Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight, Lloyd’s Register Foundation

In my role as Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, I often talk to potential partner organisations to help us construct new modules and questions for one of our flagship research programmes – the World Risk Poll. One of the first questions I ask these partners is: ‘How will this data support your work in practice? How will it enable you to make people safer?’

An ambitious programme

When we first conceived the World Risk Poll, it was not done for curiosity’s sake. The programme responded to a glaring data gap on risk, especially in the many parts of the world where little or no official safety data exists. The intention was to create a much-needed resource to help define the nature and scale of safety challenges across the world, thereby supporting policymakers and others to address those challenges and save lives.

The range of safety challenges that the Poll covers is broad, as it must be, because this is a people-centred exercise, and the range of threats to safety experienced by people around the world in their day-to-day lives is diverse, multi-faceted and interconnected.

In the most recent edition of the Poll, conducted in 2021 and published in 2022, we drilled down into safety issues ranging from violence and harassment at work, through misuse of personal data and AI technologies, to resilience in the face of climate-change related disasters and severe weather events. Meanwhile, perennial threats such as road traffic and crime re-emerged as the biggest perceived risks to people’s safety in many countries.

With such a large and ambitious dataset – our partners at Gallup interviewed 125,000 people in 121 countries for the 2021 Poll – it can be hard to know where to start in terms of turning the knowledge and insights generated into tangible action that makes people safer.

An agenda for action

That’s where the Global Action Agenda on Risk and Resilience – published today – comes in. Working closely with our partners at Resilience Rising, we consulted with a broad range of stakeholders – including government, academia, inter- and non-government organisations, and the private sector – to understand existing knowledge gaps and the primary avenues and opportunities to improve global safety and resilience.

The result is a guiding set of priorities that enables risk and resilience researchers and practitioners to start exploiting the World Risk Poll dataset to its full potential, using key insights including:

  • the key indicators and determinants of public risk perception;
  • how experience informs risk perception;
  • the gaps that exist between risk perception and actual risk;
  • the sources of information about risk that people trust (or not);
  • and the key indicators and determinants of personal and societal resilience.

The agenda represents an ambitious but necessary roadmap for achieving meaningful progress in a range of critical areas, such as supporting more effective risk communication campaigns, helping better prioritise and target investment in risk reduction and resilience interventions, and enabling better monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is already taking steps to put these insights into action, with almost £2 million of investment announced today in eight secondary research and intervention programmes with a range of partners, built on the 2021 Poll data.

If you and your organisation have an idea and the capacity for a project that will use the World Risk Poll data to improve safety in relation to any of the risk issues it covers, but you missed out on this initial funding call, don’t despair. We are also announcing today that Lloyd’s Register Foundation is making further funding available on an ongoing basis for projects that support the Global Action Agenda on Risk and Resilience. We encourage you to consider the Agenda’s key questions and routes to impact when developing your proposals. We are keen to hear from applicants with expertise across the full range of safety issues covered by the Poll, and from applicants based close to the communities at risk – particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Read the Global Action Agenda on Risk and Resilience, and find out more about funding available from Lloyd’s Register Foundation for projects that support it.

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