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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: FP7 » Risk assessment “saves" millions of lives but…

version: 16 / updated: 2011-02-08
id: #1623 / version id: #249
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Rafael Popper
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Last changed by: Rafael Popper
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 6 - Environment (including Climate Change)

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Natural hazards

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)
MICORE (202798) MOVE (211590) http://www.move-fp7.eu/

Uploaded reports, images or pictures related to the Wild Card

File name File type File size
9 countries image 58049 open
9 case study areas image 251857 open


(max. 9 words)

Risk assessment “saves" millions of lives but…


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
Risk assessment research could save millions of lives but also lead to new social disasters. Such as "ghost towns" or abandonment of "unwanted people". Highly influential risk assessment could unexpectedly result in a widespread relocation of population as governments and insurance companies use research findings to relocate firms and jobs. By providing public access to key information about the intensity and impacts of possible extreme storm events, a European early warning study on coastal risks (unintentionally) leads to socio-economic disaster (e.g. investment and property crises) in selected case study areas in several countries. Major risks related to the relocation of "unwanted people".


coastal risk, risk assessment, early warning, insurance, population, relocation, cities


(max. 250 characters)

Risk assessment study leads to new risks as specific people, places or practices are avoided. As people migrate from areas described as "highly risky", new risks start to emerge around the systemic challenges associated to the relocation of millions.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
Risk avoidance becomes big business, and a big influence on business. Legal and other services that create assessments and that audit the action based upon them are increasingly prominent.
Feature 2: education and research environment
Ethical issues in risk analysis confronted systematically in many fields of study.
Feature 3: consumers, markets and lifestyles
Consumer behaviour increasingly informed by risk assessment. Proliferation of different sources of advice, and controversies around these. Some signs of risk fatigue as warnings discredited.
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
Greater precautions built into critical infrastructure. Need for more flexible systems to adapt to unpredictable changes.
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
Accusations that risk pronouncements are politically motivated.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
While some catastrophic loss of life and injuries are averted, stress is placed on facilities in regions with high immigration.
Feature 7: security and defence
Risk refugees become a challenge to border controls.

Type of event

Unplanned consequence of events/trends/situations (e.g. financial crisis, accidental breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.

Type of systems affected

Human-built Systems - E.g. organisations, processes, technologies, etc.




please specify:
please select
Level 1: important for a particular country Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria
Level 3: important for the European Union

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

Growing availability of information about risk areas in Europe.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
economic filters (business/market interests)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably pervasive way (contagious or transmittable)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Collapse of a system
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)


Mass-migration collapses and transforms social-economic systems associated to the relocation of millions of refugees.

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Environmental Growing frequency in natural disasters.

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
(within 1 year after the Wild Card manifests)
Mass migration.

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Academic/Research sector Warn potential users of research findings about the need for responsible communication strategies.
Media Beware of the risks of inappropriate coverage/reporting of risk assessment research findings.

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Coexistence and conflicts
Diseases, health and well-being
Social pathologies & ethics
Social exclusion & poverty
Social cohesion and diversity
Urban and rural dynamics
Sustainability and climate change Need for procedures on how to deal with the risks of producing information about risks

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology
Environment (including Climate Change)
Regional development Particularly in coastal areas

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Overcoming sub-criticality and systemic failures
To be subcritical means that the effort in a particular field or subfield lacks resources, equipment or a sufficient number of researchers to achieve a desired goal
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Development of risk assessment needs to be accompanied by better analysis of risk communication.