For the first time, the Radiation Protection Week (19-23 september 2016) brought together scientists and decision makers working on radiation protection, with the established European platforms working on radiation protection: MELODI, EURADOS, NERIS and ALLIANCE
My main observations from the meeting are:
- the EC highlighted the crucial role of technology platforms for the future, with regard to setting research priorities and having an impact on future policy;
- Integration in radiation protection research in Europe is based on the concept of platforms and on EU projects and will be consolidated in the next years.
- Social sciences and humanities research is crucial and should be in line with the global objectives of radiation protection research
- Platforms should explore areas of collaboration between them and with international organisations, avoiding duplication as well as the work in ‘silos’
- Closer collaboration is needed between researchers and policy makers.
- When implementing research agendas, both funding and translation of research priorities into practice is important.
I was particularly interested in the sessions which focused on communication of risk and uncertainty, those from Professor Ragnar Löfstedt and Professor Ortwin Renn. Professor Löfstedt gave some hints on how to move forward. Some of these proposals were: media need to become more responsible communicators, regulators and policy-makers need to become better communications and scientists need to become more honest communications; communication strategies should be pre-tested; independent risk communication advisory boards might be useful as well as a genuine European Academy of Sciences. Professor Ortwin Renn talked about the problems in communicating the three challenges associated with risks -complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity- and the approaches to deal with them. He then suggested the integration of the three challenges through: inclusion of stakeholder and plural values; transdisciplinary approaches; transparency about methods, procedures and experts’ backgrounds. Finally, the presentation from Tanja Perko of SCK·CEN on the need to establish a strategic research agenda for social sciences and humanities in radiation protection is particularly relevant in the years to come.
Picture of all the participants at the RPW2016