Graduate Academy SERIOR: Risk and security in a trinational context

Ulrich Ufer, the Scientific Coordinator of the “Upper Rhine Trinational Graduate Academy Security-Risk-Orientation” (SERIOR), reports about the launch of this exceptional program.

Serior_LogoRisk and security are popular current themes in both science and the media. But what happens if you view them through the trinational prism of the Upper Rhine region? Universität Koblenz-Landau together with Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Universität Freiburg, Universität Basel, Université de Haute-Alsace and Université de Strasbourg address this question through an interdisciplinary and at the same time intercultural approach. Funded by the European Union through Interreg V until the end of 2018, Graduate Academy SERIOR will offer to participants an opportunity to review and develop their specific research topics through exchange with professors and peers from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds.

A potential chemical accident and successive water pollution in the Rhine is a case in point that illustrates the necessity of multi-level analysis on the fields of risk and security: national legislations have diverging criteria for measuring risk levels, trans-border risk management may be complicated by different organizational settings and different hierarchies in administrations that operate emergency plans. Language is but one cultural variable that may stand in the way of urgent risk resolution, another one is added by variations of socio-psychological risk perceptions in Germany, Switzerland and France that influence the behaviour of decision takers and populations exposed to risks. Finally, what are the social and ethical values in either country that form the basis for decisions in politics and public discourse to prioritize one type of risk over another in terms of the allocation of limited resources to develop countermeasures?

Through the Graduate Academy’s programme for knowledge transfer, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their projects and ideas also with entrepreneurial, political or civic stakeholders from the Upper Rhine region.

Graduate Academy SERIOR will launch in 2017 with a summer school (19-23 june 2017), an annual lecture series and a programme for knowledge transfer. Until 2018 it will develop risk and security related databases as well as handbooks that address the perception, evaluation and communication of risk in the trinational context of the Upper Rhine.

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SERIOR project members during the kick-off meeting in Landau.

SERIOR project members during the kick-off meeting in Landau (photo by K. Hiller).