Risk, Knowledge and Management
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The objective

This ESReDA Group addresses the relationships between risk, knowledge and management, aiming to find new ideas for preventing accidents and improving safety with better utilization of knowledge. The three-year project started at the end of 2020 and the project group has about 20 participants from regulatory authorities, universities and private companies. The project group is organizing a seminar in June 2021, and plans to publish results by 2023.


In November 2020, the new PG started work to address the relationships between “risk”, “knowledge” and “management”.  The scope on ‘risk’ indicates the coverage of the safety, reliability, security and natural hazards related to a high-hazard industry, a critical infrastructure, a communication and transport system over different territories (local, national, transnational). Both private and public perspectives are in the scope, together with regulation and governance.

The ‘management’ scope integrates risk-related activities and disciplines such as risks/threat assessment and foresight; identification of early warning signs and emerging risks; investigation of events and lessons learning; management of barriers and lines of defense; reliability enhancement; change; and related policies and safety culture.

Finally, the ‘knowledge’ presents central topic of the project: the endeavor to use knowledge to improve management and governance of risks throughout all systems life phases (from design to operation and decommissioning). Therefore, several questions could be addressed:

  • What are the different kinds of knowledge (e.g. explicit, tacit, individual, collective) that are relevant for risk management?
  • What are the various paradigms and scientific disciplines to consider, e.g.: knowledge management engineering, management science, legal studies, knowledge based engineering, multidisciplinary design optimization, cyclic innovation and value engineering?
  • What are the different sources of knowledge: workers’ expertise, operating experience, accident investigation, risk assessment, foresight exercises, best practices, research, etc.?
  • How does knowledge relate to experience, competencies, know-how, knowing, and training?
  • How to improve knowledge management in respect to many different elements, e.g.: collection, analysis, storage, maintenance, usage, exchange, dissemination, organizational ‘memory’?
  • What are the obstacles to effective knowledge management?
  • What is the role of communities of practice?
  • How is knowledge appropriated through training and action?
  • What are the roles of private companies, public institutions, regulators, scientific networks and associations to promote updated knowledge on management and governance of risks?
  • What is the role of the legal context, information availability, ‘just culture’?
  • How to best use knowledge for innovation in high-hazard systems?

The above defined scope will be of interest to many different actors like system designers, system operators, managers, maintenance, lawyers, insurers and regulators, and many others working on safety and security including natural hazard management.

Expected Deliverables

First, the new project group is organizing the 58th ESReDA Virtual Seminar on “Using Knowledge to Manage Risks and Threats: Practices and Challenges”, 15-16 June 2021. This seminar will gather together experts in the field of the scope of the project group’s work on risk, knowledge and management. This seminar will be both a first result and reinforcement for continuation of the project group work.

Second, after the seminar other deliverables will be determined. The main result of the project group work could be a collection of short deliverables which could be made into a final report. Expected contributions from participants are often mainly based on reviews, summaries and assessments dealing with some of the questions listed in the scope. In addition to traditional deliverables, the project group could develop some shorter but more advanced deliverables such as info graphics, slide decks, online mind maps, video presentations and pre-recorded webinars.

Organization of the project group

The expected duration of the Project Group is 3 years. The ‘kick-off’ meeting of the project group work was in November 2020. The project group is meeting virtually every two months. Physical meetings will be planned once or twice per year when the pandemic situation improves.

The ESReDA Project Group on Risk, Knowledge and Management will base its work on the expertise of the project group members and the knowledge accumulated during the previous four related ESReDA projects. Nonetheless, new contributions are more than welcome. In accordance with ESReDA rules of operation, joining project group is not restricted to ESReDA members.

The project group is organized by chairperson Dr Zdenko Šimić (European Commission Joint Research Centre in Petten, the Netherlands, [email protected]), secretary Dr Eric Marsden (FonCSI, France, [email protected]), and treasurer Antonio Felicio ([email protected]).

Currently more than 20 people have expressed interest to participate in the work of the project group from the following organizations:

  • Agenţia de Investigare Feroviară Română (AGIFER), Romania
  • Club Heuristique pour l’Analyse Organisationnelle de Sécurité (CHAOS), France
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), The Netherlands/Italy
  • ENEA, Italy
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, Belgium
  • Fondation pour une Culture de Sécurité Industrielle (FonCSI), France
  • Gestão da Produção de Energia, S.A. (EDP), Portugal
  • Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), UK
  • Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), France
  • Institute of Agricultural Economics, Bulgaria
  • Kindunos Ltd., The Netherlands
  • Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg (LUBW), Germany
  • NCSR Demokritos, Greece
  • NTNU, Norway
  • Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Finland
  • SN Nuclearelectrica SA, Romania
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia