Sue has been employed at the Flood Hazard Research Centre since 1990. In March 2010 Sue took over as Head and is responsible for the direction and the management of the Centre. Sue also has responsibility for initiating and managing research projects, contributing to projects, input into teaching and CPD activities and supervision of PhD students.

In 2006 Sue was appointed to the Joint Defra/Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Management R&D Programme Theme Advisory Group for ‘Incident Management and Community Engagement’. She was an invited member of the Cabinet Office Science and Engineering Review panel for the Pitt Review of the summer 2007 floods as well as a contributor to the Office of Science and Technology’s ‘Foresight Project on Future Flooding’ (2002-2004) and it’s update for the Pitt Review in 2008. Sue served on the Steering Committee of the Natural Environment Research Council’s Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) Programme. She is also a research Associate at HR Wallingford.

From 2000 to 2008 Sue was involved in managing and contributing to Continuing Professional Development training courses for Environment Agency staff: the Flood Risk Management Foundation Course; and Flood Forecasting, Warning and Response Course. Until 2010 she was the Middlesex University Link Tutor for FHRC’s contribution on the Environment Agency and Local Authority sponsored BSc Foundation Degree in River and Coastal Engineering run by the University of the West of England.

Qualifications: BSc, MA

Current Research Student Supervision:

Simrat Riyait: Migrants in the UK and their engagement with flood risk

Ali Alahmari: The potential benefits of rainwater harvesting for urban areas in Saudi Arabia

Selected Publications:

Walker, M., Whittle, R., Medd, W., Burningham, K., Moran-Ellis, J. and Tapsell, S. (2012) ‘It came up to here’: Learning from Children’s Flood Narratives. Children’s Geographies10 (2): 135-150.

Nye, M., Tapsell, S. and Twigger-Ross, C. (2011) New social directions in UK flood risk management: moving towards flood risk citizenship? Journal of Flood Risk Management 4 (4): 288-297

Kuhlicke, C., Scolobig, A, Tapsell, S., Steinführer, A., and De Marchi, B. (2011) Contextualizing Social Vulnerability: Findings from case studies across Europe. Natural Hazards 58: 789-810

Priest, S.J., Parker, D.J. and Tapsell, S.M. (2011) Modelling the potential damage-reducing benefits of flood warnings using European cases. Environmental Hazards. Published online on 21 Jun 2011

McFadden, L., Penning-Rowsell, E. and Tapsell, S. (2009) ‘Strategic coastal-flood risk management in practice: actors’ perspectives on the integration of flood risk management in London and the Thames Estuary’. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management Vol. 52, 636-645.

Parker, D.J., Priest, S.J., Tapsell, S.M. (2009) “Understanding and enhancing the public’s behavioural response to flood warning information”. Meteorological Applications, 16, 103-114

Tapsell, S.M. and Tunstall, S.M. (2008) ‘”I wish I’d never heard of Banbury”: the relationship between ‘place’ and the health impacts of flooding’. Health & Place (forthcoming June 2008) Vol. 14 (2), 133-154.

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

Johnson, C.; Penning-Rowsell. E.; Tapsell, S. (2007) ‘Aspiration and reality: flood policy, economic damages and the appraisal process.’ Area. 39.2, 214-223.

Tunstall, S.; Tapsell,S.; Green, C., Floyd, P. and George, C. (2006) ‘The health effects of flooding: Social research results from England and Wales’. Journal of Water and Health, Vol. 4, (3), 365-380.

Tapsell, S.M.; Penning-Rowsell, E.C.; Tunstall, S.M.; Wilson , T. (2002) 'Vulnerability to flooding: health and social dimensions'. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 360, 1511-1525.

Tapsell, S.M.; Tunstall, S.M.; House, M.; Whomsley, J.; Macnaghten, P. (2001) 'Growing up with rivers? Rivers in London children's worlds'. Area. Vol. 33 (2), 177-189.

Ohl, C.A. and Tapsell, S.M. (2000) ‘Flooding and human health: the dangers posed are not always obvious’. British Medical Journal, 321, 1167-8

Sue has many years of experience in designing and managing both quantitative and qualitative research projects, although specialises in qualitative research. Her early research focused on the public perception of flood risk, flood defence schemes, river restoration schemes and river environments, and upon children’s perception and use of river environments. Other interests have included the human ‘intangible’ impacts of flooding (e.g. health and social aspects). Sue was an invited member of an advisory group for a global review on flood risk, adaptation and health (2003-2004) by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change and, more recently, reviewed the report on health effects and their prevention for the Health Protection Agency and World Health Organization European Region. Sue managed the FHRC contributions to three European Commission-funded projects: the large FLOODsite project (2004-2009) which sought to improve flood risk management strategies and practice across Europe; the CapHaz-Net project (Social capacity building for natural hazards toward more resilient communities – 2009-2012) which aimed at suggesting ways of improving the resilience of European societies to natural hazards paying particular attention to social capacities and how they are influenced by local contexts; and the ENSURE project (Enhancing resilience of communities and territories facing natural and na-tach hazards - 2008-2011) which contributed to an improved analysis of vulnerability for improving community resilience.

Other recent projects and interests have included: developing conceptual models to assess the risk to life from European flood events and health impacts for FLOODsite; research to improve the social and institutional responses to flooding and social data collection related to flooding; research to inform the development of a Strategy for Social Science within the Defra/Environment Agency Joint Flood and Coastal Management R&D Programme; stakeholder communication and engagement in flood risk management; public understanding and perception of severe flash flooding; learning from children’s flood narratives; and the role of innovative spatial planning for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Current projects:

WeSenseIt: Citizen Observatory of Water, European Commission

STAR-FLOOD: STrengthening And Redesigning European FLOOD risk practices Towards appropriate and resilient flood risk governance arrangements, European Commission