Keynote speakers

The following speakers have so far agreed to give a key note: 

  • Prof. Marjolein van Asselt, Dutch Safety Board 
    Title: Risk Governance 
  • Prof. Claude Fischler, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris
    Title: Cognitive challenges and the future of risk communication
  • Ms. Sharon Gesthuizen MP, Dutch House of representatives
    Title: Risk Policy and Transparency
  • Ms. Julie Girling MEP, Chair of the Risk Group at the European Parliament
    Title: Science-based policy-making in the European Parliament
  • Dr. Mikael Karlsson, President European Environmental Bureau
    Title: Mind the gap - from science to science-based policy 
  • Prof. Erik Lebret, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
    Title: Risk assessment at crossroads; The changing landscape 
  • Prof Ellen Peters Ohio State University
    Title: Linking science and policy: The future of risk perception 
  • Mr. Geoffrey Podger, Executive Director, @Risk Ltd
    Title: Where should science end, where should politics begin in regulatory decision making
  • Prof. Sybe Schaap, Senator, Dutch Senate
    Title: Risk-related policymaking in the Dutch Parliament

Prof. Wiebe Bijker (Maastricht, MUSTS) and Prof. Ragnar Löfstedt (King’s College London, KCRM) will chair the plenaries.



Marjolein B.A. van Asselt Marjolein B.A. van Asselt is holding the Risk Governance chair at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her research interest and expertise is in the interplay between science, society and politics. She has specialised in the related topics dealing with uncertainty, risk governance, the regulation of innovation and foresight.  From July 2014 she is a member of the Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad). From January 2008 till July 2014 she was also a member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid - WRR). 

Van Asselt studied Computer Science and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Twente (The Netherlands). From 2005-2010, Marjolein B.A. van Asselt was member of the Young Academy (De Jonge Akademie - DJA) of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW) and she was a member of the first board. Van Asselt has worked as an interdisciplinary researcher at the Dutch Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) (1993-1996), the Swiss Federal Institute EAWAG (1996- 1997) and she co-founded the International Centre for Integrative Studies (ICIS), Maastricht Univeristy (1997-2002). Marjolein enjoyed visiting scholarships at Oxford University (2005) and the King's Centre for Risk Management in London (2007).  

The title of her presentation is: ‘’Risk Governance’’  


Claude Fischler

Claude Fischler is a French sociologist and anthropologist. He is a directeur de recherche of the French National Centre for Scientific Research and heads the Institut Interdisciplinaire d'Anthropologie du Contemporain (Interdisciplinary Institute for Contemporary Anthropology), a research unit of the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, in Paris. 

Claude Fischler's main area of research has been a comparative, interdisciplinary social science perspective on food and nutrition. His work covers the structure and function of cuisines, tastes and preferences and their evolution and change over time and space, as well as body image. His main current research is on commensality - eating together - its forms and functions, and its possible impact on public health. The anthropology of commensality ties into the general issue of sharing food, at the local and global levels.

The title of his presentation is: ‘’Cognitive challenges and the future of risk communication’’


Sharon Gesthuizen 

Sharon Maria Jacoba Gerarda Gesthuizen (born  January 23, 1976 in Nijmegen) is a Dutch politician. As a member of the Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij) she has been an MP since 30 November 2006. She is spokesperson on economic affairs, asylum and immigration policies and justice.

Gesthuizen grew up in Millingen aan de Rijn and studied art at the Artez Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. From 2002 to 2003 she was a member of the Dutch National Students Union (LSVb). 

The Title of her presentation is:  ‘’Risk Policy and Transparency’’


Julie Girling 

Julie was born in London, educated at Twickenham County Grammar School followed by Liverpool University where she graduated in 1979 with a degree in History and Politics. She joined Ford Motor Company as a graduate trainee working on the shop floor in a supervisory role. She later moved into retail management with Argos, Dixons/Currys and Boots before heading up Buying and Marketing at Halfords. She then spent several years living and working in Indonesia with her husband.

In 1999 Julie was elected as a Councillor on Cotswold District Council and became Leader of the Council in 2003. In 2000 Julie was elected to Gloucestershire County Council and became the Lead Cabinet Member for the Environment in 2005. Julie was elected as MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar in June 2009 and successfully re-elected for a second term in May 2014.  

Currently, Julie is member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee; rapporteur on Air Quality;  member of the Agriculture Committee; member of the FEMM Committee, member of the ASEAN Delegation for relations with South East Asia.

The title of her presentation: ‘’Science-based policy-making in the European Parliament’’


Mikael Karlsson

Dr. Karlsson has been President of the European Environmental Bureau, the largest environmental organisation in Europe, since 2005. He has been a member of e.g. the European Resource Efficiency Platform and two Commission High Level Groups on competitiveness and environment. In Sweden, he is an expert in the Government’s Committee on Environmental and Climate Objectives and member of the board of the Swedish Chemicals Agency, and of the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste. 

