Specialisation: Risk Research
Risk is a necessary element of everyday life. It can be defined as the probability and severity of an adverse effect or event occurring to man or to the environment following exposure to a risk source.
Such adverse effects may occur to health. Therefore, it is a crucial aspect in preventive and curative health science alike to be able to understand, characterise and handle risks that can damage human health resulting in the development of disease or injury.
The recognition of the importance of risk research in health sciences, especially in preventive medicine and public health, led to an impressive development in this field and to its growing acknowledgement and use in practice.
General purpose of the specialisation in Risk Research
The aim of the Risk Research specialisation is to give the students a comprehensive knowledge of the concept of risk enabling them to evaluate, plan and implement actions targeting the control of health risks.
Subsequently, health professionals, organisations and the society as a whole will be able to contribute to the provision of the highest achievable level of health for people.
To fulfil this aim, the specialisation will focus on the empowerment of students with the methodological skills of risk assessment, management and communication.
Learning the theoretical background of risk, the concept of probability and uncertainty, and how risk can be expressed are prerequisites in understanding and consequently developing skills to deal with health risks in various contexts.
To be able to identify problems, the level and characteristics of risk must be analysed.
The process of risk assessment is a well-established methodology for this purpose. Students will develop practical skills to carry out:
- the identification of hazards
- the assessment of exposure
- the description of dose-response relationship the characterisation of risk - by using the information collected in the previous steps
Built on the ability to determine unacceptable level of risk, students learn how to handle high-risk situations.
They will get acquainted with strategies of risk governance and develop knowledge and practical skills of risk management, especially focusing on the management of occupational health and safety risks.
As they get familiar with the most important methods used to manage risks to human health, they will be able to:
- plan organisational, engineering and individual measures for eliminating or reducing risk
- assess the effectiveness, the efficiency and the feasibility of the management options
- select the most adequate option
- recommend indicators and methods for the monitoring of the effectiveness of the implemented measure.
Finally, students also learn to consider that there often is a wide gap between scientific risk assessment on one hand and the general public’s subjective perception of risk on the other.
Therefore, they will also acquire knowledge and skills about effective communication of risk which is a key element of risk management, too.
The specialisation in Risk Research intends to bring students comprehensive knowledge of risk theory and practice with emphasis on the development of skills that empower them to identify and describe health risks as well as to plan and evaluate options for their management.
Students who complete the specialisation will become public health professionals prepared to fulfil tasks related to risk assessment and management in private companies as well as in public institutions from local to international level.
The teaching strategy of the specialisation is based on the combined delivery of lectures, group exercises, cases studies and problem-based learning sessions.
The theoretical background of topics covered by lectures is accompanied by practice-oriented group work that enables students to deepen their knowledge and develop practical skills.
The case studies and problems are based on real life examples and students are encouraged to take an active part in bringing personal experiences into the educational process.
Training in group activities provides not only methodological skills but also prepares students for work in practice, as risk research, being a multidisciplinary area, typically involves team activities.