Keynote speakers

The following speakers have agreed to give a key note. The summaries of their presentations can be found below. 

Theme: Health, risk & literacy


Theme: New methods/new tools/new data for risk research



Theme: Risk & resilience



Summary Keynote Professor Gerd Gigerenzer - Risk Literacy and Health

Efficient and affordable health care requires both informed patients and doctors. Yet studies show that most doctors do not understand health statistics. Health organizations and industries exploit this innumeracy to make small benefits of treatments or screenings appear big and their harms appear small. I will talk about techniques for helping doctors and patients make sense of medical evidence. Promoting risk literacy in health could save more lives than expensive screening programs and Big Data.


Summary Keynote Professor Maria Eduarda Gonçalves - The risk-based approach under the new EU personal data protection regime: A critical perspective

The European Union approved the first broad reform of its personal data protection legislation in May 2016, to enter into force in 2018. Remarkably, with this reform a risk-based approach is being introduced as the main legal enforcement model, while data protection authorities see their regulatory role significantly weakened. The risk-based approach is to be implemented by the data controllers (i.e. the operators) via data protection impact assessments (evoking the established environmental impact assessment procedure) and notification of breaches. Hence the scope of both the concept of risk and risk regulation spread beyond conventional domains, namely the environment, public health or safety, i.e. physical risks, to encompass intangible values, presumably harder to assess. 

Strikingly, the reform has been accompanied by a confident discourse by EU institutions, and their avowed belief in the reform’s ability to safeguard the fundamental right to data protection in the face of evolving data processing techniques specifically, big data, the Internet of Things, and related algorithmic decision-making. However, one may wonder whether there isn’t cause for concern in view of the way risk-based approach has been designed in the data protection legislation. In this presentation, the data protection reform’s underlying rationality is analysed. Comparison with the risk regulatory experience in environmental law in particular is drawn upon to assist us in pondering the limitations as well as the opportunities of the novel risk-based approach.


Summary Keynote Dr. Margôt Kuttschreute - Social media and serious gaming in a risky world: opportunities and challenges

Global societal development is not only characterised by new challenges and new threats, but also by new technologies and new instruments that might be helpful in addressing them. The mitigation of new risks is advanced by informing and advising the general public on these risks and on effective strategies to adequately cope with them. Social media and serious games have recently grown into important information channels, which makes them very relevant to risk analysis.

With the introduction of the Web 2.0 a decade ago, the risk communication landscape changed dramatically. Social networking sites emerged and organisations became able to attach platforms to their websites inviting user comments and contributions. This enabled risk communicators to better reach out to specific target groups, interact with platform users and to facilitate interactions between their users. The last decade also witnessed a significant rise in serious gaming. The introduction of 3D-environments significantly improved video games for entertainment purpose. This also boosted the popularity of serious gaming.

This talk will discuss the significance of social media and serious gaming to risk analysis. Focus will be on the potential of social media and serious gaming to help risk communicators understand how people respond to risk and risk information. What information can we find out? Does the information on social media affect individual attitudes? Does this information spread, and if so, what do we know about this process? A second focus relates to the use of social media and serious gaming in informing and advising the general public. Does it make sense, and is it effective, to use social media as a channel to provide risk information? What do the features of social media mean for current risk communication models? What do we know on the effectiveness of risk-related serious games in enhancing informed decision making?

The answers to these and similar questions will demonstrate the potentials of social media and serious gaming in facilitating informed risk decision making and their contribution to resilience and adaptation in a risky world. 


Summary Keynote Dr. Igor Linkov - From Risk to Resilience: Shifting Paradigm

Risk-based approaches have been used to assess threats and mitigate consequences associated with their impact. Risk assessment requires quantifying the risk of failure for each component of a system and associated uncertainties, with the goal of identifying each component’s contribution to the overall risk and ascertaining if one component poses substantially more risk than the others. These components become the basis of quantitative benchmarks for the system, and becomes the de facto standard for system improvements designed to buy down risk. Rapid technological evolution, combined with the unprecedented nature and extent of emerging threats defy us to enumerate all potential hazards, much less estimate reliable probabilities of occurrence and the magnitude of consequences. 

A comprehensive approach to protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure, economy, and well-being must be risk based—not risk exclusive—and must provide a way for decision makers to make their organizational systems resilient to a range of threats within specific cost and time restraints. In contrast to the definition of risk, resilience is focused on the ability to prepare and recover quickly from threats which may be known or unknown. Resilience is a property of the system itself and can be measured without identification and assessment of threats which act on or within a system. Managing for resilience requires ensuring a system’s ability to plan and prepare for a threat, and then absorb, recover, and adapt. Coupled with a systems view that decomposes components across physical, information, cognitive, and social environments in which the system exists, is the basis of an approach to quantifying resilience with decision analytical tools and network science approaches.

This presentation will review the history of risk assessment and management, discuss the emergence of resilience management, and the role of both constructs in managing emerging risks. Case studies in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, cybersecurity, organizational behavior, and disease epidemics management will be discussed. Specifically, summaries of the two recent workshops on Risk and Resilience (Aspen, 2015 and Azores 2016) will be presented and the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) Guidebook on Resilience released in Davos in August 2016 will be introduced.


Summary Keynote Dr. José Manuel Palma-Oliveir - Conflict, Risk, and Resilience: A two-step process to overcome NIMBY and coordination failures

Concepts are often prone to ambiguities driven by metaphorical usage that undermine science endeavors. Resilience, sustainability, risk, and risk communication are prime examples of this, where practitioners within these fields frequently contend with inaccurate or imprecise disciplinary definitions that ultimately lead to logic faults or unclear guidance for customers and stakeholders.

To address such concerns, this talk delves into the core meaning behind the disciplinary use of ‘resilience’ to advocate for a more operationalized usage of the term in our daily lexicon. Specifically, this talk will discuss resilience components such as (i) its normatively neutral (rather than inherently positive) framing, (ii) its inherent focus upon systemic and multi-temporal risk events, and the occasionally paradoxical relationship between resilience and sustainability in applied resilience scholarship and research. In this vein, this talk will raise a brief overview of the human – environment interaction in order to highlight the systematic entropic action that can simultaneously generate system resilience in some cases while increase system brittleness to the effects of others. 

After reviewing a general background of the disciplinary and definitional concerns in the fields of risk and resilience, this talk will review real-world field experiments which serve as some of the key risk-based challenges of our day. Applications from such ideas will be referenced from ongoing difficulties associated with ‘not-in-my-backyard’ (NIMBY) social dilemmas (described here as an example of the Tragedy of the Anticommons), where local publics can use their individual and collective power to resist project development within their local communities. Using these applied definitions of risk, resilience, and risk communication, this talk will ultimately highlight recent work which sought to address NIMBY coordination failures via a two-step approach that (i) generates trust and cooperation between such publics and project planners, and (ii) uses this trust and coordination to generate shared knowledge of risk within uncertain and potentially adversarial environments which inform future development action.

These field experiments indicate that a rigorous attempt to address public mistrust and perceptions of power imbalances and change the pay-off structure of the given dilemma may help overcome such anticommons problems in specific cases, and may potentially generate enthusiasm and support for such projects by local publics moving forward.