INQUIMUS workshop series
INQUIMUS is latin for WE SAY. a workshop series aiming to provide exchange, new inspiration and generative dialogues
There is growing demand by policy- and action-oriented users for operational and integrative assessments of complex, multidimensional phenomena such as vulnerability and resilience. In recent years, quantitative and qualitative assessment methods as part of targeted efforts to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation have been pushed towards operational levels. Whilst the scientific progress regarding the development of theoretical frameworks and associated definitions has been remarkable, further attention needs to be given to coherent assessment methods. Therefore, we need a critical scientific discussion on assessment methodologies that evaluates and benchmarks approaches and intervention options. In the context of social-ecological systems and complex and multi-dimensional phenomena, a key issue is the relevance of spatial and temporal monitoring and how it can effectively support decision making.
Against this background, the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg, Austria and the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) initiated in 2014 a series of INQUIMUS workshops (lat. “we say”) – Integrating quantitative and qualitative assessment methodologies for multi-dimensional phenomena. The purpose of these highly interactive workshops is to identify common achievements and methodological challenges, which will enable us to identify insights and future ways ahead. Additionally, these workshops will provide the possibility to exchange with practitioners who are active in this field and interested in the application and operationalization of assessments.
More information about our past workshops see below.
INQUIMUS 2021: Transformational risk management and Loss & Damage: What are suitable approaches for assessing climate-related (residual) risks?
Climate change is accelerating and in combination with other drivers (i.e. exposure, vulnerability) the dynamics of risks are increasing (i.e. risk is harder to assess with standard approaches). There is first evidence of related impacts breaching physical and social adaptation limits, highlighting the need for tackling ‘residual climate-related risks’. Residual risks being defined as potential negative impacts after all feasible mitigation and adaptation measures have been implemented. Identifying policy solutions for dealing with risks ‘beyond adaptation’ – referred to as Loss and Damage – has recently become the third pillar in the international climate policy process next to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Of particular importance for improving the science-policy interface is the development of comprehensive risk assessment methodologies as well as indicators that inform policy and decision makers about climate-related risks beyond adaptation limits. Moreover, the IPCC’s recent report on 1,5°C global warming has strongly emphasized the role of, and need for, transformational risk management once adaptation limits are being exceeded. The IPCC defines transformation as “deep, systemic change that requires reconfiguration of socio-ecological systems”.
However, praxis-oriented research and evidence remains scarce and existing scientific approaches reach their limits. Particularly, with regards to assessing risks beyond adaptation and designing transformational risk management practice and policy.
At the INQUIMUS 2021 workshop scientists and practitioners – working in different fields – had the opportunity to advance in cross-fertilization scientific concepts, methods and tools and to share best practices in different application contexts.
Key questions driving the discussion during the workshop were:
What are the needs of decision advisors/makers and from a science perspective for comprehensively assessing and managing compound and systemic climate-related risks that may lead beyond adaptation limits? What are the gaps in existing risk assessment methodologies in the context of climate-related risks beyond adaptation limits? What are experiences that showcase the spectrum of risk management options from incremental to transformational risk management? (How) can existing risk assessment methods and tools be further developed (or need to be dropped) to address these gaps? And/or must risk science transform itself?
As usual at INQUIMUS events, the workshop was moderated to foster a highly interactive and generative event. Conventional presentations played a minor role. Invited keynotes presented the state-of-the-art of particular methods followed by a focused discussion on current achievements and challenges. Case studies presented as posters and accompanied the workshop to provide further insights into the application of methodologies. The workshop took place at IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria.
- Reviewing and discussing the state-of-the art (incl. data, methods and tools) regarding dynamic risk assessments, and the simulation of the effect of risk reduction and adaptation options
- Identifying remaining challenges, and exploring opportunities for future research and transferring established approaches
INQUIMUS 2019: Data, methods and tools for dynamic risk assessments: What are the requirements, and how to tackle persisting challenges?
