ENG-638 / 2 credits

Teacher(s): Cardia Isabelle Barbara Marie-Hélène, Florin Marie-Valentine Renée Agnès

Language: English

Remark: Cancelled in 2023-2024


Every year


The course offers an opportunity for students to meet the challenge of producing and communicating scientific evidence to an international policy making audience by participating in an International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) expert workshop and contributing to the writing of a policy brief.


Policy must be informed by science, but understanding policy needs is equally important. To provide guidance and generic recommendations to policymakers, some work must be done at the interface between science and policy.
Purpose of the course: To confront PhD students with the reality of policymaking and the difficulty of providing scientific information relevant to policy.
Structure of the course: Students will choose one of IRGs expert workshops in which to participate. Topics include climate engineering, digitalisation and space debris. For the most up-to-date list of IRGC's expert workshops, please see the course webpage: https://go.epfl.ch/eng_638
Format: Over 4 to 6 months, students participate in the preparation of an expert workshop, in particular through research for a briefing paper. They then attend a 2-day interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder expert workshop. Finally, they produce a paper, focusing on evidence-based policy recommendations. The course awards 2 academic credits. Admission to this course is subject to a short application process.
For a list of topics the IRGC is working on, please visit the IRGC website


The course is composed of modules which open at various times in the year. See https://go.epfl.ch/eng_638 for more information

Use this form to register to the course : http://shorturl.at/tBEOT


Risk governance, International policy,

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Formulate policy-relevant recommendations on selected topics that are part of the work programme of the International Risk Governance Center.



European Commission, Scientific evidence for policy-making, 2008 - Paul Cairney, The politics of evidence-based policy making, 2016
- Marc Willemsen, Scientific Evidence and policy learning, 2018 - Andrea Saltelli & Mario Giampietro, What is wrong with evidence based policy and how can it be improved, 2017 - Ortwin Renn, Risk governance coping with uncertainty in a complex world, 2008 -

Ressources en bibliothèque


In the programs

  • Exam form: Term paper (session free)
  • Subject examined: Producing evidence that makes sense to policy
  • Lecture: 24 Hour(s)
  • Type: optional

Reference week

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