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Our Team

Giuseppe Dal Prá

Founder and CEO

Giuseppe is a transdisciplinary thinker, with writing on strategies for whole-society transitions towards a more resilient and flourishing civilisation. He completed a degree in History & Politics at Balliol College, University of Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

His research has covered how best to prepare against wicked problems and systemic risks, for example runaway climate change, using best practice in deliberation and other associated antifragile reforms. Strengthening democratic institutions to better handle conditions of crisis is one of his key focuses, as well as enhancing institutions’ scientific basis for addressing technical and long term risks. 

 

He co-authored the ComplexCity semi-finalist entry (in the last 40 of 2700 entrants), developing an epistemic democratic platform proposal for citizen-led policy experiments, for the Global Challenges Foundation's New Shape Prize. 

His engagement with over a hundred Effective Altruists at conferences in London, Oxford, Stockholm, Cambridge, Rotterdam and Berlin inspired the establishment of the Odyssean Institute to address areas many EAs agreed were neglected. 

Bilal-Imran Asghar

Operations Lead

Bilal developed an interest in societal resilience and complex systems while working on the frontlines of the pandemic response. He has wide-ranging experience working in logistics and operations, and is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to disaster risk reduction and response. 

He holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from King's College London.

Nathaniel Cooke

Training Lead and Research Associate

Nathaniel is a researcher and postgraduate student who works on systemic and sociopolitical approaches to global catastrophic and existential risk. He has experience in agent-based and network modelling, scenario planning, and wargaming. His interests include emergency and crisis management, complex adaptive systems, and the politics of artificial intelligence.

He is a Research Affiliate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge. He has previously been a Research Fellow at the Stanford Existential Risk Initiative, and subsequently trained Fellows with the Swiss Existential Risk Initiative, the University of Chicago’s Existential Risk Laboratory, and the Existential Risk Alliance.

In addition to this, Nathaniel teaches an introductory existential risk course he developed at the Cambridge Existential Risk Initiative.

He also works as a Wargaming Control and Facilitator for Stone Paper Scissors, the UK’s leading wargaming and crisis simulation consultancy.

He is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, following a BA in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge. His dissertation uses computer simulations to explore how macrohistory can be used to imagine and improve humanity's future.

Christopher Chan

Food Security and Nuclear Resilience Lead

Research Associate

 

Christopher became interested in complex system modelling through a distinctive background in geospatial data science, he is mainly interested in applying the perspective of geospatial and satellite data in system modelling for Global Catastrophic Risks.

He holds a BSc. (hons) in Geography from the University of Edinburgh and a M.Sc. in Earth Observation from the Julius Maximilians Universität Würzburg.​

He acts as a community organiser for Effective Geoscientists, and provides operations and support for Munich AI Alignment. He has published an article highlighting the diverse role of geoscientists and the use of geospatial data in addressing global challenges and catastrophic risks, as well as one on the shortcomings of the current ESG rating framework, discussing how financial services and stakeholder capitalism can improve accountability to society.

He has developed and facilitated an elementary Python for Data Science upskilling course for a global data team within a multinational financial service advisory firm. He contributed technically to project fAIr and provided impact advisory for HOTOSM.

 

Undertook a research project in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The project utilised Computer Vision deep learning for AI-assisted mapping of refugee camps using Very High Resolution drone imagery for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. The findings were presented at the State of The Map 2022 conference in Florence, Italy.

Isabel Johnson

Research Associate

With a background in political theory, Isabel is passionate about exploring how we can build societal resilience in the face of disaster, particularly involving theories of collective action. She has previously worked as a Research Assistant on topics ranging from the sociology of law to AI governance.

 

Isabel has a strong personal interest in nuclear risk mitigation from an interdisciplinary perspective, which has led her to create an ever-expanding archive on the topic, and to volunteer for the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters in order to better understand what it would be like to live through an abrupt sunlight reduction scenario.

Antonia Briel

Research Associate

Antonia is a postgraduate student at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, specialising in comparative political behaviour, social transformation, and democratic innovation. Her current research investigates the political consequences of natural disasters, following her interest in societal resilience and foresight in politics. As a generalist with experience in research, operations, and event organisation, Antonia has previously worked as a Research Assistant for the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Chair of Comparative Political Behaviour at HU Berlin.

Advisors

Dr. Constantin Arnscheidt

Constantin is a Research Associate at the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, where he researches cascading global catastrophic risk (with a particular focus on global climate change). He is advising the Odyssean Institute on topics of systemic/cascading risk, tipping points, complex systems modelling, and catastrophic outcomes.

