Frank Thomalla is an Honorary Associate at the Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Research Group at the University of Sydney, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Sustainability Research Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast. At SEI, he leads the Research Cluster on Reducing Disaster Risk and co-leads the SEI Initiative on Transforming Development and Disaster Risk. Dr Thomalla is based in Sydney, Australia.

Frank specializes in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development. His work focuses on advancing theoretical and practical understanding of the complex interactions of the human-environment system and the implications of these processes for poverty reduction, livelihoods, and sustainable, equitable and resilient development. He has been a principal investigator in a number of large collaborative research and capacity-building projects.

He was a Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 1.3 ‘Increasing vulnerability to the impacts of natural hazards and extreme events’ of the UNEP Global Environment Outlook GEO-6 Regional Assessment for Asia and the Pacific, a Lead Author for the ‘Environmental States and Trends’ as well as ‘Policy Response’ chapters of the GEO-6 Global Assessment, a Lead Author for Chapter 7 ‘Vulnerability of Human-Environment Systems: Challenges and Opportunities’ of the UNEP GEO-4, and a Contributing Author to Chapter 5 ‘Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes at the Local Level’ of IPCC Working Group II (Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation of ‘Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation’. He was also a Lead Expert on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation’ of the UN ESCAP working group on ‘Increasing Economic and Technical Cooperation to Address Shared Vulnerabilities and Risks in the Asia Pacific Region‘.

Frank has produced more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, research reports and working papers, and has contributed to numerous national and international workshops and conferences.  He is a Member of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Asia Science, Technology, and Academia Advisory Group (ASTAAG), a Member of the Board of Editors of the journals Regional Environmental Change and International Journal of Disaster Risk Science and acts as reviewer for several other highly regarded international journals.  He has also contributed to undergraduate and graduate teaching programmes in the UK, Sweden, Australia and Thailand.

  • Veland, S., R. Howitt, D. Dominey-Howes, F. Thomalla and D. Houston. 2012. Procedural Vulnerability: Understanding Environmental Change in a Remote Indigenous Community. Global Environmental Change (in press). Available online:
  • Box, P., F. Thomalla, R. van den Honert and J. McAneney. 2012. How Can Residents Know their Flood Risk? A Review of Online Flood Information Availability in Australia. Australian Planner 49(4), 339-348. Available online: DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2012.678871.
  • Djalante, R. and F. Thomalla. 2012. Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Indonesia: Institutional Challenges and Opportunities for Integration. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 3 (2), 166-180. Available online: DOI: 10.1108/17595901211245260.
  • Djalante, R., F. Thomalla, M.S. Sinapoy and M. Carnegie. 2012. Building Resilience to Natural Hazards in Indonesia: Progress and Challenges in Implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action. Natural Hazards 62, 779-803. DOI 10.1007/s11069-012-0106-8.
  • Djalante, R., C. Holley and F. Thomalla. 2011. Adaptive Governance and Managing Resilience to Natural Hazards. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 2(4): 1-14. Available online: DOI: 10.1007/s13753-011-0015-6.
  • Ireland, P. and F. Thomalla. 2011. The Role of Collective Action in Enhancing Communities’ Adaptive Capacity to Environmental Risk: An Exploration of Two Case Studies from Asia. Public Library of Science (PLoS) Currents: Disasters. Available online:
  • Djalante, R. and F. Thomalla. 2011. Community Resilience to Natural Hazards and Climate Change: A Review of Definitions and Operational Frameworks. Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM) 3(3): 339–355. Available online: DOI: 10.3850/S1793924011000952.
  • Quinn, C. H., G. Ziervogel, A. Taylor, T. Takama and F. Thomalla. 2011. Coping with Multiple Stresses in Rural South Africa. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 2. Available online:
  • Wang, M., M. Amati and F. Thomalla. 2011. Understanding the Vulnerability of Migrants in Shanghai to Typhoons. Natural Hazards 60(3), 1189-1210. Available online: DOI: 10.1007/s11069-011-9902-9. Available online: DOI: 10.1007/s11069-011-9902-9.
  • Larsen, R.K., E. Calgaro and F. Thomalla. 2011. Governing Resilience Building in Thailand’s Tourism-dependent Coastal Communities: Conceptualising Stakeholder Agency in Social-ecological Systems. Global Environmental Change 21: 481-491. Available online: DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.12.009.
  • Thomalla, F. and R. K. Larsen. 2010. Resilience in the Context of Tsunami Early Warning Systems and Community Disaster Preparedness in the Indian Ocean Region. Environmental Hazards: Human and Policy Dimensions.  Special Issue on Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability 9 (2010): 249–265. *
  • Miller, F., H. Osbahr, E. Boyd, F. Thomalla, S. Bharwani, G. Ziervogel, B. Walker, J. Birkmann, S. Van der Leeuw, J. Rockström, J. Hinkel, T. Downing, C. Folke and D. Nelson. 2010. Resilience and Vulnerability: Complementary or Conflicting Concepts?. Ecology and Society 15 (3): 11. Available online:
  • Thomalla, F. and H. Schmuck. 2004. “We All Knew that a Cyclone was Coming”. Disaster Preparedness and the Cyclone of 1999 in Orissa, India. Disasters, 28 (4), 255–269.
  • Klein, R.J.T., R.J. Nicholls and F. Thomalla. 2003. Resilience to Weather-Related Hazards: How Useful is this Concept? Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards 5 (2003), 35-45.

Book chapters

  • Cardona, O.D., M.K. van Aalst, J. Birkmann, M. Fordham, G. McGregor, R. Perez, R.S. Pulwarty, E.L.F. Schipper, B.T. Sinh, H. Décamps, M. Keim, I. Davis, K.L. Ebi, A. Lavell, R. Mechler, V. Murray, M. Pelling, J. Pohl, A.-O. Smith, F. Thomalla. 2012. Chapter 2 – Determinants of Risk: Exposure and Vulnerability. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 65-108. *
  • Zou, L. and F. Thomalla. 2010. Social Vulnerability to Coastal Hazards in Southeast Asia: A Synthesis of Research Insights. In: C.T. Hoanh, B. Szuster, S.P. Kam, A. Noble, and A.M. Ismail (eds.) Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food Production, Communities and Environment at the Land–Water Interface. Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture Series, UK: CABI Publishing, June 2010.