edited a number of books and guest edited journal special issues on key issues in disaster governance, decentralization and urban change in Asia.

Lisa Onaga is Assistant Professor of History at Nanyang Technological University. Her forthcoming monograph (working title: Anatomy of a Hybrid: Cultivation of Silk and Genetics in Modern Japan”) chronicles the Japanese pursuit of the ideal silk cocoon type in the archipelago and its role in generating biological knowledge in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Her recent research involves the history of post-war efforts to rebuild, if not rehabilitate, bioscience through efforts to preserve genetic resources at the national and global levels. By attending to postwar discussions in Japan about creating national infrastructure for “strain preservation,” she studies how activities built around the infrastructure previously created for silkworm genetics gave way to a national discourse concerning “bioresource management” that set the stage for the National Bioresource Project present today. She has also worked on the history of silkworm genetics in the atomic age, focusing on the question of how scientists who experienced wartime re-initiated their mutation experiments and served positions of leadership in high-profile roundtable discussions on the effects of radiation on lifeforms in 1950s and 1960s Japan. After the tsunami of March 11, 2011, Prof Onaga conceived and co-founded the academic blog Teach 3.11.

Rita Padawangi is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster of the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She was previously a researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. She has also been a Research Fellow at the Global Asia Institute, National University of Singapore; Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University Chicago; and Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia. She has taught at the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore and at the Department of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago, with a special focus on urban sociology and the sociology of the built environment. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar for her M.A. studies. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Parahyangan Catholic University and was a practicing architect in Bandung, Indonesia. With research interests spanning over the sociology of architecture and participatory urban development, Dr Padawangi has conducted various research projects in particularly Southeast Asian cities, including in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. She has been engaged as consultant for projects under major international development funding agencies. Her commitment to social activism in the built environment keeps her connected with community groups and practitioners in many cities in the region. She also serves as the Bahasa Indonesia editor for Teach 3.11.

Jonathan Rigg

Tyson Vaughan was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms and the Science, Technology & Society clusters at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Tembusu College at NUS. His research contributes to studies of disaster, public engagement with technoscience (knowledge, experts, technologies), and democratic governance of “envirotechnical” risk and sociotechnical order. Much of his work is ethnographically grounded in the context of post-disaster recovery in Japan. Under the DG.Asia project, he is conducting an ethnographic study of science and risk communication around radiation safety and public health in Fukushima, examining locally situated rationalities and practices in the face of profound uncertainty by lay residents, physicians, and scientific experts. He is a co-founder, along with NTU Asst. Prof. Lisa Onaga and former ARI Postdoctoral Fellow Honghong Tinn, of the academic blog Teach 3.11. He holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University and a BA from Stanford University.

Robert (Bob) Wasson is a Senior Research Fellow in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Trained as a geomorphologist, he has worked as a researcher, professor, department chair, dean, and deputy vice chancellor at the Australian National University (ANU), the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), and Charles Darwin University. At NUS he has focused on histories of floods and human vulnerability to floods in northern Thailand, the Indian Himalayas, and northern Australia using multi-disciplinary methods and with many collaborators.

Fiona Williamson is currently a Research Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster of the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She received her PhD in History from the University of East Anglia in 2009. Since then she has been working as a lecturer in the UK and in Asia, as well as working with the UK Meteorological Office on a series of projects relating to historic weather. Her current research focuses on the interconnections between flooding and urban development in Singapore and colonial Malaya. Her published and forthcoming work examines a range of issues connected to flooding, public health, climate, and the history of meteorology. She is especially interested in comprehending how cities developed in response to past floods and exploring how historic events provide critical context for our modern city. The history of science, floods and urban governance provide the framework for better understanding these processes. During her time as a collaborator at the Disaster Governance project team, she will continue her work on flooding and meteorological history in British Southeast Asia with the expectation of expanding this into a monograph on space, floods, and society in Singapore.

Jerome Whitington has a joint appointment as a Fellow of Tembusu College and a Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Research Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies cluster of the Asia Research Institute. His primary book project The New Earth: Climate Change as a Human Problem, studies emerging regimes to manage the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In particular, it investigates practices of quantification, conventions and technology, such as in carbon accounting, emissions management, carbon markets and other forms of interactive practices with the atmosphere. He formerly held positions at Dartmouth College and the New School University in the United States and lived for six years in Thailand and Laos.

Francine F.X. Yi is a PhD student of Department of Real Estate and is also the recipient of President Scholarship of National University of Singapore, currently working on the research topics of resilient cities and disaster governance. Before she came to Singapore, she worked as a project manager at China Academy of Urban Planning and Design to conduct urban planning research in China from 2009-2014. She has been a consultant for international urban planning projects in China over  years. She has worked as co-organizer of the National University of Singapore – China Academy of Urban Planning and Design Collaborative Workshop on Post-disaster Governance for Resilient City Regions, 18-19 September 2015, Chengdu, China. She has been invited to present at an international workshop on “Gaps in Disaster Governance Research” to be held from March 9-12 2016 at Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance associated with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. She has also been granted S$15,000 research funding as a collaborator for a Ministry of Education Tier 2 research project. She won Best Student Paper Award granted by China Specialty Group of American Association of Geographers in U.S.A in 2009 and Second Prize in Cross-Trait Economic Geography Conference Best Student Paper Competition in Beijing in 2010. She has published research paper on the top journal, such as Urban Geography.

Research Assistant:

Marcel Bandur assists Professor Mike Douglass, Assoc Prof  Gregory Clancey, and the entire Disaster Governance project team in managing the logistics and administrative details of the Singapore Ministry of Education Tier 2 research grant and the Disaster Governance.Asia project. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in International Relations from the University of Durham (UK) and a Master of Social Sciences Degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore. Prior to joining the Asia Research Institute, he worked as a Project Officer at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and other NGOs in Slovakia, Poland, and Armenia.