The CRUISSE (Challenging Radical Uncertainty in Science, Society and the Environment) network was established at the beginning of 2017 by the EPSRC, ESRC, NERC and AHRC within RCUK – now UK RI. It is based at UCL in the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty in the Division of Psychology and Language Science in the Brain Sciences Faculty.
The guiding idea behind the CRUISSE network was that it should start not from academic propositions and predilections but from the decision-making problems experienced by practitioners in government, business and third sector institutions.
Activities began with visits to decision-making organisations in government, business and the third sector followed by intensive multidisciplinary and in-depth group discussion of the uncertainties that emerged and how to cope with them. The network developed small pilot project calls with interested decision-making stakeholders. Academics and others responded by proposing ideas. A review process then selected teams trained in economics, computational neuroscience, theatre, arts, mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, social anthropology, politics, environmental science, and political ecology.
Many of the practitioners we met during our visits had never engaged (or had misconceptions or had not known how to engage productively) with the decision support potentially available in the UK academic community. Once recognised, it seems that the demand for support from such practitioners is much greater than the potential supply. Opportunities for longer, deeper engagement with practitioners and new alternately focused research on coping with radical uncertainty should be future objectives.
The 2018 conference will report and debate the outcome of the CRUISSE pilot projects with the teams conducting them, the stakeholders and different academic approaches. Opportunities will be available during the conference to advance ideas about improving how to manage decision-making under uncertainty and the network principals will propose new ways forward for research and practice. There will be a reflective plenary address from Professor John Kay.
Call for Individual Submissions
Authors from any relevant discipline are invited to submit papers to the conference. Two sessions have been allocated. Papers should explore ideas as to how to manage decision-making in the face of radical uncertainty and what research needs to be done or is being done. Papers may be broken down into parallel sessions on one of four topics: uncertainty recognition, uncertainty quantification, uncertainty communication and coping with Uncertainty. The most interesting papers will be elected for presentation as individual papers and all papers judged to be of interest and an adequate standard will be placed on the CRUISSE website.
Reports from Pilot Projects
CRUISSE pilot projects have explored a series of topics: humanitarian decision-making, how to assess and influence public behaviour in the event of a sustained power failure, how to evaluate cyber disruption policies, how to define and implement policy for resilient infrastructure, how to anticipate and be proactive in humanitarian decsion-making (for example using weather forecasting to make life-saving decisions in Pakistan) and how to estimate and communicate flood risk and responses to it. Results from each project will be presented along with comments from the sponsor – the decision-makers responsible for making the decisions – and core members of the network team.
Plenary Address: John Kay CBE, FRSE, FBA, FAcSS
John Kay is one of Britain’s leading economists. His interests focus on the relationships between economics and business. His career has spanned academic work and think tanks, business schools, company directorships, consultancies and investment companies. He has written several books and many articles. He spoke at the EPSRC-sponsored launch of its Decision-Making under Uncertainty networks in 2017 and is currently writing a book on Uncertainty and Economics with Mervyn King.