A Science of Global Risk

Global risks share many common challenges: how to develop robust methods for studying high impact/low probability events, how to engage with a truly global audience and how to translate research into policy impact. These create the opportunity to learn lessons across many different risks.

Risks associated with emerging and future technologies, impacts of human activity, global security threats, and global scale natural disasters threaten human extinction or civilization collapse. Managing these global risks is an urgent task - but one that poses particular difficulties and has been comparatively neglected in academia.

Our flagship research project is to develop, implement and refine a model systematic approach to addressing how this class of risks can best be identified, managed and mitigated. At the core of this project we are working to develop new methods for studying global risks and their associated worst-case scenarios, engaging with diverse groups who have specific knowledge of, or influence over, these risks and building research impact and policy influence into everything we do. This builds on the work of our previous project Managing Extreme Technological Risks.

Our hypothesis

Safeguarding humanity’s long-term future from these risks requires a science of global risk that is rigorous and creative; open to diverse groups; and capable of producing concrete proposals for risk management that can be implemented within the existing policy landscape. We are currently testing this hypothesis with the support of researchers from climate change, volcanology and biotechnology backgrounds, using methods such as horizon scanning, concept modelling, logic trees, impact assessment, policy co-creation and futures studies. 

The project consists of three interwoven strands:

  • Forecasting and Modelling Global Risk – will create new tools to forecast global risks and model interconnections between them, giving insight into how such risks emerge and how they can be managed.
  • Designing Practical Solutions for the Management of Global Risk – will focus on the collaborative creation of practical policy proposals for the management of global risks.
  • Growing the User Community for the Science of Global Risk – will foster a diverse set of global stakeholders focused on managing risk.

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc.

Subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates