John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Anticipation of risks: The news is not good Volume 9, issue 3, Mai-Juin 2010

Insis-CNRS 3, rue Michel Ange 75016 ParisFrance
  • Key words: democracy, ethics, risk reduction behavior, humanism, trust
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2010.0343
  • Page(s) : 231-40
  • Published in: 2010

In a recent editorial in this journal, Elisabeth Robert-Gnansia and Luc Foulquier (2009), wrote about public confidence in expert opinions about environment risks, confidence that is a necessary precondition to social progress. This essay, inspired by that paper, seeks to illustrate the need to anticipate the emergence of risks, but also the set of difficulties linked to the governance of science (in the West), to social perceptions, to possible biases of funders, as illustrated in some national or European requests for proposals, and to the too-narrowly disciplinary modes of evaluating science, etc. These considerations must be debated so that at a minimum, the links between Science and Innovations and Society (or societies) remain within a framework of reciprocal trust. Particularly useful would be changes in the culture of researchers and decision makers to improve their consideration of the social usefulness of research, if only by exploring the impact of innovations as early as possible.