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Professor Ragnar Lofstedt

Professor Ragnar Löfstedt

Ragnar LofstedtProfessor

Director, King's Centre for Risk Management

Email:  ragnar.lofstedt@kcl.ac.uk 
Tel:  +44 (0)20 7848 1404 
Department of Geography 
King's College London 
K7.45 Strand Campus 
London  
WC2R 2LS

 

Biography

Ragnar E. Löfstedt is Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King’s Centre for Risk Management, King’s College London, UK where he teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management. 

Previously he was a Reader in Social Geography at the University of Surrey, UK. He is also an adjunct Faculty at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health where he directs the Risk Communication Challenge Course for continuing education professionals. He is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Public Sector Research, Gothenburg University, Sweden. 

Dr Löfstedt earned his BA and MA degrees at University of California Los Angeles (1988) and Clark University (1991), respectively, before completing his PhD in geography at Clark University (1993). After a post-doctorate position at the Risk, Society and Policy Group at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) (Laxenburg, Austria), he joined the University of Surrey as a lecturer in social geography before coming to Kings in 2002. 

He has conducted research in risk communication and management in such areas as renewable energy policy, transboundary environmental issues (acid rain and nuclear power), health and safety, telecommunications, biosafety, pharmaceuticals, and the siting of building of incinerators, fuel policy, nuclear waste installations and railways. He is a believer in the building of public trust in regulators and industry via proactive risk communication and argues that high regulatory/industry trust is equivalent to low public perceived risk.

From March - November 2011 Professor Löfstedt served as the Chair of an independent Government review of health and safety legislation. The Lofstedt Review "Reclaiming health and safety for all" was launched 28 November 2011 and the UK Government response accepted all of the 26 recommendations.

Dr Löfstedt is the author/editor of ten books and over 90 peer reviewed articles/book chapters. He is the editor-in-chief for Journal of Risk Research and editor of the Risk in Society book series from Earthscan. He also serves on the editorial boards of International Journal of Risk Assessment and ManagementEuropean Journal of Risk RegulationJournal of Health CommunicationRisk Management, and SAPIENS

He was previously on the Academic Advisory Board of the UK National Patient Safety Agency, as well as a member of the European Food Safety Authority’s Advisory Group on Risk Communications. He has served as a senior advisor to the City of Vienna on risk communication and nuclear power and to the City of Gothenburg on climate change. 

His work has been funded by the European Science Foundation, European Commission, the US National Science Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, UK ESRC, and UK EPSRC and an array of private institutions. He has given invited lectures on risk communication and management issues at Cambridge, Harvard Business School, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School, Jet Propulsion Laboratories-Cal Tech, MIT, UC Berkeley, NASA Head Quarters, Finnish Parliament, Oxford, Princeton, and Yale School of Management. He has given evidence to the House of Commons and given invited lectures to the European Parliament and the German Bundestag. He has consulted widely for industry and regulators including Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), NASA, National Grid plc, Shell Oil, the State of Baden Wurttemberg (Germany), Swedish Chemical Industry Association, the Swedish Chemical Inspectorate, and Vattenfall AB. 

In December 2000 Ragnar Löfstedt was awarded (as the first non American) the Chauncey Starr Award for exceptional contributions to the field of risk analysis for someone under the age of 40 by the Society for Risk Analysis and in 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). In 2006 he was presented with the Outstanding Service Award from the SRA. 

