CSaP Annual Conference 2012: Risk and uncertainty

8 March 2012, 10:15am

The Centre for Science and Policy is partnering with the Willis Research Network to organise a conference on "Risk and Uncertainty" which will take place in London on 8 March 2012.

This one-day event will focus on two policy concomitants of risk and uncertainty in policy and business:


Acknowledgement of deeper uncertainties has led to instances of widespread use of the precautionary principle or ‘reasonable worst case scenario’. Debates around the issue concern the appropriate degree of precaution, adaptability of policy, the role of disputed science, and policy communication.


Instability in complex systems is receiving increasing media and policy attention. Global economic problems have highlighted the complexities and difficulties of managing risk and uncertainty in banking and markets. Instability in the climate is making necessary decisions that are both politically and financially damaging in the near term. Resilient policies are intended to guard against both foreseeable and unforeseen shocks.

The intersection of precaution and resilience provides a rich ground on which to bring together the latest academic thinking, cutting edge business practice and policy experience. We will ask three questions – what are the risks? what are the uncertainties? how precautionary should UK policy be? – of three issues: finance, infrastructure and natural resources.

Speaker Presentations

Session 1: The Precautionary Principle

Sesssion 2: Resilience


  • Sir John Beddington: Presentation unavailable

Please download the agenda here.

Who should attend?

This conference will bring together policy makers, academic experts, opinion leaders and practitioners and will provide an opportunity for networking and knowledge and experience exchange.

Participation is recommended for representatives from:

  • science and research (engineering, technology, medical, natural, economic, social and political sciences)
  • government departments
  • the insurance and financial services
  • the pharmaceutical and food industry
How to register

This event will take place in London on 8 March 2012, 10am - 6pm at the Senate House, University of London.

The cost of attending is £45 per delegate, which includes refreshments througout the day, a buffet lunch and attendance at the post-conference drinks reception.

Speakers & Chairs

Ongoing work by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir John Beddington, on “high impact, low probability” events is raising interest about risk and uncertainty in policy. Sir John will deliver a keynote talk on the findings from the Blackett Review on this topic at the conference.


For more information, please contact the event organiser, Jackie Ouchikh: jackie.ouchikh@csap.cam.ac.uk

or call 01223 768392


The CSaP would like to thank the Willis Research Network, the IET and Lloyd's for their generous support.

Professor Sir John Beddington

University of Oxford, Oxford Martin School

Professor Andrew Challinor

University of Leeds

Professor Jon Crowcroft

Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge

Rowan Douglas

Willis Research Network

Ms Fiona Fox

Science Media Centre

Dr Dougal Goodman

The Foundation for Science and Technology (FST)

Dr Trevor Maynard

Centre for Risk Studies, Cambridge Judge Business School

Professor David Salisbury

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Professor Peter Sammonds

University College London (UCL), Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

Faculty of Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Professor Andrew Stirling

University of Sussex

Jackie Ouchikh

Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge

  • In news articles

    CSaP Annual Conference 2012: Risk and uncertainty

    On 8 March 2012 – the very day that the BBC declared that solar storms threatened to “wreak havoc with satellites or power grids” – many of the UK’s top risk experts were attending the CSaP conference on Risk and Uncertainty, organised in partnership with the Willis Research Network and sponsored by the IET and Lloyd’s.