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Riskbridge (Building robust, integrative inter-disciplinary governance models for emerging and existing risks)

James Mittra   Joyce Tait

Funding: European Commission FP6 Project

June 1 2006 – February 12 2008

Background

RiskBridge is a Coordination-Action Project commissioned by the EC to develop integrative approaches to risk governance. The project aims to develop an integrative risk governance model connecting risk-assessment management and communication based on a resilient and discursive approach. The project takes:

  • An open project architecture rather than a specific model as a starting point
  • Policy learning as the central mode of operation, allowing for input across different science fields, geographical boundaries and science-policy interfaces
  • Cases related to complex risk fields where the agreement of risk governance approaches is limited.

The project is structured in three parts. In the preparatory phase the key project partners (in consultation with their nominated members) have exchanged insights on risk governance practice and developed a framework for risk governance learning; including classifications of risk governance situations and of social and cultural settings, criteria for 'good quality' processes in governance, and methods to promote learning within and across different risk fields.

In the empirical phase, the following six risk fields take centre stage:

  • Stem cells
  • Radioactive waste
  • Nanotechnology
  • Climate Change
  • Sediments
  • Electromagnetic fields

For each risk field, a learning trajectory has been organised during these first two phases, and 3 workshops form the focal points for the project. The first workshop focused on learning about best practices across disciplines and participants within each risk field. Workshop 2 will 'design' a best science-policy interface for each risk field. The final workshop will focus on comparison, analysis and learning across risk fields; resulting in an accepted governance model including transdisciplinary lessons and input from scientists and policymakers.

In the integration phase, the results from the workshops and risk field studies will be combined and integrated in a report (book) and a conference, with recommendations on how to handle complex and emerging risks in the form of a process scheme approach. In summary; the Coordinated Action Project RISKBRIDGE aims to make 'bridges' between different kinds of 'risk fields', scientific disciplines, policymaking and science.

Project partners

The project partners responsible for the six risk case fields are:

  • Biotechnology / stem cells (leader: Innogen, UK, prof. Tait)
  • Radioactive waste (leader: Institute Symlog, France, dr. Mays)
  • Nanotechnology (leader: JRC/IPSC/KAM, EU, ir. Craye and dr. Funtowicz)
  • Climate change (leader: Dialogic, Germany, prof. Renn)
  • Sediments (leader: TNO, Netherlands, dr. van der Vlies)
  • Electromagnetic Fields (leader: ISIG, Italy, prof. de Machi and prof. Pellizoni)

Publications

A conference to disseminate the research findings from the Riskbridge Project was held in Brussels in March 2009. The conference report is available to download.

Conference report

The final project report was published in July 2009 and is available to download.

Final project report

Further information

For further information contact James Mittra, james.mittra@ed.ac.uk