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Crisis Response and Management

In 1990 I was asked to join the International Chernobyl Project to explore the factors driving decision making in the aftermath of the Chernobyl Accident ... and so began a major theme of my work over the past 20 years or so. A brief description of the Chernobyl findings can be found in our book [1]. It shows how powerful multi-criteria decision analysis tools can be in surfacing the factors and value judgements that drive decision making. My involvement in the International Chernobyl Project was a turning event in my professional life. A key finding was the recognition that good information management and communication with stakeholders are essential parts of risk management and they need to be completely integral to it. This led to a range of projects in which I have played a substantial role in designing and building RODOS, a decision support system for nuclear emergency management, and in understanding and improving the emergency management processes across Europe. The RODOS system has now been adopted in several European countries, most notably Germany [2]; and as part of the NERIS Community ( I continue to be involved in this work.

My interests in emergency and crisis management has broadened out considerably. I have worked with the UK Department of Health and the UK Food Standards Agency on risk managment and communication in health and food safety 'scares'. Just before I left MBS, I was an investigator on a NIHR funded project to identify research needs in emergency planning in UK health systems. The report is published by NIHR here.

I have been a member of the ISCRAM (Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management) community since it began with a workshop in Brussels in 2004. Now it is a formal association (

I continue to work on emergency planning, management and recovery in the context of radiation accidents. A recent major report on presenting uncertainty, particularly geographical uncertainty is available here. See also a paper with Nikos Argyris on Behaviooural Aspects of nuclear emergency response.

[1] S. French, J. Maule and N. Papamichail (2009) Decision Behaviour, Analysis and Support. Cambridge University Press. Details

[2] A special issue of Radioprotection describes the system in 2010. It is interesting to compare this with an interim design document available here. Many of the complex statistical forecasting methods that pushed the boundaries of computation at the end of 1990s are now running and working.