Constantin holds a PhD in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from MIT, and an undergraduate degree in Physics from Harvard College.

Professor Peter Turchin

Peter Turchin is a complexity scientist who works in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modelling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Currently he investigates a set of broad and interrelated questions: How do human societies evolve? In particular, what processes explain the evolution of ultrasociality—our capacity to cooperate in huge anonymous societies of millions? What processes are responsible for the resilience of complex societies to external and internal shocks? What causes political communities to cohere and what causes them to fall apart? Currently his main research effort is directing the Seshat Databank project (and its offshoot, CrisisDB) which builds and analyses a massive historical database that enables us to empirically test predictions from theories attempting to explain why and how complex human societies evolved, and why they periodically experience political breakdown.

Turchin has published >200 articles in peer-reviewed journals that include Nature, Science, and PNAS. His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was designated as “Highly cited researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. In 2021 he was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Turchin has authored ten books. His most recent books are End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration (2023) and The Great Holocene Transformation (forthcoming).
 

Dr. Bonnie Wintle

Bonnie has an interdisciplinary background. In her Bachelor of Science (Hons), she studied plant ecology, philosophy of science and geography. Her PhD was on improving environmental judgements and decision making, with the environmental science group at the University of Melbourne. Her postdoctoral work was on horizon scanning for biodiversity conservation (University of Melbourne) and existential risks (CSER, University of Cambridge). Now working in the area of ‘metascience’ (with MetaMelb), Bonnie develops structured methods for eliciting and aggregating quantitative and qualitative judgements from groups of experts, to support better decision and policy making.

 

Her interests include:

  • Meta-research

  • Expert Judgement

  • Environmental Decision Making

  • Horizon Scanning

Dr. Mark Fabian

Mark Fabian is assistant professor of public policy at the University of Warwick, and an affiliate fellow at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy in the University of Cambridge. He was previously a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. His studies wellbeing from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a focus on policy applications.

 

His most recent book, A Theory of Subjective Wellbeing, was published by Oxford University Press in 2022 as part of their philosophy, politics, and economics series. His journal articles have appeared in top journals across multiple fields, including Perspectives on Psychological Science, European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, and the Journal of European Public Policy.

Dr. Catherine Rhodes

Catherine is Head of Operations and Engagement for SPRITE+ (the Security, Privacy, Identity and Trust Engagement NetworkPlus) at the University of Manchester. She was previously Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, and retains a research affiliation there. In the context of addressing global risk, Catherine’s work broadly focuses on understanding the intersection and combination of risk stemming from technologies and risk stemming from governance (or lack of it).

 

She has particular expertise in the international governance of biotechnology, biosecurity and broader biological risk management – as well as the lessons that can be drawn from these areas for the wider governance of global catastrophic risks. Catherine has an academic background in international relations but has engaged in extensive interdisciplinary work. Her PhD was funded as part of the Project on Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention at the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre, and Catherine retains a strong interest in international actions to prevent misuse of science. Catherine has participated in several horizon scanning exercises relating to bioengineering, synthetic biology, global health, and dual-use research of concern.

Dr. Luke Kemp

Luke is a Senior Research Associate at the Notre Dame Institute of Advanced Study, and a Research Affiliate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) and Darwin College at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on understanding the long run history and future of extreme global risks. Luke has advised the WHO and multiple international institutions, and his work has been covered by media outlets such as the BBC, New York Times, and the New Yorker.

 

He holds both a Doctorate in International Relations and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with first class honours from the Australian National University (ANU). His first book on the deep history and future of societal collapse (Goliath’s Curse) will be published with Penguin in 2025.

Dr. Mark Workman

Mark Workman is a specialist in Strategic Foresight. He uses mixed methods to develop insights about risks and opportunities in different possible futures with a specific application to the net zero transition.  

He is a Coastal Engineer (University of Southampton), Military (Queens Gurkha Engineers) and Business Leader (Medical and Security Consultancy), Environmental Economist, Academic (Imperial College London and Oxford University) and Strategist by training. He has undertaken military tours, led extreme and high-risk expeditions all over the world and run multi-million-dollar business units. He has two military awards for leadership.

Dr. Roger Cremades

Asst. Prof. Dr. Roger Cremades is a social-ecological complexity economist. Roger has more than 10 years of experience in the complex socio-economic interactions of climate change in China, India, the Americas, and several European regions. He coordinated European research and co-production projects on climate change adaptation (e.g. CLISWELN).

 

His work on the intersection of complex systems, global change, and economics appeared in top journal like PNAS, Ecological Economics, Nature Climate Change, Nature Food, and Nature Geoscience, i.a.. Roger has been twice elected member of the Council of the Complex Systems Society (2022-2025, and 2019-2022), elected Executive Board Member of CoMSES.net (2024-2026), and also co-chaired the Development Team of the Finance and Economics Knowledge-Action Network of Future Earth (2020-2022).

 

Roger is known for applying complex systems methods such as networks, cellular automata, AI, or adaptive cycles, thus producing innovative work about socio-economic tipping points, the social feasibility of large-scale floating settlements, the dynamics of social norms, the sustainability frontiers of cities, the economics of the water-energy-land nexus, machine learning predictions in the use of natural resources, catastrophic risk, climate-risk insurances, and green investments, to mention a few. Roger likes good coffee, good food, spices, and multiple fermentation processes. A few times every winter, Roger either breaks the ice in a frozen lake and jumps into the water, or does things of the sort on freezing torrents and seas.

Advisors

Trustees

Paul Ingram

Paul has been involved in efforts to improve methods of deliberative democracy for many years, since being an Oxford City Councillor (1996-2002) and co-Leader of the Council in a shared Administration (2000-02).

 

He has also been the Executive Director of the registered charity British American Security Information Council (www.basicint.org) developing public education around the issue of nuclear deterrence and disarmament (2007-19).

 

BASIC received funding for this work from a number of charities and governments including the FCDO.

Kaela Scott

Kaela Scott is a deliberative engagement specialist and former Director of Innovation and Practice at Involve, the UK's leading public participation charity. During her time there she led a wide range of deliberative engagement projects designed to inform and influence policy by introducing the considered, collective opinions of the public.

Recent examples of her work include:

  • Wellcome's Citizens Jury on Genome Editing, which set out to understand the patient populations' appetite and reservations about Genome Editing to enable the Wellcome Connecting Science and partners to establish advocacy positions before it becomes a live policy issue;

  • Devon Climate Assembly, commissioned by the Devon Climate Emergency Partnership to explore in detail aspects of the results of their previous public engagement work that had proved contentious in order to better understand the preferences and priorities of the public when considering the implications of infrastructure change necessary to achieve net zero and inform the final iterations of the Devon Carbon Plan;

  • The Constitution Unit's (UCL) Citizens Assembly on Democracy in the UK, organised to involve the public in considering options for improving the quality and trust in the UK's key democratic institutions (with a particular focus on the UK Parliament, Government and Judiciary) to inform future debates about the nature of democracy among academics, policy makers, governments, and parliaments in all parts of the UK;

  • People's Assembly for Nature, commissioned by a partnership between the RSPB, National Trust, and WWF to invite the public to develop the People's Plan for Nature that would establish a clear, consistent, and collective advocacy framework for these organisations and form the basis of a wider public campaign for a nature positive future for the UK.

Dr. Jan Kwakkel

Dr. Jan Kwakkel is a full professor of Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty at Delft University of Technology in the public policy analysis group at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.

 

His research focusses on the development and testing of model-based methods for enabling public deliberation and decision making under uncertainty. He is a founding member and current president of the society for decision making under deep uncertainty.

 

He has received several grants from the Dutch national science foundation and has applied his research in various domains including flood risk management, the net zero transition, health, and safety, and security.

Dr. Daniel Hoyer

Dr. Daniel Hoyer is a computational historian and complexity scientist. He currently serves as Senior Research Associate & Managing Director for Seshat: Global History Databank, Research Scientist with the SocialAI Research Group, and Part Time Professor, George Brown College.

 

He holds a PhD from New York University, where he studied economic and social development in the high Roman Empire. Since 2014 he has been working alongside Prof. Peter Turchin as part of the Seshat Databank project, a multidisciplinary project examining long-run social dynamics by combining qualitative and empirical information about the past with advanced quantitative analysis and computer modelling.

 

His research seeks to understand the root causes of and limiting factors to societal development and resilience. In particular, he is interested in understanding societal responses to shifting ecological, social, and economic contexts that determine well-being outcomes in the past, as well as how this understanding may shed light on critical social pressures today.

 

He has written or edited several books, most recently the Seshat History of the Axial Age with Jenny Reddish and Figuring Out the Past with Peter Turchin. He has co-authored numerous articles, including pieces published in PNAS, Science Advances, and Nature: Scientific Reports. His work has been featured in several podcasts, radio shows, and news articles, such as the History Hits podcast and interviews in Nature, The Guardian, and New Scientist.

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