Network: Risk Perception and Assessment in Design

  • Busby, Jeremy (Principal Investigator)
  • McMahon, Chris A (Co-Investigator)
  • Bennett, S (Co-Investigator)

Project Details


The purpose of the network is to tackle the problem of integrating the science of risk perception with the technology of engineering risk assessment. There has been a considerable body of work by psychologists on the psychometric dimensions of risk, by sociologists on phenomena such as risk amplification, and by anthropologists on how culture influences risk perception. This has not been brought into engineering risk assessment despite some compelling reasons to do so. Most technical risk analyses, for example, require a prediction about human behaviour of some kind, and therefore hinge on theories about how those humans perceive the risks associated with a system. And it seems inadequate to use probabilistic risk analysis to assess risks to people who consider attributes other than probability and impact when judging the acceptability of risks. The proposed network consists of risk experts (the academic core), risk creators (mainly engineering firms) and risk bearers or their representatives (such as regulators). Of the risk experts, about 60% are engineers and 40% social scientists. The network will support three seminars per annum, and the development of a resources website. Two thirds of the seminars will address predetermined subjects - described in the case for support, and the third will address a topic determined by the network membership. The resources website will contain a portal linked to calls for proposals and papers, bibliographies and any other material relevant to the development of work in the field. The network is based on a prior study of the area funded jointly by EPSRC and ESRC.
Effective start/end date29/11/0328/11/06


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