Professor Denis Fischbacher-Smith
- Research Chair in Risk and Resilience (Management)
- Visiting Professor of Risk Management (Crichton Institute)
Before moving to Glasgow he was Professor of Management at the University of Liverpool where he was also the founding director of the University of Liverpool Management School, which he was appointed to establish in January 2002. Whilst at Liverpool, he also headed the Science Enterprise Centre (ULSEC). Prior to Liverpool he was previously Professor of Management at the Universities of Sheffield, Durham and John Moores (where he was also Director of the Management School). He has also been a visiting professor at the Universities of Kobe (Japan), San Diego State (USA) and Innsbruck (Austria). He has been a visiting fellow at the Wolfson Institute at the University of Durham and a visiting professor at Brunel University. He has also held faculty positions at the University of Manchester and both Leicester and Nottingham Polytechnics. He is currently a Visiting Professor in Risk Management at the Crighton Institute (Dumfries) and at Edge Hill University.
A graduate of the Universities of Manchester, Glasgow, St Andrews, the Open University and the CNAA, Professor Fischbacher-Smith holds Batchelor’s degrees in Geography/Environmental Science (BEd) and Science (BSc), Masters degrees in Pollution Control (MSc), Applied Psychology (MSc), Management (MBA), Terrorism Studies (MLitt), War Studies (MLitt), and Public Health (MPH). He holds a DLitt in Crisis Management (Glasgow) and a PhD in Science and Technology Policy (Manchester). His doctoral thesis was concerned with the role of risk analytical data in policy making around major hazard installations. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Security Institute (FSyI), the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (FCIEHF) and the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). He is also a Chartered Geographer (CGeog), a Chartered Security Professional (CsyP), a Chartered Ergonomist & Human Factors Specialist (C.ErgHF), a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD), and a Chartered Manager (CMgr). In addition, he is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI), a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA)
Professor Fischbacher-Smith’s work has been concerned with issues of risk management, business continuity and resilience and this has been carried out over a 25 year period. His early work was concerned with the evacuation of urban areas due to extreme events – an interest he maintains to this day. He has also undertaken research on the training and performance of crisis management teams, the production of emergency/contingency plans (and their limitations), and the processes by which vulnerability can be generated within organisations and urban ‘space’. He has published widely in the area of crisis management and has been a regular consultant to a number of ‘Blue chip’ companies as well as local authorities, the emergency services, and Government. He has been an adviser to the Government of Lesotho (in Southern Africa) on crisis preparedness, the UK’s Department of Health around issues of adverse events in health care, he was a tutor on the senior command course for the UK’s Prison Service, has been a regular speaker at the Emergency Planning College, and he has also worked with a number of regulatory bodies in the UK and Europe.
Outside of his academic activities, Professor Fischbacher-Smith has been a director of HARM Consulting and CSC Ltd, as well as a non-executive director of JMU Services, Mersey Regional Ambulance Service, St Helens RLFC and Aintree University Hospital NHS Trust. In terms of policy development, he was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee that produced “An Organisation with a Memory” for the Department of Health (England and Wales).
Denis is a member of the Strategy and Decision Making research cluster.
Areas of expertise:
- Risk and Resilience
- Crisis Management
- Patient Safety
- Decision Making & Strategic Management
- Corporate Security
Fischbacher-Smith, D. and Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2013) RCUK Global Uncertainties Impact Support Fund 2012/13. Award Value £ 4,944
Fischbacher-Smith, D. (2012) ‘Dealing with complexity in strategy’, First Step Award, Scottish Enterprise. Award Value £5,000
Fischbacher-Smith, D. (2010) ‘Self-healing, complexity and the protection of critical national infrastructure’, EPSRC Pathways to Impact Award. Award value £11,650
Fischbacher-Smith, D. (2010) ‘Safety management processes’, First Step Award, Scottish Enterprise. Award Value £5,000
Fischbacher-Smith, D. (2010) ‘Managing maternity within human resource strategies’, First Step Award, Scottish Enterprise. Award Value £5,000
Smith, D. (2008) ‘Managing high performing teams’, First Step Award, Scottish Enterprise. Award Value £5,000
Smith, D. and Fischbacher, M. (2008-2012) “Under dark skies: Port cities, extreme events, multi-scale processes and the vulnerability of controls around counter terrorism”, EPRSC EP/G004889/1. Award Value: £365,156
Dodd, T., Wilson, L., Sun, T., Eftekhari, M., and Smith, D. (2008-2012) “Cargo screening – Ferret”, EPSRC under the Cargo Screening Initiative. EPSRC EP/G004307/1 Award Value: £703,441
Smith. D. and Fischbacher, M. (2007). Grant to support a visit to Japan, to set up a joint research centre in the area of risk and crisis management. Funding awarded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Award Value: £2,500.
Smith, D., Crawford, J., Pidd, M., Bell, S., and Winfield, A. (2007-2011) “Biological metaphors and crisis: building self-healing, emergence and resilience into critical infrastructures”. Funding Source: EPSRC EP/E062865/1. (Sept 2007-August 2010). Award Value: £342,988
Smith, D. (2006) Research into diversity practices within organisations in the North West of England. Funded by ACAS/NWDA. Award Value: £15,000
Smith, A., Smith, D., and Kane, M. (2006-2007) “An exploration of bedside checking processes for in-patients in the acute care setting” National Patient Safety Agency. Award Value £63,088
Brookfield, D. and Smith, D. (2006-2009) ‘Organisational performance within a fitness landscape’. Awarding body DTi/ESRC (KTP Project) Award Value: £110,804.
PhD supervision areas
Professor Denis Fischbacher-Smith is interested in supervising PhD researchers in the areas of risk and crisis management; adverse events in health care; complexity and organisational performance (especially around health care organizations, public management and the emergency services); human error and systems failure; organizational learning (especially around adverse events); major accident analysis; and the role of embedded error cost in strategic change.
Current PhD students
Professor Fischbacher-Smith currently supervises several students in the area of risk and crisis management and critical national infrastructure where the focus is on inter-agency working, leadership and management capabilities, and systems that improve information management as it relates to these areas of work. Other research students include:
Co-supervisor: Dr Moira Fischbacher-Smith
Thesis title: Using the metaphor of a fitness landscape from systems biology as a Risk Management framework.
Co-supervisor: Dr Robert McMaster
Thesis title: Insurgency in India's North East. A first time extensive study on the factors that influenced one of the most powerful insurgent groups in the country - The NSCN.
Co-supervisor: Dr Alex Marshall (History)
Co-supervisor: Professor John Finch
Co-supervisor: Dr Moira Fischbacher-Smith
Courses taught: Decision making under uncertainty (MBA); Previously taught: Critical Enquiry (MBA); Crisis Management (MBA); Spaces of Destruction (MA)
Courses taught: Adverse Events in Health Care (Undergraduate Medical Degree).
Much of his work has been carried out within the public sector and he has undertaken research with the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, the Prison Service, and Local Government. His research has been funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, National Patient Safety Agency, and the DTi as well as a number of corporate and public sector organisations.
Recent professional involvement
- Editor in Chief of Risk Management: Editorial board member of: Emergency Management Review (2011-); Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance (2014-); Security Journal (2009-); Simulation and Gaming (2009-); Public Money and Management (2005-)
- A member of the editorial advisory boards of Disaster Prevention and Management, the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, the Security Journal, and Public Money and Management.