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Mini sysmposium:
The management of uncertainty in risk science and policy
Posted by Jeroen on Saturday, May 17 2003 @ 17:03:05 CEST
News and announcements Mini symposium at the World Congress on Risk

‘The management of uncertainty in risk science and policy’.
24th June 2003
Sheraton Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

Chair : S. Funtowicz, EC-Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.

Speakers :
M. Craye, EC- Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.
A.Saltelli, EC- Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.
J. Grin, University of Amsterdam (UvA), Department of Political Science.
J.P. van der Sluijs, University of Utrecht (UU), Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation.
C. Natenzon, University of Buenos Aires, Geography Institute.
M. Firpo Porto, National School of Public Health, Rio de Janeiro.

Presentations are now available for download (click read more...)


The management of uncertainty calls for important changes to our knowledge infrastructure. These concern methodological developments as regards the practice of science and structural and institutional changes in the science-policy interface. An enhanced conceptualisation of uncertainty in risk science as well as an integrated methodological framework are needed.

Uncertainty management is to be seen as a necessary step to ensure the plurality of the knowledge input into policy processes dealing with risks. In this way the management of uncertainty is related to other aspects as the quality of the knowledge and the democratisation of expert processes.

Working towards standards of uncertainty management would also serve to increase transparency towards policy and stakeholder communities. It is therefore an instrument to increase trust in policy decisions and safety regulation based on uncertain knowledge and will decrease the potential for controversy on the knowledge base.

The different speakers share the conviction that this challenge will be best dealt with by an integration of technical-quantitative, participatory, institutional and deliberative approaches to the management of uncertainty.

The proposed mini-symposium will both review work that has been done in the field and, through discussion and debate, contribute to the development of perspectives for integration and further research topics.

Subjects of the presented papers, as well as for comments and interventions in the debate and discussion can cover :

  • analysis of uncertainty, categorisation of different sorts and sources and standardisation of these;
  • role of uncertainty and ignorance in the decision making context ;
  • the embediment of the management of uncertainty within extended peer groups ;
  • integration, refinement and extension of existing tools and methods ;
  • applications and exercises in a variety of decision-making contexts ;
  • institutional aspects of the management of uncertainty.
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