RISKam develops theoretical and applied research to assess susceptibility, hazards, vulnerability and perception of natural, environmental and technological risks. GIS tools and spatial modelling methods are used to conduct the research, with the main applications being spatial planning and management, and contingency planning.

The activity of the research group is currently conducted in mainland Portugal, the Azores and Madeira, Spain, Morocco, Cape Verde and Mozambique, embedded into research projects, service agreement contracts and dissertation supervision. International cooperation is framed within the European Centre for Geomorphological Risks of the Council of Europe, and the European Geosciences Union.

Main research topics:

Thematic Axis 1 – Environmental Change, Resources and Natural Hazards:

(i) Slope instability and assessment of hazard and related risks.

(ii) Assessment of water erosion and desertification hazard.

(iii) Assessment of coastal erosion and related hazards.

(iv) Assessment of hazard and risks related to extreme climate events.

(v) GIS modelling of flooding hazards and risks.

(vi) Modelling of tsunami propagation and flooding.

(vii) Modelling of fire hazards and risks.

(viii) Modelling of spatial dissemination of diseases and invasive species.

(ix) Multi-risk GIS modelling by means of statistical/probabilistic methods.


Thematic Axis 3 – Spatial Planning:

(i) Assessment of vulnerabilities and risk perception.

(ii) Creation of systems to support decision making in order to minimise losses derived from environmental hazards.

(iii) Multi-risk assessment and definition of compatible practices in the area of spatial planning and contingency planning.


The research group aims at analysing, assessing and managing risk in the context of adaptation to climate change, thus contributing to increase resilience against natural, technological or environmental disasters.

Specific objectives:

– Assess tsunami hazard based on numerical modelling scenarios, and analyse its impact on Portugal’s coastal area.

– Analyse the most destructive hydrometeorological events that have affected Portugal in the last 150 years.

– Define critical rainfall thresholds for triggering floods.

– Evaluate the susceptibility and hazard of rainfall induced floods, based on GIS-spatial analysis.

– Limit uncertainties in the assessment of hazard and risk of slope movements, by developing new input data and new modelling methods.

– Build a landslide alert system prototype.

– Analyse the spatial and temporal distribution of damages (mortality, for instance) caused by floods and slope movements in Portugal.

– Assess the susceptibility of coastal areas to erosion, in a scenario of sea-level elevation.

– Assess forest fire susceptibility and hazard using analytical approaches and evaluate the influence of conditioning factors in different geographical contexts.

– Assess the potential risk of vector-borne diseases.

– Increase the knowledge of risk perception and human vulnerabilities, assessing how people and communities react to risks.