Risk Dialogue Foundation | The Foundation offers together different stakeholder groups in order to analyse risks of today's society. Her aim is to increase societal competence for judgement and handling of risks.

Fields of activities of the Risk Dialogue Foundation

Whether a public debate concerns nanoparticles, "electrosmog", energy and network security or our increasingly digital society - the foundation focuses on new developments and their social implications. It initiates and facilitates solution-oriented dialogues. In order to find innovative solutions that will be socially acceptable, discussions at an early stage of the public debate are essential.

Puplic stakeholders and Experts from the field of economics, science, politics and public administration, as well as NGOs and the exponents of different interest groups participate in these dialogues.


::: Activities and expertise

::: Issues and Projects

::: History

::: Funding


Activities and expertise


Risk expertise and communication competence
The Risk Dialogue Foundation has nearly 20 years of experience in the observation, analysis and moderation of risk debates, as well as in consultancy in risk communication. In addition the foundation offers risk expertise and in-depth knowledge of specific risk issues such as nanotechnology, pervasive computing, social insurance and energy and network security.


Interdisciplinary network
The foundation works closely with experts of various disciplines (biotechnology, environmental science, economics, sociology, psychology, law, philosophy etc.) and exponents of various interest groups. Taking into account different perspectives enables developing a qualified opinion and judgement.


Dialogues and Participation schemes
The foundation initiates and moderates dialogues and offers a neutral platform. Depending on the phase of the risk debate in question, experts and exponents of different interest groups participate in small group discussions, stakeholder dialogues or public conferences. In accordance with the topic the emphasis will be on an exchange of knowledge and experience, developing possible scenarios or identifying viable methods of negotiation.


Consultancy, Evaluations and Simulations
Risk communication is increasingly becoming a delicate task for companies, public authorities and other organisations. In today's interlinked societies, risk communication grows into a risk itself. Risk Dialogue Foundation assists with the development of strategies and concepts for a target-oriented risk communication. For example "riskCom evaluation" is an evaluation tool developed by the foundation to support organisation in auditing risk communication issues. Another methodology called "riskTool interactions" increases the different stakeholders' understanding of their risk communication.


Publications and Studies
The foundation conducts studies for private as well as public institutions. It evaluates and publishes on the latest risk topics, new findings in the fields of risk perception, communication and behaviour. It also conducts quantitative and qualitative media analyses and conflict diagnoses as a basis for subsequent dialogues and within consulting activities. The foundation publishes on:

  • the latest risk topics,
  • new findings in the fields of risk perception and risk communication,
  • media analyses,
  • conflict diagnoses


Issues and Projects


The foundation offers risk expertise and in-depth knowledge of specific risk issues such as:

::: Energy and Network Risks

The foundation closely pursues the debate on societal risks, e.g. vulnerability of energy networks, induced seismicity and geothermic energy production, credibility of federal governance.

::: Pervasive Computing

The foundation has in-depth knowledge of the debate on potential health risks as well as on privacy and vulnerability questions of pervasive computing. It also closely observes regulatory developments in the field.

::: Nanotechnology

::: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Risk Dialogue Foundation had the lead in several projects such as dialogues and workshops on topics like Agriculture, Food Safety and risks associated with Stem Cells.

::: Natural Hazards

The Risk Dialogue Foundation develops communication strategies for stakeholders involved in the debate on natural hazards in Switzerland. Due to the increasing number of major natural hazard events and rising losses natural hazards pose a great challenge to society.


The foundation's work also covers the following areas:

::: Social Solidarity and Insurances

::: Security and Safety Issues

::: Societal Mistrust

::: Phantom Risks




The Foundation  was a spin-off of the University of St. Gallen founded in 1989 in the wake of the environmental and technological disasters of the 1980s. Back then the catastrophes of Tschernobyl and Schweizerhalle in Basel as well as the Challenger disaster shook people's confidence in new technologies and exposed the vulnerability of modern (risk) society. As a result the need for a new kind of risk communication with the public emerged. Taking the public`s anxieties and hopes into consideration the foundation developed the first tools for a modern risk dialogue.

Over the years the Risk Dialogue Foundation has evolved into an established institution fostering a sustainable and socially accepted assimilation of new technologies. Apart from technological and ecological concerns, the foundation covers health topics as well as a broad range of social and societal issues, always from a neutral perspective.



we are funded by:

  • unbound contributions from several insurance companies
  • fixed contributions to specific projects from public authorities, companies, associations and NGOs finance the work of Risk Dialogue Foundation.


The foundation is and has always been independent and it is generally accepted as a neutral dialogue platform.

Stiftung Risiko-Dialog St. Gallen | Technoparkstrasse 2 | 8406 Winterthur | Tel. +41 52 551 10 01 | Fax +41 52 551 10 09
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