About Jonatan Lassa

I have a balanced mix of experience as an academic/scholar (recently) and an activist/practitioner (past). I have been working in the field of international development, humanitarian emergency, climate adaptation, disaster studies, human security, crisis management, risk management, food policy, environmental governance and renewable energy, and participatory development since 1999.

Recently, I was awarded: “Top Research in the Field of Emergency Management by the Australian Research Magazine 2023“; And the “Science and Health Editor’s Choice Award 2022” for contributions to science-based journalism focusing on disasters and health in The Conversation (ID) in 2022.

Since 2016, I have held the position of Research Active Tenured Academic at the Emergency and Disaster Management Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Society, Charles Darwin University, Australia.

I have been providing advisory roles and consulting services for more than 30 international organisations, such as DFAT Australia, IFRC, AHA Centre, UNESCO HQ, AusAID, Asia Foundation, Oxfam International, Oxfam GB, Risk Frontiers Sydney, Mercy Corps, Caritas, Netherlands Red Cross, UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, ICRM Singapore, World Vision, ERIA and USAID funded projects and including pro-bono supports for other tens of not-for-profit organisations.

I identify myself as an interdisciplinary social scientist with an engineering background! I have been trained in human and policy dimensions of disaster management research, civil engineering, development studies, environment and sustainable development, climate adaptation, food security, sociology of knowledge, humanitarian studies and network theory. I have been studying and working in the following countries: Germany, the USA, Singapore, Indonesia, UK and Australia.

My contributions to global disaster studies include macro and micro-level disaster governance,  complex network theory application in disaster management, institutions and institutionalisation framework in disaster reduction. My doctoral research has been one of the first systematic studies on disaster governance, looking at institutions and governance practices in disaster reduction in countries around the world. 

My research focus includes understanding institutions and governance, complex network theory application in disaster studies, disaster recovery and food systems under changing climate. My doctoral research has been one of the first systematic studies on disaster governance, looking at how institutions and governance practices around the world respond to disaster risk. See my current research projects!

I currently teach the interdisciplinary dimensions of humanitarian emergency and disaster management at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia. See my teaching portfolios here! Prior to my post with CDU Australia, I served as a Research Fellow at the Center for Non-traditional Security Studies, RSIS, NTU Singapore (2014). In brief, these two posts mark the beginning of a serious academic career. Please see my background prior to these, here!

After completing my postdoc at Harvard Kennedy School (2011) and ICRM NTU in 2012, I went back to West Timor, Indonesia, where I mainly worked as a consultant and practitioner in the fields of disaster management evaluation, urban and rural climate adaptation and NGO studies. Together with West Timorese scholar-activist, we established a local think tank, namely the Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change, where we conducted several experiments on how to run a think tank from a remote region, targeting policy and academic debate as well as facilitating social change. I have been also serving as a Senior Advisor (Senior Research Fellow at the Resilience Development Initiative since its establishment.

I recently served as a lead editor and co-author for 43 Modules of ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management. I also edited SPHERE Standard 2018 for the Bahasa translation.

At the moment, I am welcoming honours/master/PhD supervision on the following topics: governing climate and disaster loss, social network analysis and network theory application in climate adaptation and disaster management, urban-rural resilience planning, multi-hazard + conflict early warning system, humanitarian reform, humanitarian technology, institutional vulnerability assessment, local disaster management policy reform, global and regional humanitarian ecosystems, NGOs/CSOs network structure, urban climate governance, disaster education, models and frameworks in urban adaptation mainstreaming, critical realist approach to disaster policymaking. I also welcome different ideas for future research.

Research and teaching position

  • Charles Darwin University, Australia [Since 2016]
  • RSIS Nanyang Technological University, Singapore [2014-2016]
  • ICRM, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore [2011-2012]
  • Ash Centre, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, USA [2011]
  • United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security [2007-2010]

Long-term Research and Advisory Position

  • Resilience Development Initiatives, Indonesia [2013-Now]
  • Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change, Indonesia [2012-Now]


Professional and other Training Courses:

  • Graduate Certificate in Teaching Higher Education, Charles Darwin University, Australia [2017/2019]
  • Executive Education in Crisis Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, USA [2011]
  • Nutrition Under Climate Change – Potsdam Summer School of International Nutrition, University of Potsdam, Germany, 2015.
  • Food Security, Water and Climate, Summer Course, Universität Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, 2013.
  • Global Governance and Regionalism, Garnet PhD School IX – Universite Libre de Bruxelles, 2009 [3 ECTS]
  • End to End Disaster Early Warning Systems, ADPC Bangkok, Thailand [2008] [80 hours120 hours face-to-face interaction].
  • Interdisciplinary Research [Module 1] and Social Science [Module 2] Research Methods, Center for Development Research (ZEF) University of Bonn, 2007/2008. circa 50 ECTS Credits.
  • International Humanitarian Law by British Red Cross, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK [2006]
  • Disaster Management Course 29th Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, AIT Bangkok, [2002] [120 hours face-to-face interaction].
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