Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Comparative, collaborative, and integrative risk governance for emerging technologies

  • Perspectives
  • Published:
Environment Systems and Decisions Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Various emerging technologies challenge existing governance processes to identify, assess, and manage risk. Though the existing risk-based paradigm has been essential for assessment of many chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear technologies, a complementary approach may be warranted for the early-stage assessment and management challenges of high uncertainty technologies ranging from nanotechnology to synthetic biology to artificial intelligence, among many others. This paper argues for a risk governance approach that integrates quantitative experimental information alongside qualitative expert insight to characterize and balance the risks, benefits, costs, and societal implications of emerging technologies. Various articles in scholarly literature have highlighted differing points of how to address technological uncertainty, and this article builds upon such knowledge to explain how an emerging technology risk governance process should be driven by a multi-stakeholder effort, incorporate various disparate sources of information, review various endpoints and outcomes, and comparatively assess emerging technology performance against existing conventional products in a given application area. At least in the early stages of development when quantitative data for risk assessment remain incomplete or limited, such an approach can be valuable for policymakers and decision makers to evaluate the impact that such technologies may have upon human and environmental health.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Bates M, Grieger KD, Trump BD, Keisler JM, Plourde KJ, Linkov I (2015) Emerging technologies for environmental remediation: integrating data and judgment. Environ Sci Technol 50:349–358

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Blaunstein R, Trump B, Linkov I (2014) Nanotechnology risk management: an insurance industry perspective. In: Hull M, Bowman D (eds) Nanotechnology environmental health and safety: risks, regulation, and management, 2nd edn. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 247–263

    Google Scholar 

  • Calvert J, Martin P (2009) The role of social scientists in synthetic biology. EMBO Rep 10(3):201–204

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Canis L, Linkov I, Seager TP (2010) Application of stochastic multiattribute analysis to assessment of single walled carbon nanotube synthesis processes. Environ Sci Technol 44(22):8704–8711

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Csiszar SA, Meyer DE, Dionisio KL, Egeghy P, Isaacs KK, Price PS et al (2016) Conceptual framework to extend life cycle assessment using near-field human exposure modeling and high-throughput tools for chemicals. Environ Sci Technol 50(21):11922–11934

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cummings CL, Kuzma J (2017) Societal risk evaluation scheme (SRES): scenario-based multi-criteria evaluation of synthetic biology applications. PLoS ONE 12:e0168564

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cummings CL, Lin SH, Trump BD (2017) Public perceptions of climate geoengineering: a systematic review of the literature. Clim Res 73(3):247–264

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Epstein MM, Vermeire T (2016) Scientific opinion on risk assessment of synthetic biology. Trends Biotechnol 34(8):601–603

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Falkner R, Jaspers N (2012) Regulating nanotechnologies: risk, uncertainty and the global governance gap. Global Environ Politics 12(1):30–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ferson S, Sentz K (2016) Epistemic uncertainty in agent-based modeling. In: 7th international workshop on reliable engineering computing

  • Grieger K, Hansen SF, Baun A (2009) The known unknowns of nanomaterials: describing and characterizing uncertainty within environmental, health and safety risks. Nanotoxicology 3:222–233

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gronvall GK (2018) Safety, security, and serving the public interest in synthetic biology. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 21:1–4

    Google Scholar 

  • Hristozov DR, Gottardo S, Critto A, Marcomini A (2012) Risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials: a review of available data and approaches from a regulatory perspective. Nanotoxicology 6(8):880–898

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hristozov D, Gottardo S, Semenzin E, Oomen A, Bos P, Peijnenburg W et al (2016) Frameworks and tools for risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials. Environ Int 95:36–53

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • König H, Frank D, Heil R, Coenen C (2016) Synthetic biology’s multiple dimensions of benefits and risks: implications for governance and policies. In: Boldt J (ed) Synthetic biology. Springer Fachmedien, Wiesbaden, pp 217–232

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuiken T, Dana G, Oye K, Rejeski D (2014) Shaping ecological risk research for synthetic biology. J Environ Stud Sci 4(3):191–199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuzma J (2015) Translational governance research for synthetic biology. J Responsible Innov 2(1):109–112

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuzma J, Paradise J, Ramachandran G, Kim J, Kokotovich A, Wolf SM (2008) An integrated approach to oversight assessment for emerging technologies. Risk Anal 28(5):1197–1220

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Linkov I, Bates ME, Canis LJ, Seager TP, Keisler JM (2011) A decision-directed approach for prioritizing research into the impact of nanomaterials on the environment and human health. Nat Nanotechnol 6(12):784

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Linkov I, Bates ME, Trump BD, Seager TP, Chappell MA, Keisler JM (2013) For nanotechnology decisions, use decision analysis. Nano Today 8(1):5–10

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Linkov I, Trump B, Jin D, Mazurczak M, Schreurs M (2014) A decision-analytic approach to predict state regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Environ Sci Eur 26(1):20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Linkov I, Trump BD, Wender BA, Seager TP, Kennedy AJ, Keisler JM (2017) Integrate life-cycle assessment and risk analysis results, not methods. Nat Nanotechnol 12(8):740–743

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Linkov I, Trump BD, Poinsatte-Jones K, Florin MV (2018) Governance strategies for a sustainable digital world. Sustainability 10(2):440

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Malloy T, Trump BD, Linkov I (2016) Risk-based and prevention-based governance for emerging materials. Environ Sci Technol 50:6822–6824

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Malsch I, Mullins M, Semenzin E, Zabeo A, Hristozov D, Marcomini A (2018) Decision support for international agreements regulating nanomaterials. NanoEthics 12(1):39–54

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mandel G, Marchant GE (2014) The living regulatory challenges of synthetic biology. Iowa L Rev 100:155

