Previous Event: Jim Hall

Open Lecture Series


Open Lecture Series: Jim Hall

Professor Jim Hall FREng is Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks in the School of Geography and the Environment, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science and fellow of Linacre College. He was director of the Environmental Change Institute from 2011 to September 2018. His research focuses upon management of climate-related risks in infrastructure systems, in particular relating to various dimensions of water security, including flooding and water scarcity.

System-of-systems methodology for national infrastructure assessment

There have been many calls for a more strategic, long-term approach to national infrastructure in the UK and elsewhere around the world. Whilst appealing in principle, in practice developing a national infrastructure strategy poses major challenges of complexity and uncertainty. The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) has set out a systematic methodology for long term analysis of the performance of national infrastructure systems, which deals with each infrastructure sector (energy, transport, digital communications, water supply, waste water, flood protection and solid waste) in a consistent framework and assesses the interdependencies between infrastructure sectors. The methodology is supported with the world’s first infrastructure system of systems model (NISMOD), which has been developed for long term decision analysis in interdependent infrastructure systems. This talk will explain the ITRC’s methodology for national infrastructure assessment and will explain how NISMOD is being used to assess options for infrastructure provision in the UK and in other countries around the world.


Open Lecture Series: Gerd Gigerenzer

Gerd Gigerenzer is Director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. He is former Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago and John M. Olin Distinguished Visiting Professor, School of Law at the University of Virginia. He is also Batten Fellow at the Darden Business School, University of Virginia, and Fellow of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences. Awards for his work include the AAAS Prize for the best article in the behavioral sciences and the Association of American Publishers Prize for the best book in the social and behavioral sciences.

Decision Making Under Uncertainty: Homo Heuristicus

Should risk and uncertainty be differentiated? In this talk, I will explain why the answer is “yes”: The best decision in situations of known risks is not necessarily the best one under uncertainty. What then defines “rational” decision making under uncertainty? In answer to this I will provide an introduction to the study of Homo heuristicus, which includes a research agenda driven by three questions. The first is descriptive: What are the heuristics in the adaptive toolbox of a species, an organization, or an individual, and how do people choose between heuristics? The second is normative: In which situations is a heuristic better than a complex strategy? This question entails the study of the ecological rationality of heuristics. The third concerns intuitive design: How can systems be designed that help experts and laypeople make better decisions, be it in developing simple rules for safer financial regulation or improving medical diagnosis? The methodological tools are threefold: formal models of heuristics (instead of vague labels such as “System 1”), competitive testing of heuristics against complex strategies (instead of null hypothesis testing), and tests of the predictive power of heuristics (instead of data fitting). These tools also help to overcome earlier misconceptions of heuristics as biases.


Open Lecture Series: Naomi Wolf

Naomi Wolf is the co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership and The American Freedom Campaign. The co-Founder and CEO of tech startup DailyClout, Wolf is developing tools that allow citizens to access, share, and comment on Federal and State legislation.

Wolf teaches public presentation to Rhodes Scholars and was a visiting lecturer at Stony Brook University, where she co-led an initiative to train professors on the skills for becoming “public intellectuals.” Dr. Wolf recently completed a doctoral program on the history of discrimination law at Oxford University, where she was a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute. A former fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Wolf is also a Consultant for Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership Studies.


Open Lecture Series: Pamela Mitula

Pamela Mitula is currently coordinating WHO's technical support for Maternal Child Health Nutrition and immunisation programmes. This involves working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health, Partners as well as all levels of our organisation to accomplish the global health agenda


Open Lecture Series: Risk - Perceptions Versus the Data

As part of the Open Lecture Series, Professor Richard Clegg (Foundation Chief Executive, Lloyd's Register) gives a talk which takes a sideways look at risk from the angle of public perceptions versus reality. It looks at the data behind the hazards and dangers we experience in everyday life, and the psychology of why we seem to accept and tolerate some risks but not others. The talk also compares risks by drawing analogies – for example how many bananas do you need to eat to get the same radiation dose from natural potassium-40 as you do from a dental X-ray?


Open Lecture Series: "Debt strikes back" or the "Return of the Regulator"

As part of the Open Lecture Series, Alex Brazier (Director, Financial Stability Strategy and Risk (FSSR), Bank of England) gives a talk regarding economic risk.


Open Lecture Series: The value of uncertainty in decision making: challenges and lessons learnt from addressing climate change

As part of the Open Lecture Series, Dr Veronica Bowman (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) gives a talk providing an illustrative scenario examining the theoretical release and spread of a disease within a city, demonstrating both the challenges faced in such a complex scenario and sharing current best practice when communicating with decision makers.


Open Lecture Series: Calculating and Communicating Uncertainty and Risk to Allow Informed Decision Making

As part of the Open Lecture Series, Professor Roger Street (University of Oxford) gives a talk on 'The value of uncertainty in decision making: challenges and lessons learnt from addressing climate change'.