Simone Sandholz is Associate Academic Officer in the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section of UNU-EHS. She holds a PhD in Geography, a Master degree in natural resources management and a Diploma in architecture and urban planning. From April to December 2019, she acted as the ad-interim co-chair of the VARMAP section.
In her research, Dr. Sandholz focuses on different aspects of future-oriented urban vulnerability and risk analysis with a focus on urban areas. Her particular fields of expertise are urban and green infrastructure, urban regeneration, nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, sociocultural aspects for vulnerability reduction, good governance and livelihood approaches, based on empirical social research methods. Dr. Sandholz has (co-)authored numerous research articles and book chapters, as well as policy and outreach publications. Besides being manager and lead researcher in three transdisciplinary projects COHERE, KIRMin and ZURES, her tasks within the section include proposal writing, supervision of team members, guest scientists and master students.
In addition to her vast teaching experience in different German and international universities (among others in Indonesia, Mexico, and Nepal) Dr. Sandholz is co-author of an open-source Masters Elective Course on Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction and co-developer of a MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” led by UN Environment. She is representative of UNU-EHS in the Evaluation Commission of the Joint Master’s Programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” with the University of Bonn as well as deputy member of the Academic Board.
Dr. Sandholz has previously worked as assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where she was part of the working groups ‘Development Studies and Sustainability Science’ and ‘Natural Hazards Research’. At TH Köln, Germany, she acted as scientific coordinator of the Center for Natural Resources and Development, a global university network under the ‘Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation’ Programme of German Academic Exchange Service and the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ). She has conducted projects on aspects of urban resilience in Latin America and Asia, supported by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Eurasia-Pacific Uninet. She won scholarships for her MSc and PhD fieldwork projects, received awards for her theses and was awarded with the teaching prize of TH Köln in 2014.