The research at the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety is focused on how people, organisations and societies deal with events that might threaten something of value. We study both how such events themselves are managed (during an emergency/crisis) and how risk is managed (before the events). Even though the contexts in which the research is conducted are diverse, and the problems studied might vary considerably, a key aspect that characterise them all is the presence, and importance, of uncertainty. Uncertainty, in the present context, stems from the fact that we cannot fully know what will happen in the future. However, a key assumption in risk management is that our actions today may influence future outcomes in a positive way. Thus, despite considerable uncertainty we may do actions today that result in a better outcome tomorrow.
Studying how various stakeholders deal with aspects relevant for risk management and societal safety provides important knowledge on how systems (including social and sociotechnical systems) work. However, the ultimate goal for the research conducted at our division is for it to contribute to solving practical problems on the path to a safer, more resilient and sustainable world. Therefore, a considerable part of the research conducted can also be classified as normative, or design research. The main difference compared to more traditional descriptive research is that it explicitly includes suggestions on how one should deal with various practical problems in the area of risk management and societal safety.