Overview of the INQUIMUS 2019 workshop: Recognising that the vast majority of risk assessments are still based on static (e.g. index-based) approaches and often do not adequately represent the inherent complexities (e.g. feedbacks and coupling, inter-indicator relationships) and space-time dynamics of risk and its components (hazard, exposure and vulnerability), this year’s workshop sought to explore the challenges and opportunities in this fast-growing field. The following questions guided the workshop’s aims:
*Which types of inherent complexities and space-time dynamics should be considered when assessing risk and its components? How can we simulate the effect of human behaviour and potential risk reduction or adaptation options on risk patterns and trends? Which data, methods and tools are needed (and do exist) to represent and capture these dynamics in assessments? How can big data support dynamic assessments? What are the major challenges, and what would be the potential ways forward?*
INQUIMUS 2019 took place in the premises of UNU-EHS at the UN-Campus in Bonn, Germany. The workshop kicked off with an opening talk by Dr Zita Sebesvari of UNU-EHS, on the implications of information scarcity for assessing coastal risk dynamics in the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere (SCROCC). In keeping with the interactive format of previous INQUIMUS workshops, 2019 was no exception. It featured 3 keynote presentations from guest speakers, each followed by a highly interactive break-out group discussion. The break-out group discussions were also informed by a series of case studies presented by participants on topics ranging from impact chains of mudflows in Tajikistan to recent high tide flooding in Venice. The 3 State-of-the-Art (SOTA) talks were given by:
*Sergio Freire of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on ‘Dynamics in Hazard and Exposure’ Dr Zinta Zommers of UNDRR on ‘Inherent Complexities and Dynamics in Vulnerability’ Toon Haer of Vrije University Amsterdam on ‘Simulating the Effect of Human Behaviour, DRR & Adaptation Options on Risk Patterns and Trends’*
Alongside the SOTAs, participants were asked to bring along and present posters in an interactive, elevator-style format on the topic of dynamic risk assessment. Topics presented ranged from urban growth modelling for future exposure assessment to measuring social vulnerability to malaria using systems dynamics. INQUIMUS 2019 provided much space and time for the stimulating exchange of new ideas and insights. Off the back of much discussion, the workshop identified the following challenges and opportunities to dynamic risk assessments:
*Existing approaches to risk assessment only partly capture dynamics, which can lead to misleading policy messages Data quality, availability and access issues hamper progress towards scaling up assessments of dynamics of exposure from local to global States often do not have the capacity to capture dynamics in vulnerability, e.g. through disaggregated data collection for indicators Simulating adaptive behaviour needs a lot more primary data for validation Big data (e.g. remote sensing, mobile phone data, crowdsourcing etc.) offers many avenues to explore dynamics in exposure and vulnerability, while agent-based models, Bayesian networks, systems dynamics models and scenario modelling offer solutions for addressing some of these challenges in respect to the effects of adaptive behaviour on risk*
Background to INQUIMUS 2019 workshop: Understanding and reducing disaster risk are key priorities in international policy documents and agendas, and the need for improved knowledge and information on drivers, hotspots and dynamics of disaster risk has been repeatedly stressed by scientists, practitioners and policy makers. As a result we have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of risk assessments over the past decades aiming to inform the identification and planning of risk reduction and adaptation options. While the need for integrative, transdisciplinary approaches for understanding and assessing the inherent complexity and dynamic nature of risk (in all its dimensions of hazard, exposure and vulnerability) has been widely acknowledged, the development and application of methods and tools to better understand and assess that complexity has not kept pace yet. Today, the majority of risk assessments are still based on static (e.g. index-based) approaches and often do not represent the inherent complexities (e.g. feedbacks and coupling, inter-indicator relationships) and space-time dynamics of risk and its components adequately. Dynamic modelling approaches (e.g. agent-based models, Bayesian networks, system dynamics approaches, etc.) offer new opportunities not only for more dynamic risk assessments (e.g. human-environmental interaction, space-time dynamics), but also for simulating the potential effects of human behavior and risk reduction/adaptation options on risk patterns and trends.
The INQUIMUS workshop 2019 aimed at:
INQUIMUS 2018: Mehtods and tools to assess mult-hazard risk, vulnerability and resilience.
“Methods and tools to assess multi-hazard risk, vulnerability and resilience” was the topic of fifth INQUIMUS workshop. The workshop was held from 3rd – 5th of December 2018 at Ca’ Foscari Challenge School in Venice, Italy.
The workshop started with an inspirational talk about ‘Venice and its lagoon in the era of global changes’ from Jonathan Baker Head of the Science Unit of the UNESCO office in Venice. His presentation showed the extensive UNESCO cultural heritage in Venice and the natural and anthropogenic hazards (e.g. high tide and mass tourism) that are increasing and need to be addressed so to avoid future irreversible damages due to climate change and anthropogenic pressures.
