Jenni Barclay


  • 1.46 Sciences

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Personal profile


My background is in Geology, with a first degree from the University of Edinburgh and PhD from the University of Bristol. My real passion within geology is Volcanology.

My PhD looked at several aspects of the degassing process associated with silicic volcanoes and I followed that with postdoctoral positions at Bristol, Berkeley and Geneva working on petrology applied to volcanic eruptions.  During that time (1996-1999)  I also had several periods as a duty scientist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, during the early stages of the eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano.

Those experiences on Montserrat and elsewhere convinced me of the need for a truly inter-disciplinary approach in order to properly understand volcanic eruptions and mitigate their impact. My appointment at UEA in 1999, provided an opportunity to work with an amazing diversity of researchers at UEA that go beyond the usual realms of geology. 

I enjoy collaborations at UEA and worldwide with sedimentologists, atmospheric scientists, geophysicists, social  and development scientists and colleagues from the humanities on a  variety of different problems relating to volcanic phenomena and their social and environmental impacts.

I keep a blog that looks at the way hazards and scientists in general and volcanoes in particular appear in other walks of life. It can be found here: VolcanoJenni

I also have a twitter account @VolcanoJenni; all views are my own not those of the university.

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.


External Activities

  • Policy Contributions:
  • 2011 -2019 Scientific Advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Montserrat)
  • 2011-2012 Contributor to UK Government Foresight project on ‘Anticipating disasters’
  • Honorary Appointments and Editorships:
  • 2016-present Editor 'Volcanica' a Diamond open access journal.
  • 2016-2020 External Examiner: University of Plymouth
  • 2011- 2016 Member of Editorial Board of Journal of Applied Volcanology (Springer)
  • 2010- 2014 Member of External Advisory Board for NSF Infrastructure Project (Vhub)
  • 2011-2015 Member of External Advisory Board for EU FP7 Project (VUELCO)
  • 2011- 2015 External Examiner University College London, Masters in Geophysical Hazards
  • Science, Impact and Engagement

  • My attitude towards public engagement stems from a strong commitment to inclusive access to scientific knowledge. Engagement should stimulate learning and curiosity, create opportunities and empower individuals. I believe this should be sensitive to the interests of the audience and above all else innovative and fun. At the moment I am working on:

    • 2019-2021 (Lead Contributor)‘Disasters Passed’ exhibits for UK  and Montserrat. Including website Mountain Aglow
    • 2020- present Lead  Contributor to UEA Volcano Outreach a website designed to share our group's resources and experiences in public engagement with volcanoes and hazards.
    • 2013-present Overall lead on the Volcanoes Top Trumps’ Initiative . A Consortium of researchers from three universities who have designed and overseen production of Volcanoes Top Trumps with Winning Moves. Collectively our website has been viewed > 40,000 times and we have now sold > 32,000 packs. The profits accrued are being used to fund small projects to assist those disrupted by volcanic activity in Ecuador and Caribbean.
    • Past Projects Include
    • 2018 Co-Lead Contributor: ‘Shaking Rocking and Rolling’Science Activity Norwich Science Festival 
    • 2018 Keynote Lecture Royal Institution Family Fun Day‘Volcanoes: Everything Changes in a Minute’
    • 2018 Chief Organiser of Cities on Volcanoes ‘VolcanOscars’ film sharing evening.
    • 2018 Project Lead on ‘Soufriere Blow’(St Vincent) as part of Volcano Awareness Week, a contribution from AHRC-funded ‘Explosive Transformations’ and STREVA. This exhibit has been re-used several times and now > 1000 people on St. Vincent have seen it.  
  • 2013 UEA 50th Birthday celebrations outreach lead scientist ‘Norfolk’s Firework volcano’
  • 2012 Contributor to BBC2’s Volcano Live
  • 2011 Participant in UEA Outreach initiative to pre-GCSE students in ‘hard to reach’ schools
  • 2010 UEA ‘Saturday morning science’
  • 2009-present Various outreach activities to primary school age children in volcanology and geology
  • 2006 Co-organiser and co-author of the ‘Beer Today, Champagne Tomorrow’ play for the BA Festival of Science, Norwich, Sept 2006. Explored the link between local geology, soil science and agriculture within the context of climate change [BBSRC ‘Public Understanding of Science’ Grant ]
  • 2001 UEA Christmas Lecture for children
  • Contributor to Articles in: New Scientist, Planet Earth, Scotsman. Radio program appearances: BBC Radio Essex, Norfolk, Radio 4 and Radio Montserrat.

Key Research Interests

Volcanologist interested in all aspects of disaster risk reduction in volcanic settings.

This currently  includes research on the following topics, primarily working in the Caribbean and South America:

(1) equitable access to and sharing of hazard knowledge;

(2) volcanic processes and their monitoring

(3) cultural and social responses to volcanic activity and their role in growing resilience

(4) citizen science and

(5) volcanoes and their multihazard environment.

I am currently working on an APEX Award to understand how we make sense of uncertain situations during volcanic eruptions. Some of the curated data from this and an AHRC Follow-on Award ccan be found on Mountain A Glow.

Recently I have had several UKRI GCRF Awards looking at disaster risk and sustainable development through the lenses of historical volcanic eruptions and hazards, citizen science and improving resilience to multiple natural hazards in urban environments.  I am currently working on the GCRF Hub Tomorrow's Cities and the outputs from these projects can be found in my publications.

I also am a strong exponent of outreach and community engagement wherever I work.
I was also recently the Principle Investigator for two projects in these areas: (i) the ESRC-NERC funded ‘Strengthening Resilience to Volcanic Hazards’ STREVA Project (2012-2019) and a  Leverhulme Funded Project focussed on understanding volcanism on Ascension Islands:

I have a variety of talented research students working on petrology applied to volcanic eruptions, volcanic monitoring and hazardous flows. I am always interested to hear from people who would like to study for a  PhD.


Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Research Group or Lab Membership

  Giuseppe Forino 
PGR Students
  James Christie 
  Bridie Davies 
  Jade Eyles 

Areas of Expertise

Volcanology; volcanic degassing behaviour; experimental petrology; Montserrat eruption.; volcanic risk reduction

Teaching Interests

  • I teach on:
  • ENV4005A Dynamic Planet
  • ENV 5018A Global Tectonics
  • ENV 5030B Earth Science Skills
  • ENV 3A57K Geosciences Fieldcourse to Greece

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or