Intervention le 18 juin 2015 – National Institute For Public Health and the Environment (Bilthoven, Netherlands)

Conference : Evidence based innovation, quality of information and its use in risk assessment and risk management – third Paris Risk Group Conference. 

Communication : Introducing social sciences in risk assessment: the case of ANSES (France)

Abstract : Social sciences are now involved in Health Safety & Environment Agencies. In France, social scientists have been participating in working groups for several years, particularly those set up to provide expertise on controversial issues such as nanomaterials, pesticides or endocrine disruptors. Our presentation will provide the conclusions of an ongoing research conducted on the uses of social sciences in working groups  at ANSES. The research is based on the qualitative analysis of five working groups (through interviews, observations and the analysis of written material). It uncovers a growing familiarity and a general process of acculturation towards social sciences among agency staff and experts, in spite of a poorly specified initial mandate given to social scientists. To overcome difficulties, social scientists have developed a set of strategies based on their specific knowledge,  a certain level of ignorance and a critical reflexivity. Capitalizing on such strategies, the agency should clarify what it expects from the involvement of social scientists in expert procedures, beyond a mere participation.