Dr Richard Robertson, Director of the UWI’s Seismic Research Centre in St Augustine, Trinidad, is a Geologist and Volcanologist whose work has been ground-breaking in the study of volcanoes and the geology of the region. He is a world expert on the subject whose books and articles are used as benchmarks, and he is active in public education on the issue. Dr Robertson has published academic books, and numerous refereed articles and book chapters in his areas of expertise.
Born in St Vincent, Dr Robertson’s interest in volcanology was inspired by his personal experience in 1979, when he and his family woke to the eruption of the Soufriere volcano, which displaced thousands of Vincentians. He subsequently studied Geology at UWI, Volcanology at the University of Leeds in the UK (M Phil) and completed his PhD in Geology at Mona, Jamaica. His PhD thesis (The Volcanic Geology of pre-Soufriere Rocks in St Vincent) and his Volcanic Hazards Atlas are benchmarks in the study of volcanology in the Eastern Caribbean.
An experienced field researcher as well as an academic, Dr Robertson has served as head of the Soufriere Monitoring Unit in St Vincent in 1987-1993, and in 1996 was Chief Scientist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. His research interests include volcanic hazards, the evolution of volcanism in St Vincent, and multi-parameter monitoring of volcanic hazards. He is much sought after as a consultant on his area of expertise to, inter alia, UNESCO, the Organisation of American States, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and United Nations Development Fund.
In addition to his professional consultancy work, Dr Robertson is also active in public education and public service. He has organized several conferences, short training courses and given numerous lectures throughout the region, and in the US, UK, and China. He provides assistance to the National Emergency Organisation of St Vincent, and serves as an advisor to such organizations in Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Montserrat, and other islands. He also maintains membership in several professional societies, including the European and American Geophysical unions, and the Geological Societies of Trinidad & Tobago, London and America.
Dr Robertson has been much recognized and awarded for his work. He has received scholarships from the UNDP and Association of Commonwealth Universities for higher education. He has also received grants from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship. In collaboration with colleagues at the Seismic Research Centre he has secured project grants from the Caribbean Development Bank, USAID, European Union, CCRIF and the Government of Trinidad & Tobago.