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Research on risk communication

BfR informs the public at large about potential, identified and assessed risks. In this context it is necessary to ensure that the assessment process and the foundations for assessment are transparent and comprehensible to ensure that consumers can take informed decisions. The communication of risks assessed by BfR to stakeholders from political circles, the sciences, the business community, associations and NGOs as well as to the public at large is supported and optimised through accompanying research. 

Research areas

Against this backdrop the risk communication projects address questions of risk perception, early risk detection and risk impact assessment.

Risk perception

The objective here is to establish how risks are perceived by various stakeholder groups and consumers. Furthermore, the influence of the mass media on the perception of risks is also examined. Besides measuring risk perception, factors are identified that influence the perception of risks. They can help to explain the emergence of controversies or their failure to materialise. Finally, the recording of risk perception serves the purpose of the constructive processing of possible differences in perception between BfR and its stakeholders.

Early risk detection

Another focus of work is the development and implementation of early risk detection methods. This helps to identify, characterise and - if possible - quantify emerging risks in a timely manner. The goal is to speedily develop risk management options - the prerequisite for a quick and appropriate response to each respective situation.

Risk impact assessment

Finally, the projects look at questions of risk impact assessment and this encompasses both the consequences of risks themselves and the consequences of a risk assessment, too. Special attention is paid in this context to the problem of risk trade-offs. 

Research projects are designed and carried out in the main areas outlined above. At the same time, new forms of communication are tested that support the ongoing development and optimisation of risk communication.

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Department 2

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"Science to serve humanity" is the guiding principle of BfR.

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