Dr Joy Waddell



Field of research

  • Resilience
  • Governance
  • Transboundary natural resources management


Joy is a human geographer and disaster risk scientist who is interested in applying inclusive and collaborative governance thinking to enhance the resilience of people and ecosystems, particularly in the global South. Her doctoral research at the University of Cape Town explored flood risk reduction in Cape Town’s informal settlements, aiming to identify the barriers and opportunities for a more inclusive disaster governance approach in contexts of deep informality and weak governance. Joy completed her MSc in Disasters, Adaptation, and Development at King’s College London, with a dissertation that explored how Cambodian children’s perceptions to disaster risk shape their responses. Joy has previously worked as a researcher with the Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR) at Stellenbosch University, and as a climate risk specialist at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) in Thailand.

Joy’s research at CST focuses on exploring resilience thinking in Southern Africa, the extent to which policies in the region are aligned with resilience thinking, and where some of the gaps and leverage points are for strengthening resilience in Southern Africa. A specific focus of her research is to understand how polycentric governance can strengthen the resilience of transboundary water resources in the face of climate change and uncertainty.