    Google Scholar 

  • Mohan M, Trump BD, Bates ME, Monica JC Jr, Linkov I (2012) Integrating legal liabilities in nanomanufacturing risk management. Environ Sci Technol 46(15):7955–7962

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Mukunda G, Oye KA, Mohr SC (2009) What rough beast? Synthetic biology, uncertainty, and the future of biosecurity. Politics Life Sci 28(2):2–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (1983) Risk assessment in the federal government: managing the process. National Academies Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (2011) Sustainability and the U.S. EPA. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC. https://doi.org/10.17226/13152

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Oye KA (2012) Proactive and adaptive governance of emerging risks: the case of DNA synthesis and synthetic biology. International Risk Governance Council, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • Palma-Oliveira JM, Trump BD, Wood MD, Linkov I (2017) Community-driven hypothesis testing: a solution for the tragedy of the anticommons. Risk Anal 38:620–634

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Renn O (2005) White paper on risk governance: towards an integrative approach. International Risk Governance Council, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • Renn O, Klinke A, van Asselt M (2011) Coping with complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity in risk governance: a synthesis. Ambio 40:231–246

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rycroft T, Trump B, Poinsatte-Jones K, Linkov I (2018) Nanotoxicology and nanomedicine: making development decisions in an evolving governance environment. J Nanopart Res 20(2):52

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmidt M, Kelle A, Ganguli-Mitra A, de Vriend H (eds) (2009) Synthetic biology: the technoscience and its societal consequences. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Scott-Fordsmand JJ, Pozzi-Mucelli S, Tran L, Aschberger K, Sabella S, Vogel U et al (2014) A unified framework for nanosafety is needed. Nano Today 9(5):546–549

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Seager TP, Linkov I (2008) Coupling multicriteria decision analysis and life cycle assessment for nanomaterials. J Ind Ecol 12(3):282–285

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seager TP, Trump BD, Poinsatte-Jones K, Linkov I (2017) Why life cycle assessment does not work for synthetic biology. Environ Sci Technol. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b01604

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shatkin JA (2008) Informing environmental decision making by combining life cycle assessment and risk analysis. J Ind Ecol 12(3):278–281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shatkin JA, Ong KJ, Beaudrie C, Clippinger AJ, Hendren CO, Haber LT et al (2016) Advancing risk analysis for nanoscale materials: report from an international workshop on the role of alternative testing strategies for advancement. Risk Anal 36(8):1520–1537

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Siegrist M, Keller C, Kastenholz H, Frey S, Wiek A (2007) Laypeople’s and experts’ perception of nanotechnology hazards. Risk Anal 27(1):59–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Small M, Stern PC, Bomberg E, Christopherson SM, Goldstein BD, Israel AL, Jackson RB, Krupnick A, Mauter MS, Nash J, North DW, Olmstead SM, Prakash A, Rabe B, Richardson N, Tierney S, Webler T, Wong-Parodi G, Zielinska B (2014) Risks and risk governance in unconventional shale gas development. Environ Sci Technol 48:8289–8297

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Subramanian V, Semenzin E, Hristozov D, Marcomini A, Linkov I (2014) Sustainable nanotechnology: defining, measuring and teaching. Nano Today 9(1):6–9

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Tait J (2009) Governing synthetic biology: processes and outcomes. In: Schmidt M (ed) Synthetic biology. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 141–154

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Tait J (2012) Adaptive governance of synthetic biology. EMBO Rep 13(7):579–579

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Tervonen T, Linkov I, Figueira JR, Steevens J, Chappell M, Merad M (2009) Risk-based classification system of nanomaterials. J Nanopart Res 11(4):757–766

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Trump BD (2017) Synthetic biology regulation and governance: lessons from TAPIC for the United States, European Union, and Singapore. Health Policy 121(11):1139–1146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trump BD, Linkov F, Edwards RP, Linkov I (2015) Not a Humbug: the evolution of patient-centred medical decision-making. Evid Based Med 20(6):193–197

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trump BD, Cummings C, Kuzma J, Linkov I (2017) A decision analytic model to guide early-stage government regulatory action: applications for synthetic biology. Regul Gov. https://doi.org/10.1111/rego.12142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trump BD, Hristozov D, Malloy T, Linkov I (in press) Risk associated with engineered nanomaterials: different tools for different ways to govern. Nano Today

  • Vallero D (2015) Environmental biotechnology: a biosystems approach. Academic Press, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson MP, Schwarzman MR (2009) Toward a new US chemicals policy: rebuilding the foundation to advance new science, green chemistry, and environmental health. Environ Health Perspect 117(8):1202

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wood MD, Plourde K, Larkin S, Egeghy PE, Williams AJ, Zemba V, Linkov I, Vallero DA (in press) Advances on a decision analytic approach to exposure-based chemical prioritization. Risk Anal

  • Yatsalo B, Gritsyuk S, Sullivan T, Trump B, Linkov I (2016) Multi-criteria risk management with the use of DecernsMCDA: methods and case studies. Environ Syst Decis 36(3):266–276

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors were participants in the “Risk Policy Forum on Key Enabling Technologies” hosted by the Society for Risk Analysis, and Ca Foscari University, Venice, Italy, on March 2017. This workshop and paper were part of a SRA New Initiative Project. The authors thank the conference attendees and panelists that drove discussions, as well as Emily Wells for her editorial assistance, and George Shephard for his figure design assistance. The views expressed within this paper are solely the opinions of the authors, and are not necessarily representative of their organizational affiliations.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Igor Linkov.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Linkov, I., Trump, B.D., Anklam, E. et al. Comparative, collaborative, and integrative risk governance for emerging technologies. Environ Syst Decis 38, 170–176 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-018-9686-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-018-9686-5

Keywords

Navigation