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Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode Two

Josh Macabuag

The second episode in Series 2 of Inventive Podcast is an exciting insight into a profession we only get a glimpse of in news reports, through the eyes of an engineer who wants to make a positive impact on the world.


Disaster Risk Engineer Josh Macabuag has been at the scene of major natural disasters around the world. He was part of the SARAID (Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters) relief team in Japan in 2011, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and most recently the earthquake in Haiti 2021. As a volunteer with SARAID, he has to find the least dangerous way of getting people out of collapsed buildings, making on-the-spot decisions relying on his intuition. His day job involves quantifying the risks and costs of catastrophes for The World Bank. Josh was the first person in his family to go to university, studying engineering at Oxford. He counts his dad, a car mechanic, as one of his major influences. A humanitarian and engineer, Josh tells his remarkable story to presenter Trevor Cox.

If you listened to our first series – if not, you can listen to previous episodes below – you’ll know that we mix science and the arts by asking writers to create works inspired by the engineers’ stories. Writer Nina Allen, a winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award, is included in The Guardian’s 2018 list of ‘Fresh voices: 50 writers you should read now’. We asked Nina to write a short story based on Josh’s interview with Trevor. On the process of writing her story, ‘Forces and Loads’, Nina says, ‘It was the most engaging and inspirational, most unusual participation that I’ve ever experienced’. Her sinister story uncovers more than people trapped in the rubble of an earthquake.

Josh Macabuag – https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/civil-engineer-profiles/joshua-macabuag

SARAID – https://www.saraid.org/

The World Bank – https://www.worldbank.org/en/home

Fresh Voices: 50 writers you should read now: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/31/fresh-voices-50-writers-you-should-read-now