Dr Natalie van der Wal

Dr Natalie van der Wal


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  • PhD Artificial Intelligence & Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • MSc Cogitive Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • BSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuropsychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • MSc Media & Culture, Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • BSc Media & Culture, Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Current Leadership Role

  • Principal Investigator EU Horizon 2020 Project Evacuation

Previous Leadership Role

  • Work Package Leader EU Horizon 2020 Project Impact


Natalie van der Wal is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School. Her mission is to improve safety by preventing risky crowd behaviours during emergency situations. She aims for evidence-based research and technology improving safety and security. She is specialised in the computational modelling of cognitive and affective processes in groups as well as evidence-based emergency communication research. Her current project EVACUATION is funded by the European Commission, through a Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Fellowship. This project follows her previous European H2020 project IMPACT, in which she determined the role of culture on emergency prevention and management. She works with professor Wndi Bruine de Bruin in the Centre for Decision Research and the Leeds University Business School. Previously she worked as an Assistant Professor at the dept. of Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit, NL, a Senior Research Fellow at the Socio-Technical Centre of the Leeds University Business School, UK, and as a Researcher at CAMS Forcevision, Royal Dutch Navy, NL.Natalie is specialized in agent-based modeling and social science. She currently is the principal investigator of EU H2020 project EVACUATION. Previously, she was a co-PI in EU H202 Project IMPACT.

  • EU H2020 Project EVACUATION (2018-2020)

Link: (https://cdr.leeds.ac.uk/project-evacuation)
In project EVACUATION communication strategies will be tested to save lives in emergency evacuation. The project aims to improve speed and survival in emergency evacuations, through the combined insights from agent-based modeling, risk communication/decision research and an advisory board of emergency responders.

  • EU H2020 Project IMPACT (2015-2017)

Link: (http://www.impact-csa.eu/)
The aim of project Impact is to investigate the essential role played by cultural factors in managing safety- and security-issues related to emergencies in public transport systems. It is aimed at analysing the different cultural behaviours for the prevention of emergencies, the management of emergency events and the post-events with particular emphasis on: crowd management; management of first responders to care for different cultural groups; information to passengers.   IMPACT will produce: (1) a cultural risk assessment methodology; (2) identify innovative solutions that improve the communication with passengers; (3) models and simulations of emergency situations; (4) develop best practices, dedicated training material and procedures for both public transport operators and first responders; (5) develop policy recommendations for policy makers, regulators, municipalities and public transport operators

agent-based modeling, evacuation simulation, group decision, group affect

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Decision Research
  • Socio-Technical Centre