Keynote Speakers

Robyn Wilson
Robyn Wilson

Title: The role for risk science in promoting true resilience and societal transformation

Dr. Robyn Wilson

Professor of Risk Analysis and Decision Science

Abstract: As the global community continues to face multiple and cascading threats from the recent COVID crisis to the ongoing climate challenge, there exists an opportunity for risk scientists to better engage society and ensure that risk science is used to inform decision-making.  While there are many sciences that are critical to solving these global challenges, one could argue that the interdisciplinary space occupied by risk science – from assessment to communication, to management and governance is a critical one.  The choices that society faces, from the individual citizen up to the global leader, require confronting difficult tradeoffs across values, time, and space; as well as thoughtful consideration of systemic inequities, and improved engagement of communities at risk.  This talk will outline the unique role of risk science in addressing these challenges and building more resilient communities through transformative change.

Bio: Dr. Robyn S. Wilson is the Professor of Risk Analysis and Decision Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. She is the author on almost 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters.

Since beginning her academic career at Ohio State in 2007, her work has focused primarily on the interplay between intuitive and analytic information processing and the influence this has on risk perception and ultimately judgment or choice behavior. She is also interested in the development of risk communication and decision support tools to inform decision-making and risk management.

Her current research focus is on adaptation to climate-exacerbated hazards (e.g., wildfire, eutrophication), and what motivates and constrains different land use and land management decisions on private and public lands. Dr. Wilson is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and a member of the US EPA Board of Scientific Counselors Social and Community Science Subcommittee.

Dr. Wilson’s research over the past several years has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the USFWS Joint Fire Sciences Program, The USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, The Great Lakes Protection Fund, The Great Lakes Observing System, and The Fertilizer Institute (4R Research Fund).

Nick Pidgeon
Nick Pidgeon

Title: ‘Engaging Citizens with 21st Century Risks’

Professor Nick Pidgeon

Professor of Environmental Psychology, Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group

Abstract: 21st-century risks – climate change, emerging technologies such as AI or synthetic biology, and infectious diseases – present society with novel uncertainties and risks which can at times defeat our traditional expert-led forms of science-policy decision-making. Alongside this there have been calls for many years to include citizen voices in deliberating fundamental issues of science, environment and risk. Drawing upon 30 years of theory and research evidence, this presentation explores how risk research and risk researchers have approached engagement as a mode of citizen-shaped risk governance – with its varied philosophies, methods and pitfalls. I focus in particular upon the idea of a Citizen Assembly – increasingly seen as a useful vehicle for engaging people and communities in contemporary existential risk issues such as climate change.   

Bio: Nick is Professor of Environmental Psychology and Risk and Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group based within the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. With a BA in Mathematics and Psychology (Keele) and a PhD in Social Psychology (Bristol) he previously held academic posts at Birkbeck University of London, Bangor University, and the University of East Anglia.

His broad research portfolio concerns empirical studies of risk perception and its communication, upstream public engagement with the environment and new technologies, responsible innovation, and the origins of major technological accidents. This research is interdisciplinary and multi-method at the interface of social psychology, environmental sciences and human geography, and science and technology studies.

He is currently researching public responses to energy system change, emerging net-zero technologies including greenhouse gas removal, and psychosocial approaches to new forms of energy use in domains of everyday life. As well as the current Enhanced Rock Weathering Demonstrator project he is a founding Co-Investigator of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M), work which has led to key recent publications on public responses to carbon removal in leading journals such as Nature Climate Change, Risk Analysis and Climatic Change.

Current news: Professor Nick Pidgeon of the University’s School of Psychology has become a Fellow of the British Academy for his research into environmental psychology. Check out this article!