Developing a practical risk literacy agenda

Sense about Science and Lloyd’s Register Foundation are partnering on Making Sense of Risk, a project to test the concepts, language and pathways that make information about risk accessible, and so define risk literacy. The project will engage communities to talk about risk, support people who take on the role of communicating risk and ensure that global leaders think about how risk information is going to be used by the people it impacts.

Making Sense of Risk builds on an earlier partnership focused on the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll. Our new work will convene major risk information providers and develop, support and work with a global network of people who lead risk literacy in their communities. They will work with us to define ‘practical risk literacy’ and to make sure that organisations providing risk data do so in a way that is genuinely useful to relevant sectors and communities.

The partnership will:

  1. Define and test risk literacy identifying what is useful to improve safety in practice, reduce misinterpretation of risks, and make the trade-offs demanded by risk negotiation in daily life. As part of this, we will create a user-tested framework for understanding risk and establish associated measures of risk literacy.
  2. Support risk literacy innovators – those in the sectors and communities we support who are primed to use information on risk and understanding of risk to improve safety in their communities – with shared experiences and user-driven insights and information.
  3. Convene major risk information providers and develop global thought leadership based on practical risk literacy approaches

The project team will include colleagues at the Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk at the National University of Singapore, where work is underway on the development of a risk literacy index that will help citizens in different countries to compare their perceptions of particular risks with those of people in other countries.

“Lloyd’s Register Foundation aims to build evidence and insight around the behaviours that lead to improved safety outcomes. We know that providers of risk information need agreement on the concepts, language and pathways that make information about risk accessible. We cannot achieve this by ourselves and so we are delighted to be working with Sense about Science, who have incredible global experience in engaging communities, media and policymakers in risk issues. We’re excited to develop an experience-derived, user-tested approach to achieving understanding of risk; practical risk literacy that will identify what is actually useful to improving safety and making communities feel safer.” Dr Tim Slingsby, Director of Skills and Education, Lloyd’s Register Foundation,

“The case for public understanding of risk has been well made, largely through global experience of issues from food safety to energy generation. Institutions and governments now need to learn more about what people want and need when they are discussing risks and making safety decisions.” Tracey Brown, Director, Sense about Science,

“The project team will include colleagues at the Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk at the National University of Singapore, where work is underway on the development of a risk literacy index to help decision makers and the public assess people’s perception of particular risks.” Koh Chan Ghee, Director, Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk

Published 12 April 2021