Simon's interest is in behavioural decision making developed in a previous career in commercial communications market research for international blue chip fmcg brands. His academic research within the Flood Hazard Research Centre explores the role of both public and professional social contexts in decision making, communication of flood risk and uncertainty and approaches to participatory interaction in flood risk and water management.
Simon undertakes both qualitative and quantitative social research within the Centre. He works closely with both physical scientists focused on the communication of flood risk and uncertainty across flood risk management functions within and between professional and public stakeholders. His research projects have ranged across clients including DEFRA (social justice), Environment Agency (flood warnings, surface water mapping), EPSRC/NERC (FRMRC 1 & 2) 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) projects Phase 3/4 exploring residents' engagement with flood risk and opinions towards community based flood risk reduction measure plans in the lower Thames. Simon has co-authored flood risk communication guidance for local authorities in the UK (CIRIA) and building flood risk resilience with local aurhorities (Pathfinder). He has a wider water management research interest, for example, exploring broader land use utility for stakeholders than currently used in economics to encourage land use change such as well-being (EPI Water).
Simon has recently been involved in research encouraging stakeholder engagement with new technologies (ICT's) such as social media and smart phones (WeSenseIt) to strengthen local resilience and governance with cases in the UK, Italy and the Netherlands. He is currently involved in NatRisk project with Western Balkan partners, is a PhD supervisor which includes the EC 2020 System-Risk project and teaches on undergraduate and Masters degree modules.
Simon is course co-ordinator and teaches on the Centre's Continuing Professional Development course for Government, Environment Agency, Local Authority and Consultancy staff. He has also been a training examiner for the Visual Asset Condition Grading Program for flood asset inspectors in England and Wales.
Supervision requests at Masters and Doctorate levels on relevant research topics are welcomed.
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) Biology and Chemistry
MRS Dip (Market Research Society, Market and social research practice),
MSc (Environmental Psychology),
PhD (ESRC/Environment Agency funding)
Current & Recent Research:
Impacts in Warnings and Forecasts R&D project (Environment Agency, UK)
2016-2019: PhD candidate Marlies Barendrecht. Socio-hydrological modelling of the human flood system. Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resource Management, Vienna.
PhD 2018: Director of Studies. PhD (Awarded): Ali Alahmari 'The role of knowledge and institutional challenges to the adoption of sustainable drainage in Saudi Arabia: Implications for sustainable environmental development'.
PhD 2016 (Awarded): Simrat Riyait 'I'm big your small I'm right your wrong. The influence of gender and generation on migrant response to flood risk in England'.
McCarthy, Simon and Viavattene, Christophe and Sheehan, John and Green, C. (2018) Compensatory approaches and engagement techniques to gain flood storage in England and Wales. Journal of Flood Risk Management, 11 (1). pp. 85-94. ISSN 1753-318X
Mazumdar, Suvodeep and Lanfranchi, Vita and Ireson, Neil and Wrigley, Stuart and Bagnasco, Clara and Wehn, Uta and McDonagh, Rosalind and Ferri, Michele and McCarthy, Simon and Huwald, Hendrik and Ciravegna, Fabio (2016) Citizens observatories for effective Earth observations: the WeSenseIt approach. Environmental Scientist, 25 (2). pp. 56-61. ISSN 0966-8411
Viavattene, Christophe and McCarthy, Simon and Green, Colin H. and Pardoe, Joanna (2015) Cooperative agreements between water supply companies and farmers in Dorset. In: Use of Economic Instruments in Water PolicyInsights from International Experience. Lago, Manuel and Mysiak, Jaroslav and Gomez, Carlos M. and Delacamara, Gonzalo and Maziotis, Alexandros , eds. Global Issues in Water Policy, 14 . Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp. 325-337. ISBN 9783319182865
Wehn, Uta and McCarthy, Simon and Lanfranchi, Vita and Tapsell, Sue M. (2015) Citizen observatories as facilitators of change in water governance? Experiences from three European cases. Environmental Engineering and Management Journal, 14 (9). pp. 2073-2086. ISSN 1582-9596
Daly, Donald and Jodieri, Roya and McCarthy, Simon and Pygott, Katherine and Wright, Matthew (2015) Communication and engagement in local flood risk management. Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), London. ISBN 978-0-86017-757-9
2014 ongoing. Appointed member of the Thematic Advisory Group on flood and coastal erosion risk management research and development for England and Wales. Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.
Invited Chair (2018): Reducing the Risk and Impacts of flooding 2018. Inside Government 25th April 2018 London.
Presentation: 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.
Police National Mobilisation Plan working group in relation to disruptive events, Central Police Training and Development Authority (Centrex) and police Covert & Intelligence Doctrine Team 2006.
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.