Confirmed keynote speakers:

Peter Ayton
Centre for Decision Research at the University of Leeds | Biography
“Undesirable psychological influences on understanding, communicating & deciding about risks”

Peter Ayton will present a set of recent empirical studies that show evidence of deleterious psychological influences on human attempts to manage risk. The studies from diverse areas including aviation, urban transport, nicotine products, and safety critical systems investigate understanding, judgement and decision making. We find mishandling of risks by the lay public but also in “expert” safety assessors working in a range of application areas. These studies show that judgemental management of risk is a hazardous activity in itself and Ayton will discuss opportunities for mitigations.

Tim Bedford 
Dept of Management Science, University of Strathclyde | Biography
Structured Expert Judgement for Uncertainty – Context and Methodology

Expert Judgement plays a key role in uncertainty assessment and many different formal approaches have been developed, starting with the famous Delphi approach. We use the term “Structured Expert Judgement” to denote a formalised approach to gathering information from experts. While there is a large literature around Structured Expert Judgement (SEJ) approaches, there is a surprising lack of discussion around how one selects an appropriate SEJ approach for a particular context. We discuss the problem of selecting an SEJ approach from the point of view of a potential decision maker, seeking a straightforward way of characterising the types of problem faced by a potential decision maker in such a way that a reasonable selection of SEJ approach may be made. From the perspective of SEJ research, this enables a new kind of discussion around the relative merits of different existing approaches in supporting assessments for those problem types, and also potentially motivates the development of new approaches that are designed to fill identified gaps.

Gudela Grote
Dept of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zürich | Biography

“Safety and Autonomy – a Contradiction in Risk Management forever?”

Much of the research on designing safe organizations centers around the question on how to best manage concurrent demands for stability and control and for flexibility and adaptation in the face of external and internal uncertainties. This brings up needs for both centralized and decentralized decision-making which leads to an apparent contradiction between safety and autonomy. Especially research on high-reliability organizations (HROs) has aimed to identify mechanisms for loose coupling between centralization and decentralization to resolve this contradiction. However, it lives on in many debates in safety research, which is illustrated for safety rules, safety leadership, and safety culture. It is argued that the relation between safety and autonomy can be better understood and eventually better managed if process safety and personal safety are distinguished and the moderating effect of uncertainty is explicitly considered. Moreover, a distinction between operational and higher-order autonomy is proposed. A number of propositions using these distinctions are developed, which are hoped to be instrumental for future research on ways to fruitfully reconcile safety and autonomy in risk management.

Sven Ove Hansson 
Dept of Philosophy and History, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
The Science and Ethics of Risk” | Biography

Risk management has to be based on science. However, science alone cannot tell us what risks we should accept or what we should with the risks we do not accept. Such decisions involve values, and therefore we have to combine the scientific assessment of risks with ethical risk analysis. This is a difficult task, not least since scientific facts and ethical values are often extremely difficult to disentangle. In risk analysis, we need to strike a balance. On the one hand, we have to respect that differences in ethical values can lead to different standpoints, and consequently such differences need not be signs of irrationality on anyone’s part. On the other hand, unsupportable factual claims, like those promoted by anti-vaccination campaigners and climate science deniers, should not be allowed to have any influence on risk analysis. This talk will present some tools that can be used to disentangle facts and values, to perform ethical risk analysis and to combine its outcome with those of risk science.

JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, IIASA
Insurance as an Equitable Response to Loss and Damage from Climate Change?” | Biography

Insurance has played a central role in discussions on adapting to the risks of climate change, and most recently to addressing the cumulating loss and damage from climate extremes in the world’s most vulnerable countries. This presentation asks, however, whether insurance mechanisms, especially micro-insurance and regional insurance pools, can serve as risk-reducing and equitable compensatory responses to climate-attributed loss and damage, and thus serve the intent of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM)? A main message is that if no significant interventions are undertaken in their design and implementation, market-based insurance mechanisms will likely fall short of fully meeting WIM aspirations. Interventions can include subsidies and other types of support that make insurance affordable to poor clients; interventions can also enable public-private arrangements that genuinely catalyze risk reduction and adaptation.  Many such interventions are already in place, and the presentation highlights potential success stories of insurance instruments serving the most vulnerable. While support to insurance programs continues to be framed as humanitarian aid based on the principle of solidarity, an important and timely question is whether the narrative will evolve from solidarity to developed country responsibility and liability?