Simon's research within the Flood Hazard Research Centre explores the role of both public and professional social contexts in the communication of flood risk and uncertainty and approaches to participatory interaction in flood risk management and water management.

Simon undertakes both qualitative and quantitative social research within the Centre. He has undertaken research on both Phase 1 and 2 of a large multi-agency Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project, the Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC). The research in both phases has involved close working with the physical sciences focused on the communication of flood risk and uncertainty, between professionals and to the public across flood risk management functions. In addition to his involvement in the Centre’s research projects for DEFRA (social justice), Environment Agency (warnings, surface water, mapping) and European Commission (resilience, social capacity building, economic policy instruments). Simon has been the social scientist in a Halcrow / Jacobs / Environment Agency consultation Lower Thames Strategy Study (LTSS) project Phase 3/4 exploring residents' engagement with flood risk and opinions towards community based flood risk reduction measure plans in the lower Thames.

He is currently involved in research encouraging stakeholder participation with new technologies such as social media (WeSenseIt) and also flood risk communication on guidance for local authorities in the UK (CIRIA). Wider water management is also a research interest. Exploring broader land use utility for stakeholders than currently used in economics to encourage land use change such as well-being (EPI Water).

CPD Manager:

Simon is course co-ordinator and teaches on the Centre's Continuing Professional Development course for Environment Agency and Local Authority staff. He has also been a training examiner on the Centre's Visual Asset Condition Grading Program for flood asset inspectors in England and Wales.

Selected Publications:

Meyer, V., Kuhlicke, C., Luther, J., Fuchs, S., Priest, S., Dorner, W., Serrhini, K., Pardoe, J., McCarthy, S., Seidel, J., Scheuer,S., Palka, G., Unnerstall, H., Viavattene, C. and Scheuer, S. (2012) Recommendations for the user-specific enhancement of flood maps, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 1701–1716

D.J. Parker, S.J. Priest and S.S. McCarthy (2011) Exploring surface water flood warning requirements and potential in England and Wales. Applied Geography, 31, 891-900

Tapsell, S; McCarthy, S; Faulkner, H & Alexander, M (2010): Social Vulnerability and Natural Hazards. CapHaz-Net WP4 Report, Flood Hazard Research Centre – FHRC, Middlesex University, London

Faulkner, H., McCarthy, S. And Tunstall, S, (2010). Flood Risk Communication. In Eds. G. Pender and H.Faulkner Flood Risk Science and Management. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 386-406.

Tunstall,S., McCarthy,S. and Faulkner,H. (2009). Flood risk management and planning policy in a time of policy transition: the case of the Wapshott Road Planning Inquiry. Journal of Flood Risk Management. 2(2): 159-169.

Johnson,C., Tunstall,S., Priest,S., McCarthy,S. and Penning-Rowsell,E. (2008) Social justice in the context of flood and coastal erosion risk management: a review of policy and practice, Defra R&D Technical Report FD2605TR.

McCarthy,S., Penning-Rowsell,E. and Tunstall,S. (2008) Public attitudes to 'community based' small scale flood risk reduction measures in England: A case study in the Lower Thames catchment in Bosher L.S. (ed.), Hazards and the Built Environment: Attaining Built-in Resilience, Taylor & Francis, London ISBN:9780415427296(HB); 9780415427302(PB)

McCarthy,S.S.(2007) Contextual influences on national level flood risk communication.Environmental Hazards. 7(2): 128-140

McCarthy,S.,Tunstall,S., Parker,D., Faulkner,H., Howe,J.(2007) Risk communication in emergency response to a simulated extreme flood. Environmental Hazards. 7(3): 179-192

Parker,D., Tapsell,S. and McCarthy,S. (2007) Enhancing the human benefits of flood warnings. Natural Hazards. 43(3): 397-414

Parker,D., Tunstall,S., McCarthy,S. (2007) New insights into flood warning benefits Environmental Hazards7(3): 193-210.

McCarthy,S, Parker,D.J. and Penning-Rowsell,E.C.(2006). Preconsultation social survey, community based flood risk reduction options reach 4: Walton Bridge to Teddington. Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, London

McCarthy,S.S. (2004). Definition and experience of flooding: Residents' and officials' perspectives. PhD thesis University of Surrey library and FHRC library.

Invited consultee

Paper: Social vulnerability to natural hazards. Association Francaise pour la prevention des catastrophes naturelles (AFPCN). MACIF Paris 24th September 2010.

International editorial board 2011 of Acta geographica Slovenica – Geografski zbornik (ISSN: 1581-6613)

Environmental Research Funders' Forum consultation on future UK flooding research. London 2009.

Welsh Assembly Government (Resilience), Pan Wales Framework for Evacuation and In-Migration. ECC(W) Cardiff 2009.

Defra Expert group workshop on property-level flood resistance and resilience. Defra London 2008.

National media: TV, radio and print in response to national UK flooding July 2007.

European Co-Operation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research Concerted Research Action 731: 'Propagation of Uncertainty in Advanced Meteo-Hydrological Forecast Systems'seminar. WSL Zurich2007.

World Meterological Organisation working group on the APFM Technical Document No. 4 (2006) 'Social aspects and stakeholder involvement in integrated flood management' ISBN: 92-63-11008-5. Geneva, 2005.

An interest focused on the interaction between people and their environment (social and physical contexts) has developed from a Masters level in applied psychological research into the cognitive coping processes employed by those affected by flooding. At a doctorate level Simon adopted a sociological perspective in the form of a social construction approach to investigate the issues informing flood experts’ and the publics' experiences of flooding in the UK.


BSc (Hons), PGDip (marketing), DipMRS, MSc, PhD. ICPEM.

Current Research:

WeSenseIt: Citizen Observatory of Water (EC FP7)

EPI-Water: Evaluating economic instruments for sustainable water management in Europe (EC FP7)

CIRIA - Guidance on communicating local flood risk

Postgraduate Supervision:

2009-2013: Simrat Riyait 'Migrants in the UK and their engagement with flood risk'

2013-2016: Ali Alahmari 'The potential benefits of rain water harvesting for urban areas in Saudi Arabia'