Australian researchers gather for risky Think Tank in Canberra

July 20, 2016

A gathering of some of Australia’s best and brightest minds will begin in Canberra tomorrow (21 July) as part of the Australian Academy of Science’s Think Tank on Risk - An interdisciplinary approach to living in a risky world.

ACT Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Meegan Fitzharris MLA, will open the event tonight, before two days of discussion and brainstorming commence tomorrow.

“Risk and uncertainty are a part of every aspect of our lives,” said Chair of the Think Tank, Professor Hugh Possingham.

“The desire to avoid risk and reduce uncertainty is found in all human societies, but it seems that people aren’t great at estimating and responding to risk and uncertainty,” Professor Possingham said.

He said approximately 60 early and mid-career researchers had been chosen from a diverse range of disciplines to tackle questions around how we can assess, understand and address risk as it applies to individuals, societies and our world.

The four main topics to be discussed include:

  • International security;
  • Risk and resource allocation for the environment;
  • Antimicrobial resistance in a connected world; and
  • Uncertainty, ignorance and partial knowledge.

The findings of the Think Tank will be published in a recommendations report which will be made publicly available later in the year. Reports from previous Think Tanks have been timely, well received and instrumental in influencing policy development and public discussion.

“In 2016, we are extremely grateful to have the generous support of the Theo Murphy (Australia) Fund, which is administered by the UK Royal Society.” Professor Possingham said.

More information on the event can be found at, and on the Academy's Think Tanks in general at

The Chair of the Think Tank, Professor Hugh Possingham, will be available for interview on 20 and 21 July.

Media are invited to attend the event’s opening at 7:00pm on 20 July at the Shine Dome in Canberra, and the Think Tank itself which begins at 9:00am on 21 July.

Contact: Dion Pretorius | E: | T: (02) 6201 9452 | M: 0418281777

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science