Dr. Paola Hernandez Montes de Oca de Sakai

Dr. Paola Hernandez Montes de Oca de Sakai


Paola Sakai is an economist with over 7 years of experience specialising in climate resilience, adaptation, mitigation, disaster risk reduction in organisations and cities in developing and developed countries at the University of Leeds, where she also was awarded her doctorate.  She has investigated the economic impacts of flooding on UK SMEs and she currently has a project about disaster risk reduction strategies for this type of organisations. She has also experience in climate services as she has examined how the water sector is using climate change information to make adaptation decisions in the UK. She specialises also in cities, she is part of the Climate Smart Cities team where she modelled the CO2 emissions of the transport and waste sectors in Lima Peru; and was an advisor of the CSC in Calgary, Canada. She is also part of the Climate Resilient Cities initiative where she led a project about how three cities in three different countries can cooperate to enable climate-resilient development (Triangle-city). 

Paola has been recently awarded an ESRC UKRI Research and Innovation Fellowship where she will develop the economic case for investing in resilient urban infrastructure at a city scale, exploring the synergies between disaster risk reduction and improvements in productivity, economic growth, employment, environmental quality, and human well-being. This research will focus on the Leeds city area, seeking to draw lessons that can be applied more broadly to other cities in the UK and abroad. The research will directly inform and lead the Climate Resilience Working Group of the Leeds Climate Commission. She also will closely work with Arup, the Environment Agency, Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Water, West Yorkshire Combined Authorities and businesses of all sizes, aiming to ensure strong stakeholder engagement to maximise policy uptake, increase climate resilience and the economic productivity of UK industries, and produce a positive impact in the lives of the UK cities' inhabitants, and beyond.

She is a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Economics in the National Autonomous University of Mexico where since 2004 she teaches Financial Maths. 

Research interests

Paola's interests lie on the interface between climate change impacts and socio-economic systems, in this sense, relevant topics she has investigated are the economics of climate change adaptation and mitigation, resilience and the link with current vulnerability, climate compatible development, and disaster risk management, specifically in relation to flooding. Her focus is microeconomics, small businesses, and small and medium cities.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Leeds
  • BSc (Hons) Economics, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
  • BSc Business Administration, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)
  • Graduate Diploma in Stock Finance, Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM)
  • Graduate Diploma in Planning, Programming and Budgeting (UNAM)

Professional memberships

  • Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) – Associate Researcher
  • Water@Leeds – Associate Researcher
  • Priestley Centre – Associate Researcher
  • Laboratory of Climate Change and Statistics Modelling, Quintana Roo University, Mexico (LACCME) – Associate Researcher

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>