Previously, Dr. Karlsson was President of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation from 2002-2014. He has been expert in several governmental committees in Sweden, and a is a frequent participant at WTO, UNEP, OECD and EU meetings. 

Dr. Karlsson is an agronomist and holds a PhD in Environmental and Energy Systems. His research focuses on environmental policy and risk governance, including climate and energy issues, chemicals law, biotechnology, marine governance and sustainable business management. He is a senior researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

The title of his presentation is: "Mind the gap - from science to science-based policy"


Erik Lebret

Erik Lebret is Chief Science Officer Integrated Risk Assessment at  the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and professor Environmental Health Impact Assessment at the Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at Utrecht University. 

His main research interest is in the development, synthesis and interpretation of environmental health knowledge to inform societal and policy debates. This involves primary research in environmental epidemiology, methods to integrate information in disease burden indicators, monetisation of disease burden, risk governance practices, as well as research into the role of experts in advising policy makers and stakeholders about uncertain risk problems.

The title of his presentation is: "Risk assessment at crossroads; The changing landscape of risk assessment and governance"


Ellen Peters

Dr. Peters is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Behavioral Decision Making Initiative at The Ohio State University. She conducts basic and applied research in judgment and decision making. She has worked extensively with the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Food and Drug Administration to advance the science of human decision making as it applies to health and health policy. She is current President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and is former Chair of FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee. She is also a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Her research has been funded extensively by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

In her research, Dr. Peters focuses on understanding the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision making. She is particularly interested in how affective, intuitive, and deliberative processes help people to make decisions in an increasingly complex world. She studies decision making as an interaction of characteristics of the decision situation and characteristics of the individual.
She has three major strands of basic research. First, she studies how numbers are processed in judgment and decision making. In recent publications, Dr. Peters and colleagues have focused on the roles of numeracy and intuitive number sense with respect to how individuals process and use numeric and non-numeric sources of information. A second central strand of research concerns how affect and emotion influence information processing and decisions. Affect appears to have multiple functions in judgment and decision processes (as information, as a common currency, as a spotlight on information, and as a direct motivator of behaviors). Third, she is interested in how information processing and decision making change in complex ways across the adult life span.
In applied research, she is also generally interested in issues of risk perception and risk communication in health, financial, and environmental contexts, including how to present information to facilitate its comprehension and use. Recently, she has been quite interested in the psychological mechanisms underlying tobacco use and prevention and how to “nudge” people towards healthier behaviors.

The title of her presentation is: Linking science and policy: The future of risk perception


Geoffrey Podger

Geoffrey Podger is currently Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Risk Management, King's College, London. He is also the Executive Director of " @Risk Limited", a commercial company which offers ethical advice on risk management and risk communication to regulators and businesses. He holds a number of honorary positions in British organisations active in the areas of occupational health and safety. 

Geoffrey Podger has successively managed four regulatory agencies in the UK, the European Union and New Zealand. He was the founder Chief Executive of the UK Food Standards Agency and then of the European Food Safety Authority, thus playing a major role in the reestablishment of public confidence in the food supply after the BSE crisis. 

From 2007-2013 he was Chief Executive of the British Health and Safety Executive responsible for occupational health and safety in the workplace. He returned in April 2014 from New Zealand where he was the Acting Chief Executive for the establishment of their new agency, WorkSafe New Zealand.

The title of his presentation is: "Where should science end, where should politics begin in regulatory decision making” 


Sybe Schaap

Prof. Sybe Schaap (Lemmer, May 20, 1946) is a Dutch politician and political philosopher. He is a member of the Senate on behalf of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Schaap was also chairman of the Groot Salland Water Board.

Schaap studied at the Hogere Landbouwschool (Higer Agricultural School) in Leeuwarden (now Van Hall Institute), where he earned his engineering degree in 1967. After studying Schaap went to work in the family business as a farmer in the Noordoostpolder from 1968 to 1970. During this time he received his certificate in teaching in Economics. In 1969 Schaap went to study social sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam, where he earned his Master's degree in 1973. Since 1979 Schaap was a lecturer in philosophy at the same university. Schaap was promoted in 1996 to Doctor of Philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam. Then he got a guest lecturer in philosophy offered at Charles University in Prague, a position he currently holds inactive. Schaap is also extraordinary professor of water policy and governance at the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University.

Shaap was an employee of the D66 party in parliament (1981 to 1986) and member of the municipal council of Brederwiede (1980 to 1984). In 1986 Schaap left D66. Since 1988 Sheep is an active member of the VVD, and since June 12, 2007 he is a member of the Senate on behalf of that party.

The title of his presentation is "Risk-related policymaking in the Dutch Parliament"

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