Research interests
  • The development of evidence based health and safety policies
  • Risk communication (with a specific focus on the chemical, environment, food, and pharmaceutical areas)
  • The role of transparency in policy making
  • Evidence based policy making in Europe
Teaching

Programme Director MSc/MA Risk Analysis

Core course on MSc/MA Risk Analysis: Risk Communication, Risk Assessment

The Löfstedt review

In the spring of 2011 Professor Ragnar Lofstedt was asked to conduct an independent review of health and safety regulation in the UK.  The purpose of the Review was to “consider the opportunities for reducing the burden of health and safety legislation on UK businesses while maintaining the progress made in improving health and safety outcomes.”  The Review examined approximately 200 statutory instruments as well as the associated Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP) which provide advice, with special legal status, on compliance with health and safety law.  On 28 November 2011, the Review was launched at which time Professor Lofstedt’s overall conclusion that there is no evidence for radically altering current health and safety legislation.  This overwhelming view was expressed by a wide range of stakeholders including groups that represent employers.  That is not to say that every piece of regulation contributes to a safer and healthier work place.  

There are other factors that drive businesses to go beyond what the regulations require and beyond what is proportionate and are a bigger problem than the regulations themselves, which are discussed in the Review.

The Lofstedt Review included 26 recommendations.  Some of these intended to clarify and simplify the existing regulatory requirements.  Others are aimed at improving the way the regulations are applied and enforced.  At the time the Review was launched the UK Government accepted all 26 recommendations.  Following on from the Review, Prof Lofstedt has given evidence on it to the House of Commons and in May 2012 he was asked by the Minister of Employment, Minister Chris Grayling, to look at how the recommendations are being implemented one year on.  

Funding

2010-2013 Public perceptions to nanotechnology, European Commission, £35,000

2007 - 2010 AQUAMAX: Consumer perceptions of farmed fish, European Commission, £311,098. 

2005-8 Risk Communication case studies, Pfizer, $247,403 

2006 Risk Communication workshop, European Food Safety Authority, $43,739 

2004/5 Safe Foods, European Commission, $143,968 

2002/2003 Risk World 2020, European Patent Office - Health & Safety Executive, Electricite de France, Shell International, $274,770 

2002/2003 Socially and Environmentally Efficient Technologies for Biomass energy Production, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), $231,099

PhD topics

Possible PhD research topics

  • Better regulation in the European Union
  • Better regulation in the UK
  • Comparison of present environmental regulatory structures US-UK
  • Risk communication in a post trust world
  • Implementation of regulations in a post trust world
  • Development of risk communication strategies in the new EU states-lessons of governance
  • Developing EU health and safety regulation
PhD students
Current PhD Students
Chris Bennett 
Managing and prioritising action in relation to multiple perceived risks affecting the self and others: a study of factors contributing to the incidence of adverse events in acute hospitals (2007 - )
 

Lukasz Erecinski 
A Difficult Pill to Swallow: risk perception and distrust in the Polish pharmaceutical industry (2011 - )

David Self 
Risk Regulation in the EU: The Case of Food Safety (2011 - )

Dominic Way
Risk Communication and Transparency in Europe

Completed PhDs
Dr Sweta Chakraborty 2011
Communicating Risk in a Distrusted Environment
Oxford University
 
Dr Jamie Wardman 2010
Communication and conflict in the risk governance of mobile telecommunications technology
University of Hong Kong
 
Dr Jacopo Torriti 2008
Functional dimension of the European Commission's impact assessment system in the EU regulatory framework
University of Reading
 

Dr Frederic Bouder 2008
Understanding the contribution of risk perception and risk communications to the variation of the tolerability of risk in the pharmaceutical industry University of Maastricht

Dr Bruce Bratley 1997
A political ecology of household waste management in Cleveland
CFO at First Mile
 

Dr Andrew Jones 1999 - deceased

Impact, innovation and outreach
Public and Private Sector - Europe and North America
  • European Commission 
  • European Parliament 
  • General Electric
  • HM Treasury 
  • Pfizer 
  • UK Cabinet Office 
  • US Office of Management and Budget
Editor and Chief

Journal of Risk Research

Editorial Boards
  • European Journal of Risk Regulation 
  • SAPIENS 
  • International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 
  • Journal of Health Communication 
  • Journal of Risk Management
Publications

For a full list of publications, please visit Professor Löfstedt's research profile.

 

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