PHD risk management decision making

PhD Programmes in Risk

Societal Safety deals, among other things, with extraordinary events and challenges to which society is exposed, inherent threats and risk in complex technological and social systems and also processes that may undermine key institutions of the society.

Societal Safety is part of the PhD programme ”Risk Management and Societal Safety”, which is an interdisciplinary co-operation between the Faculty of Social Science and the Faculty of Science and Technology.

During the course, Social Science students will acquire a basic knowledge of technological and economic perspectives of risk and vulnerability, even if the main focus is in a social studies perspective.

This programme is a response to the emergence of new threats and changed risks in the wake of, for example, globalization processes, increasingly more complex and mutually dependent technological systems, terrorism, pandemics, new travel patterns, etc.

There has been rapid development in this specialist environment and there is enormous interest for risk management and societal safety, both within the public authorities and private companies. EU, among others, has prioritized research in this field.

One of the aims of the PhD programme is to acquire scientific knowledge and methods in order to understand, prevent and respond to crisis situations or threats to society.

The PhD programme has been based on the following four thematic areas:

  • Risks, regulation and social planning
  • Vulnerability, technology and organization
  • Accident and crisis management
  • Risk analyses and decision making

Research in the four areas has been focused on different sectors such as transport, petroleum activity, ICT, food, health, information preparedness, etc. At the same time, many of the projects are cross-sector, as risks and threats in society are usually interdisciplinary and cross-sector in nature. Whereas threats and risk usually have international roots, these generally have an impact locally, at the same time, as it is the nation state, which has the most important means of prevention or response. Consequently, local, national and international problems and perspectives are important in the research.

Societal Safety has interfaces with other security related areas, such as national security (security policy), sustainable development and routine handling of everyday accidents. In order to maintain societal safety, we will increasingly face situations where there is no clear answer to complex problems. Such problems may be:

  • The relationship between freedom and security
  • Technological possibilities and the social consequences of using these
  • Expectations to the authorities about creating a safe society and the potential for meeting these expectations
  • Knowledge about risk and hazards and the possibilities for doing something about these
  • Long-lasting sense of security that leads to growing vulnerability
  • Responsibility for running a critical infrastructure and for maintaining societal safety

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