School of Earth and Environment

Paola Hernandez  Montes de Oca de Sakai Dr Paola Hernandez Montes de Oca de Sakai

Research Fellow

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 37966
Email address:
Room: 9.123

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


Paola is an enthusiastic social scientist who is currently a research fellow at the University of Leeds, where she obtained her doctorate degree. She obtained a BSc in Business Administration in ITESM (Mexico) and second BSc in Economics in UNAM (Mexico). She also has a Diploma in Stock Finance (ITAM) and another one in Budget and Planning (UNAM). Paola’s work focuses on climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation issues. Her PhD investigated to what extent SMEs in a developing context are able to face climate change. She assessed the vulnerability and resilience of this type of organisations by combining quantitative and qualitative techniques in two communities in Mexico. She explored theoretically how these two concepts are interlinked and examined on the ground ways in which adaptation processes can be moved forward. Since completing her PhD in April 2013, Paola has been involved in the ICAD project, lead by Prof. Suraje Dessai, doing a case study of the adaptation of the UK water sector to climate change, on the ways in which they are using climate information and how the institutional setting influence adaptation in practice. On the mitigation side, she is part of the Climate Smart Cities team, lead by Prof. Andy Gouldson, where she has worked on the economics of climate change in Lima, Peru. She developed the waste and transport models, conducted interviews, and MCA workshops with Peruvian experts. She has also expertise in assessing the economic costs of flooding. She did this with the 2015 Winter floods in the Calderdale Borough where she parnered with the Calderdale Council and a local NPO, Upper Calder Valley Renaissance. The results were used by the Calderdale Flooding Commission and the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.

Paola has a wide experience in the private and public sector, having previously worked for the Mexican government and for private consulting companies.

Paola has been a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Economics in the National Autonomous University of Mexico since 2004. She continues being a lecturer on Financial Mathematics.

(Paola was on sick leave in 2014-2015 recovering from an emergency surgery to remove a meningioma from her spinal cord)


  • PhD - University of Leeds.
    • Thesis: Assessing the vulnerability and resilience of SMEs to climate change.
    • Supervisors: Prof. Andrew Gouldson, Dr. Emma Tompkins, and Dr. Louise Ellis.

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


Laboratory of Climate Change and Statistics Modelling, Quintana Roo University, Mexico (LACCME) –Associate researcher

Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) – PhD Associate

Research Interests

Paola's interests include: climate change adaptation and mitigation, socio-economic resilience and resilience to climate change and the link with current vulnerability, SMEs and communities, flooding and risk management strategies, the water sector, low-carbon future options for cities, and sustainable development.


In preparation

Sakai, P. The economic costs of flooding on SMEs in Calderdale. Target journal: Natural Hazards

Sakai, P., Holdsworth, A., Curry, S. 2016. Economic impact assessment of the Boxing Day Floods (2015) on SMEs in the Borough of Calderdale.

Gouldson, A., Colenbrander, S., Sudmant, A., McAnulla, F., Kerr, N., Sakai, P., Hall. S., Papargyropoulou, E., Kuylenstierna, J. 2015. Exploring the economic case for climate action in cities. Global Environmental Change, 35 (November), p. 93–105

Sakai, P., Porter, J., Dessai, S. The use of climate change information in the UK water sector: The role of the institutional setting. Target journal: Environmental Science & Policy

Sakai, P. and Dessai, S. Impact of climate change on water resources in England: Will the PR15 do the trick? Target journal: Regional Environmental Change

Gouldson, A., Colenbrander, S., McAnulla, F., Sudmant, A., Kerr, N., Sakai, P., Hall. S., and Kuylenstierna, J. C. I., 2014. Exploring the Economic Case for Low-Carbon Cities. New Climate Economy contributing paper. Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, and Stockholm Environment Institute, York, UK.

Sakai, P. and Dessai, S. Resilience and Adaptation to climate change in the UK water sector: framing, meaning and drivers. Targeted journal Ecology and Society.

Sakai, P., Suraje, Dessai. 2015. Can resilience framing enable adaptation to a changing climate? Insights from the UK water sector. SRI Working Paper No. 88; Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy Working Paper No. 228; Project ICAD No. 9; August 2015. P.32

Sakai, P. and Tompkins, E. The pivotal role of exposure in shaping the vulnerability and resilience of SMEs. Targeted journal: Global Environmental Change.

Sakai, P., Tompkins, E., Gouldson, A., How vulnerable and resilient are SMEs to climate change? Targeted journal: Journal Climatic Change.

Sakai, P.. and Gouldson, A. The role of exposure in constructing vulnerability indices based on IPCC definitions. Targeted journal: Environmental hazards.

Sakai, P., Ellis, L., Gouldson, A. Barriers to becoming a resilient SME. Targeted journal: International small business journal.

Sakai, P. Past disaster damages as drivers of coping and adaptive strategies in small and medium community businesses. Targeted journal: Journal of contingencies and crisis management.

Loubere, N., Morgan, R., Kruckenberg, L., De Beukelaer, C., Hernandez, P. (2012) RiDNet Practical Fieldwork Notes, Centre for Global Development, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, ISBN 978 0 85316 313 8.

Hernández Montes de Oca P., Castillo, L. y Mendoza, J. (2007) Cuaderno de Ejercicios de Estadística, Material didáctico, UNAM-SUAFE: México.

Hernández Montes de Oca, P. (2008) Matemáticas Financieras, Material didáctico, UNAM¬SUAFE: México ( mid=141)