Lara Mani

Senior Research Associate

Lara is a Senior Research Associate in Environmental Risk and Risk Communication at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER). Her research seeks to understand the efficacy of various communication methods and strategies for gaining traction for the mitigation and prevention of global catastrophic risks (GCRs). With a background in volcanic risk studies, Lara's research at CSER also explores the global catastrophic risks from volcanic eruptions and specifically the systemic risks they pose to humanity.

Lara’s research in risk communication seeks to provide empirical evidence to understand what communication methods, tools and messages work to increase awareness of GCRs with policymakers, civil society, industry and publics. This research to date has adopted the use of novel methodologies, with a focus on participatory processes, including role-playing games and scenario-based exercises for increasing awareness of GCRs and for future explorations.

Lara gained her PhD in volcanic risk communication from the University of Plymouth, UK, where her research explored the use of video games for volcanic hazard education and outreach programmes. Most recently she has been working with partners at The University of the West Indies, Seismic Research Centre to evaluate the efficacy of the crisis communications campaign during the 2020-2021 eruption of La Soufriere, St Vincent.

Within global catastrophic risk research, Lara’s work has focused on improving the understanding of global volcanic risk. Her research applies systemic risk assessment to identify how volcanic hazards can interact with global complex systems and to map risk cascades. Through this research, Lara has co-founded a non-profit organisation – VolcanoAid - which is dedicated to mitigating the risk from globally impactful eruptions, through international monitoring, preparedness and advocacy for early warning and response. 

At CSER, Lara is the Co-Lead of the systemic risk research group. She is the Lead of the ‘learning from the past for the future’ working group of the Risk KAN network, and the outreach and public engagement representative for the VMSG committee. In 2022, Lara was the Runner-up for the University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement for her collaborative research with The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre.

Selected publications:

Cassidy, M., Sandberg, A., & Mani, L. (2023). The Ethics of Volcano Geoengineering. Earth’s Future, 11(10), e2023EF003714. .

Mani, L., Edwards, S., Joseph, E., Juman, A., and Thomas, T. (2023). Evaluating the UWI-SRC crisis communications campaign during the 2020-2021 eruption of La Soufriere, St Vincent. in Robertson, R., Sparks, S., and Barclay, J. (Eds.) The 2020-21 Eruption of La Soufriere Volcano, St. Vincent, Geological Society Special Publication.

Mani, L., Erwin, D., & Johnson, L. (2023). 6. Natural Global Catastrophic Risks. In The Era of Global Risk (pp. 123–146). Open Book Publishers. 

Wilson, N., Cassidy, M., Boyd, M., Mani, L., Valler, V., Brönnimann, S. (2023). Impact of the Tambora Volcanic Eruption of 1815 on Islands and Relevance to Future Sunlight-Blocking Catastrophes. Scientific Reports.

Cassidy, M. and Mani, L. (2022). Huge volcanic eruptions: time to prepare. Nature, 608, 469-471.

Ravan, S., De Groeve, T., Mani, L., Bjorgo, E., Moissl, R., Roncero, J. M., Rowan, K., Schuld, D., Lewis, L. A., & Kofler, R. (2022). When It Strikes, Are We Ready? Lessons Identified at the 7th Planetary Defense Conference in Preparing for a Near-Earth Object Impact Scenario. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 13(1), 151–159. .

Mani, L., Tzachor, A. & Cole, P. (2021). Global catastrophic risk from lower magnitude volcanic eruptions. Nature Communications, 12, 4756 (2021). .

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