Department of Development Studies & Centre for Development, Environment and Policy

Professor Thomas Tanner

Key information

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy CeDEP Centre Director and Programme Convenor, Climate Change and Development Centre for Sustainable Finance Member
BA (Cambridge), MSc (LSE), PhD (University of Leicester)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0) 20 7074 5166
Support hours
By email appointment


Tom is Director of the SOAS Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP) within the Department of Development Studies, coordinating research and online distance learning postgraduate programmes on climate change and sustainable development.

He is a development geographer with a background in environmental change, development studies, environmental economics and political science. He specialises in building resilience and adaptation to climate change through research, policy and practice. 

Tom’s research interests include climate change policy and planning, anticipatory decision-making, urban resilience, policy processes and political economy, and child-led approaches to resilience. He has extensive research experience in South Asia leading research partnership funded by ESRC, DFID, World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

Tom is an Associate Editor of the academic journal Climate and Development and serves on the expert advisory body for the UN’s Race to Resilience initiative. He has authored numerous research articles (Google Scholar) as well as the leading textbook on Climate Change and Development (Routledge) and an edited book on incentivising Disaster Risk Management (Springer). His most recent book ”Resilience Reset” (Routledge) provides a critical analysis and future roadmap for tackling climate change and other shocks in urban areas.

PhD Supervision

I welcome expressions of interest for PhD supervision in topics related to resilience and climate adaptation, particularly in relation to decision-making, policy-making and planning; children and youth; and international development cooperation.

Research interests

Current and recent externally funded projects:

Gender, Adolescence and Climate Change: From Impacts to Agency

Research with international NGO Plan International to investigate impacts of climate change on the lives of adolescent girls and young women in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Using Feminist Participatory Action Research methods to critically examine impacts on and empowerment of adolescent women in a changing climate.

Triple Dividend of Disaster Risk Management

The Triple Dividend of Resilience is applied research working with internationally renowned experts in the economics of disaster risk management, focused on a framework for and evidence of wider breadth of co-benefits from investments to build disaster resilience. A framework for conducting more complete appraisals of investments is now being employed across a variety of international agencies and programming.

Funded by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

Understanding adaptation planning and finance in South Asia

Research to support knowledge sharing on perceptions of climate change, access to climate finance and policy entrepreneurship, examining the ACT (Action on Climate Today) programme, a 5-year initiative with governments in South Asia to develop and finance adaptation strategies to build resilience to the impact of climate change, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID)..

Forecast-based Early Action

A range of large-scale social protection and risk financing initiatives, as well as promising innovations in forecast-based early action (FbA), have emerged in recent years. The Taking Forecast-Based Early Action to Scale project is funded under the UK Met Offices WISER programme. 

The project assesses the evidence, political economy and opportunities for institutionalising FbA through modifications to existing forecasting, decision-making, financing and delivery mechanisms.




PhD Supervision

Name Title
Michael Boyland Experiencing the 'everyday’ of climate activism: Narratives of the youth climate justice movement in the Philippines


Contact Thomas