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An Integrated Assessment Frame as Science Policy Interface for Decisions on (Environment-related) Risks (SCOPE) (PHASE II)

Research project SD/TA/10B (Research action SD)

Persons :

  • Dr.  TORFS Rudi - Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2009-31/1/2011
  • Prof. dr.  ZWETKOFF Catherine - Université de Liège (ULG)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2009-31/1/2011

Description :


Policy decisions for a more sustainable society are based on a balanced judgment of ecological, economic and social aspects. SCoPE can help in the process of policy choices with a science based methodological approach. Thus, the project will be able to supply instruments for a sustainable society.

Project description


The general objective is to develop an integrated assessment framework, supporting the Federal and regional governments in Belgium, aiming to:
- improve transparency and communication between science, policy and resource management communities and stakeholders;
- help policy makers in setting environmental health priorities and taking balanced decisions;
- integrate different scientific disciplines/knowledge in a methodology:
o Severity and frequency of the health impact ( ~ risk assessment)
o Corroboration (~ (un)certainty or scientific assessment)
o Public perception (~ concern assessment)
o Economy (~ socio-economic assessment)

Methodology and interaction between the different partners

• Study of specialized literature on integrated assessment and content analyses of policy documents
• Defining essential criteria as basis for an integrated assessment frame for policy decision making on (environment-related) risks
• First assessment of the criteria and the policy decision frame with a set of users: Delphi-/focus groups and/or in-depth interviews
• Valuing the criteria in a first set of environmental risk-related case studies and consultation/feedback of experts
• Second assessment of the policy decision frame with a set of users defined earlier: Delphi-/focus groups and/or in-depth interviews
• Scoring the criteria with values in a first set of risky environment- and non-environment-related case studies and consultation/feedback of experts
• Third assessment of the policy decision frame with a set of users defined earlier: Delphi-/focus groups and/or in-depth interviews
• Conclusion, dissemination of the results and discussion

Expected results and/or products


- a validated integrated assessment frame as science policy interface for decisions on environment-related and other risks
- a set of guidelines, a methodology reporting on how to perform an integrated risk assessment and how to compare the results with other risks for policy makers and a number of reference values for future, new risk assessments
- the demonstration of this framework for a number of environment- and non-environment related case studies
- insights into scientific decision processes – more specifically in the integration and reviewing of literature data in different science domains
- insights into the values and risk profiles of different groups/users in society
- insights into how risk experts deal with integration of their data in a broader scientific/policy framework
- insights into how policy makers are open for these kinds of frameworks
- insights into better risk communication between scientists and policy makers
- new recommendations for local and national policy makers on one or more of the risk aspects studied in the cases


- report of the literature study
- an assessment frame (e.g. in the form of a graphic diagram) that can easily be used by policy makers to communicate to the public at large and to the press
- a summary report of the main results of the interviews with experts in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia, and recommendations to improve the framework
- (optional) website for a larger audience, e.g. for interactive questionnaire on individual values with respect to risks
- results will be disseminated through (a) workshop(s)/symposium
- the validated methodology and the results of the case studies will be published, e.g. on the Internet
- (optional) newsletter



Vito (Integrated Environmental Studies) is coordinator (C) and has a proven track record in the field of environmental health risk assessment and environmental policy support. Vito is responsible for the development of case studies, and the integration of scientific disciplines into a common methodology….

SPIRAL is partner 1 (P1). This multidisciplinary laboratory has developed its expertise around risk studies and participatory methods. SPIRAL is responsible for organizing the survey of value data and assessing the policy decisional frame.

Contact Information


Rudi Torfs
Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
Integrated Environmental Studies
Boeretang 200
B-2400 Mol
Tel: +32 (0)14 33.58.66/38
Fax: +32 (0)


Catherine Zwetkoff
University of Liège
Scientific and Public Involvement in Risk Allocations Laboratory (SPIRAL)
7, Boulevard du Rectorat
B-4000 Liège
Tel: +32 (0)4 366.30.12
Fax: +32 (0)4 366.29.82

Follow-up Committee

Robby Berloznik - Vlaams Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk en Technologisch Aspectenonderzoek
Pierre Biot - SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement
Marc Bogaert - Vlaamse Overheid
Alain Bozet - Ministère de la Région Wallonne
Karina De Beule - Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij
Anneleen De Smedt - Milieu-en Natuurraad van Vlaanderen
Gilbert Eggermont - Centre d’Etudes de l’Energie
Maja Mampaey - AMINAL
Koen Moerman - Service public fédéral de programmation Développement durable
Bob Nieuwejaers - Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap
Francis Noyen - Milieu-en Natuurraad van Vlaanderen
Véronique Paternostre - Inter-Environnement Wallonie
Catherine Rousseau - Centre de Recherche et d'Information des Organisations de Consommateurs (CRIOC)
J.-P. Van Steenberghe - Ministerie van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk gewest
Marleen Van Steertegem - Vlaamse Milieu Maatschappij
Christine Vinkx - SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement
Frank Van Thillo - Mobiliteitsraad van Vlaanderen

Documentation :

Une démarche d'évaluation intégrée comme outil d'interface entre science et politique pour la gestion des risques (environnementaux) : résumé des résultats    Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2011 (SP2311)
[To download

SCoPE (seriousness, corroboration, perception, and economy): an integrated assessment frame as science policy interface for decisions on (environment-related) risks : summary of the results    Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2011 (SP2312)
[To download

Handling complex risks, issues in the domain of environment and health - "Scope" : final report  Torfs, R. - Zwetkoff, C.  Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2011 (SP2301)
[To download]  [To order

Een kader voor een geïntegreerde evaluatie van milieugerelateerde risico's om beleidsbeslissingen wetenschappelijk te onderbouwen : samanvatting van de resultaten    Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2011 (SP2310)
[To download

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