Draft of Core Subjects of Risk Analysis

A draft list of core subjects for the risk analysis field has been developed; comments on the document are due by 28 February 2017.

Core Subjects of Risk Analysis

An SRA document of core subjects of risk analysis has been developed and may be downloaded at www.sra.org/frasg. The document is a result of an initiative taken by the SRA Specialty Group on Foundational Issues in Risk Analysis (FRASG) and the SRA Committee for Specialty Groups. It has been developed by the following group of experienced and active researchers:  

  • Terje Aven (leader)
  • Henning Boje Andersen
  • Tony Cox
  • Enrique López Droguett
  • Michael Greenberg
  • Seth Guikema
  • Wolfgang Kröger
  • Katherine McComas
  • Ortwin Renn
  • Kimberly M. Thompson
  • Enrico Zio

The term Risk Analysis is here used in line with the established tradition of SRA to include: 
risk assessment, risk characterization, risk perception, risk communication, risk management, risk governance,  and policy relating to risk, in the context of risks of concern to individuals, to public- and private-sector organizations, and to society at a local, regional, national, or global level.  Risk analysis addresses both negative (undesirable) and positive  (desirable) consequences, but the main focus of the present work is on the negative part.   

The document covers five main topics:

  1. Fundamentals 
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Risk perception and communication
  4. Risk management and governance 
  5. Solving real risk problems and issues. 

Scope, rationale and process

All field (sciences) have some subjects that constitute the core,  that all students should cover in basic courses in the field.  There will always be a discussion about what this core should be, yet such a core of subjects is required to obtain the necessary unity and platform for the field to develop and be recognised. Risk analysis is no exception and a need has been identified for further work to this end.   As risk analysis as a field both serves applications in different areas and has generic activities on risk analysis concepts, approaches and methods, it is not straightforward to define such a core for risk analysis. 
The target audience for the document is all individuals who have an interest in risk analysis, SRA members or not, ranging from risk analysis professionals and practitioners, to researchers, to students, to decision makers, to bureaucrats, to regulators, to journalists and to curious lay people who would like to get an overview of what are key topics of the field of risk analysis.     

The document has been presented to the SRA Council and it will now be sent out to SRA members, the Specialty Groups and others for comments. The authors will prepare an updated version, which will be presented for the SRA council for approval.  It will then be published on the SRA website.

For comments and suggestions to the draft document, to further improve the text  and add suitable subjects, please send them to terje.aven@uis.no. Deadline 28 February 2017.

Terje Aven
Society for Risk Analysis
December 20, 2016