Professor, Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture, UNSW

David brings 25 years experience working across the world in development and emergencies. He has held senior posts in both NGO and academic sectors, leading teams and programmes, developing strategies and undertaking training, research and consultancy. He is a member of several NGO and donor advisory boards and has published articles and papers concerning urban livelihoods, shelter and disaster risk reduction.

David has experience of all stages of project management and has carried out work for agencies including Qatar Foundation, IFRC, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP), Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), European Commission, Humanitarian Coalition (HC), Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), DFID, USAID, World Bank (EDI Section), UNDP/UNDESA, UN-Habitat, British Council, Christian Aid, Habitat For Humanity, CARE Bangladesh, Tear Fund, Save the Children, Oxfam GB, Islamic Relief, Register of Engineers for Disaster Response (REDR) Canada, World Vision International, LSE Public Policy Group, Mott Foundation, Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Action (ELRHA) and the ACT Alliance.

Between 2006-14 David was Director of a university centre focusing on development and emergencies, and was conferred Professor in 2010. Between 2013-14 he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. In August 2014 David became Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

David sits on a number of Boards, including the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (where he chairs the Grants Panel) and ELRHA.

David was appointed the Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture at the University of New South Wales, Australia in February 2016. He is Editor of the 2016 IFRC World Disasters Report, focusing on resilience.


  • –present
    Professor, Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture, UNSW Australia