Core Project “Risk Interpretation of Action” (RIA) expands with new Associated Project (“Transformative Knowledge Network”)

IRDR’s Core Project “Risk Interpretation of Action” (RIA) expanded with the successful grant application under ISSC’s (International Social Science) Programme “Transformations to Sustainability”. The “Transformative Knowledge Network on Context, Culture and Environmental Risk” is led by Frank Thomalla, Senior Research Fellow from the Stockholm Environment Institute. He is joined by Dr. Mark Pelling, Professor of Geography from Kings College London and Co-Chair of IRDR’s Risk Interpretation of Action (RIA) core project, Lisa Schipper, Senior Research Fellow from the Stockholm Environment Institute, Richie Howitt, Professor in Human Geography from the Macquarie University and Emma Calgaro, Research Fellow from the University of Sydney.

The new project’s main aim is to help establish a framework through which to examine the role of culture as a lens on the design, uptake and outputs of DRM. Its purpose will be to build social science research capacity, generate new knowledge, showcase innovation in theory, methodologies and methods, influence policy relating to environmental risk, and spur new ways of thinking and doing.

In order to better understand how context and culture influence environmental risk, perceptions responses to risk and eventual outcomes, the network will develop a series of case studies spanning different regions (Global, Asia, Oceania), hazard types, religious contexts and political systems. Aspects to be considered in the matrix that will be developed include floods, droughts, landslides, global environmental change (GEC), poverty, tsunamis, cyclones, political conflict/instability, earthquakes, land degradation, environmental refugees, Post-2015 agreement on DRR, Post-2015 agreement on Climate Change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the Asian, Oceania and Global regions.

ISSC’s “Transformations to Sustainability” Programme issued the first call for funding on 31 March for a possible 30 grants of €30,000 each. The seed funding for this network will be used to identify and engage potential knowledge partners, review the literature to identify current gaps and opportunities for social science research, identify and jointly decide on a set of issues and case studies, and produce a position paper and proposal for the full funding phase.

“It is good news to have this as a RIA activity meeting both our research leadership and network building functions,” said Dr. Pelling when he shared the good news with IRDR.

The focus of IRDR’s “Risk Interpretation and Action” (RIA) core project is on the question of how people — both decision-makers and ordinary citizens — make decisions, individually and collectively, in the face of risk. This is in furtherance of Goal 3 in IRDR’s Strategic Plan 2013-2017 (“understanding decision-making in complex and changing risk contexts”) to which RIA’s activities are aligned.