A crisis resulting from a natural disaster is not merely natural, but also depends upon how those disasters impact society because of weaknesses in infrastructure or societal response (e.g. despite a perfect weather forecast for Hurricane Katrina, over 1400 died). Such crises are often sudden-onset phenomena and difficult to predict, fostering dysfunctionality and paralysis in decision-making. What makes crises so intractable is that their solutions lie beyond the scope of conventional single-discipline problem-solving techniques. Through the interdisciplinary Centre for Crisis Studies and Mitigation, the University of Manchester is uniquely posed to address the root causes of crisis and future societal risks, in a manner that is democratic, just and inclusive.