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Uncertainty - a normal part of science

08/2019, 18.02.2019

Conference in Berlin: the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are presenting challenges and progress in the assessment of uncertainties

How dangerous is a new pathogen of a foodborne infection? What health risks are concealed in a new plant protection product? Uncertainty is a normal part of scientific work, because the results of scientific studies can be contradictory or afflicted with errors and be incapable of providing an answer to the question. It is then up to science to clarify the effects of such uncertainties on the risk assessment. Dealing with far-reaching risks is a societal process. The International Conference on Uncertainty in Risk Analysis in Berlin has now been dedicated to this topic from the point of view of scientific assessment, risk management and communication. "We are using the results of research for the health assessments," explains BfR Vice-President, Professor Dr. Reiner Wittkowski. "This always includes a critical evaluation of the available data and the limits of knowledge, so uncertainty is a normal component of science". The conference can be followed per live stream on 21 and 22 February 2019.

Programme:

Live stream:

In addition to food safety, the main topics will be the environment, animal and plant health. The event offers a wide range of topics and consists of workshops prior to the actual conference, invited and submitted presentations, poster sessions, interaction with participants and a panel discussion. The presentations given by the international experts deal with various topics, such as uncertainty from the point of view of cognitive science, the methodology of uncertainty analysis, communication, decision making and the dialogue in public society. The areas of main focus here are the presentation of uncertainties in the context of risk analysis and risk control, as well as the communication and the societal handling of uncertainty.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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