Risk Management, Communication and Policy (RIS630)
The course addresses the challenges and opportunities of developing effective risk analysis in the 24/7 media environment. It covers the critical aspects of risk perception and communication. The course also covers crucial implications for policy making and delivery. The course is based on assimilating the basic principles of risk perception and communication and applying those principles to real-life situations including policy formulation.
Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.
The course explores, at an advanced level, the sub-field of risk analysis covering risk management, perception, risk communication, and policy. The focus is on risk perception drivers, including low perceived risk v. high perceived risk; the determinants of trust and their implications for risk communication and policy, including high trust v. low trust situations; the role of the conventional and social media, including risk amplification and attenuation; communicating uncertainty; policy and communication in a transparent environment
The curriculum is structured in three sections, with the first section focusing on the evolution of the risk communication field, starting from risk perception. The second section examines key theoretical milestones in more depth, i.e. the narrative approach, trust, and the mental models. The third section covers risk policy as well as its relationship to risk communication.
The seminars typically involve presentations of key literature by students (in small groups), a short lecture that tackles crucial concepts (some pre-recorded) followed by a group discussion to address possible knowledge gaps. Students will routinely conduct analyses of defined problems and present their reports to other students.
Topics cover basic concepts, risk perception, risk communication as well as analysing risk policy.
After completing the course students will be able to
Understand the dynamics of risk perception and communication.
Understand how a range of risks from various sectors (e.g. energy, food, pharmaceuticals) can be effectively managed and how science-informed policy can be successfully developed
Have the ability to specialize in risk perception/ communication as one of the main branches of the risk analysis field.
Have the ability to independently process scientific literature about the relationship between risk management and risk perception /communication. Emphasis will be put on developing scientifically-informed judgement, as well as the ability to present viable options for policy that will be discussed among peers.
Students will acquire general competence in writing an academic paper
Students will develop their research ability
Student will strengthen their presentation abilities
The course will foster group work abilities
Required prerequisite knowledge
One of the following alternatives: RIS500 Risk analysis and risk management RAG500 Foundations of risk analysis and risk science RIS505 Foundations of Risk Analysis and Risk Science
Form of assessment
The students should work individually to write a 4000 words research paper (double spacing). The students shall within define deadlines submit to the teacher an outline, first draft and second draft of their paper and be prepared to exchange with fellow students about their paper. Besides seminars and student presentations, some lectures will be given throughout the semester. Other lectures will be pre-recorded. The research requirements will be introduced during the first lecture. The students shall select their topic within 5 weeks and submit their final research paper within 15 weeks.
Lectures and individual work and group work (on specific real-life problems inspired by problem-based learning techniques). Student-active methodology and close dialogue between students and teacher are key elements in the pedagogical work form.
Students will also form reading groups and present readings in a collegial fashion.
There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.