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Kurtis Garbutt

Former Research Associate

Kurtis Garbutt

Former Research Associate

Profile Contents


Kurtis Garbutt is currently a Research Engineer working on an EngD in the Urban Sustainability & Resilience Centre (USAR), which is part of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE) at University College London (UCL).

As a Research Assistant on a social network analysis project in the Department of International Development at Oxford University, his work aimed to explore the social media networks and interactions of Islamic scholars and their followers. Through the use of data scraping in R and Python, the project aimed to measure the influence of Islamic authority online, building up a global profile of scholars and their followers.

In 2012 Kurtis received a full EngD studentship from USAR and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to work with the British Red Cross (BRC) for four years on a project aimed at creating a geographical information system (GIS) tool to support the work of the BRC and improve the understanding of urban resilience in vulnerable people/the elderly in times of crisis.

Kurtis’ Masters research, undertaken at Durham University, was a quantitative study based upon the collation and statistical evaluation of a custom-built global long-term database of media coverage of major natural hazard events and the ensuing relief efforts. The database produced is now fully automated and is continuing to grow and will be used for future research at Durham University and the International Landslide Centre.

Kurtis’ professional work, particularly his work at the BRC, has been a mix of qualitative and quantitative research, as well as organisation and administration. His role at the BRC was as a lead researcher on a national floods research study aimed at enhancing the voluntary sector’s collective understanding of the needs of flood affected individuals and communities with a view to understanding how they are impacted and how recovery is best supported.

Kurtis works with a number of NGOs to facilitate NGO/academic collaboration and research. He has a keen interest in mapping, open source and ‘non-traditional’ data and the use of the Internet to examine geodemographics, digital access and representation, and aid development work.

Research Interests

Open Source Data, Geodemographics, Mapping, Digital Access, Vulnerability, Hazards, NGO, Development.

Positions at the OII

  • Research Associate, September 2017 - November 2019