Risk Dialogue Foundation | The Risk Dialogue Foundation brings together different stakeholder groups in order to discussrisks of today's society. The aim is to increase societal competence in the judgement and handling of risks.
Which risks does a modern society decide to accept for the sake of which new opportunities? How can developments be influenced?
Whether a public debate concerns nanoparticles, "electrosmog", energy and network security or our increasingly wired 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.
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.
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.
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.
The foundation initiates and moderates dialogues. 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. "riskCom evaluation" is an evaluation tool developed by the foundation to support organisation in auditing risk communication issues. The second tool, "riskTool interactions", increases the different stakeholders' understanding of their risk communication.
Publications and Studies
The foundation publishes on
- the latest risk topics,
- new findings in the fields of risk perception and risk communication,
- media analyses,
- conflict diagnoses
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.
::: 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.
::: Natural Hazard Communication and the Role of the Insurance Industry [pdf, 48kb]
The foundation's work also covers the following areas:
::: Social Solidarity and Insurances
::: Security and Safety Issues
::: Societal Mistrust
::: Phantom Risks
The Risk Dialogue Foundation was founded at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) in 1989 in the wake of the environmental and technological disasters of the 1980s. The accidents at Tschernobyl and Schweizerhalle shook people's confidence in new technologies and exposed the vulnerability of modern society.
As a result the need for a new kind of risk communication with the public emerged. The risk dialogue was developed taking public anxieties and hopes into consideration.
During the last 20 years "risk dialogue" has evolved into an instrument enabling a sustainable and socially accepted introduction of new technologies. It also turned out to stir innovation in organisations und companies. Apart from ecological concerns, discussions are also held on health as well as social and societal issues e.g vulnerability or solidarity.
- independent 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 independent and free to select topics for discussion and it is widely accepted as a neutral dialogue platform.