The meeting gathered 39 participants, with a high diversity of thematic backgrounds from junior to distinguished senior scientists. The workshop included keynote presentations and a poster session fostering interactive discussions and presentations. The days of the workshop were characterised by group discussions and brainstorming: a unique and fruitful approach promoting cross-fertilization of ideas. By doing so, INQUIMUS aims to be a platform of exchange, using new approaches of moderation – often in the academic arena.
State-of-the-art talks (SOTA) where provided by a diversity of experts and scientists:
*Jakob Zscheischler reflected on the current challenges of assessing future compound weather and climate events Christian Kuhlicke reflected on the importance of social and behavioural scientists for disaster risk assessment, highlighting the need and limitations of integrating social qualitative approaches Marie Hallissey presented the practical experiences of the GOAL organisation in risk assessment and response across differing humanitarian context Marco Corsi presented the experience and services offered by the Copernicus programme for Disaster Management through social media data analysis*
Next to these SOTAs, participants presented a wide range of posters, from literature reviews on methods and tools to tackle the multi-hazard risk challenges, to ecosystem-based adaptation measures, GIS applications, Bayesian networks for stochastic assessments of multi-risk processes, complex systems analysis (e.g. system dynamics models and graph methods), machine learning techniques and decision support systems.
BACKGROUND TO INQUIMUS 2018 WORKSHOP
The thematic scope of the INQUIMUS 2018 workshop was on methods and tools to assess multi-hazard risk, vulnerability and resilience. Data gaps regarding the environmental and socioeconomic drivers of risk and vulnerability combined with methodological challenges hamper the development of such scenarios. This is particularly problematic given the need for scenarios by planners and decision-makers in the context of climate change adaptation as well as in disaster risk reduction.
INQUIMUS 2018 reflected on the following topics and invited abstracts covering one or more of the following questions:
*Why do we need multi-risk assessments? What are the gaps in developing and applying multi-risk assessments? What are new / innovative methods and approaches for these tasks? How can IT help us in understanding multi-risk dynamics and in validating of results?*
INQUIMUS 2018 provided a setting for generative conversations. Following the interpretation of workshop results, the participants identified open issues to be addressed in the context of multi-hazard risk, vulnerability and resilience:
*Who does need multi-risk assessments? What level of complexity should we stop at in order to describe multi-risk processes? How to integrate social scientists research for a comprehensive multi-risk assessment? Including indirect impacts (e.g. health) into the risk cascade The need of trans-sectoral perspective supporting multi-risk assessment How to communicate complexity to stakeholders? How (and how far) perform outputs aggregation? Higher demand for training and validation data for impacts assessment*
INQUIMUS 2017: How can scientific assessments inform decisions for problem-solving in practice?
“INQUIMUS into ACTION – How can scientific assessments inform decisions for problem-solving in practice” was the topic of fourth INQUIMUS workshop. The workshop was successfully held from 19th – 21st of September 2017 at Eurac Research in Bolzano.
The meeting gathered more than 20 participants with four high level keynote speakers and a number of posters representing a large variety of research activities from different thematic backgrounds and presented by Phd students, junior and distinguished senior scientists. The short keynote (or SOTA) talks were followed by in-depth discussions allowing to scrutinise the topics at stake at a level of detail, which is usually not possible during conferences and workshops.
So called, state-of-the-art talks (SOTA) where provided by a diversity of experts and scientists:
Paul Henshaw spoke about “OpenQuake: informing Disaster Risk Reduction Policy through open and collaborative Earthquake Risk Assessment”
Susanne Schwan gave her talk on “Decision support through climate risk assessments? Experiences with the Sourcebook Vulnerability”
Orsola Lussignoli and André Walter spoke about “Risk assessment and monitoring at different national scales – examples of participative and indicator-based approaches applied in Germany”
Jim Kronhamn’s talk was on “The Swedish process for national risk assessment”
Next to these SOTAs participants presented a range of posters, including a review of modelling techniques for multi-risk assessments and climate change adaptation in mountain regions, the Extreme Climate Index: a novel and multi-hazard index for extreme weather events, combining environmental and economic assessment with a desire to facilitate inclusive and equitable decision making, a multi-hazard Bayesian Network approach for the assessment of climate change and anthropic impacts on water quality and Increasing the utility of index-based risk assessment tools – A case study from the Philippines.
Most of the time participants exchanged and developed new ideas, thoughts and insights in a range of interactive session.
The INQUIMUS workshop 2017 elaborated on the extent to which combined quantitative and qualitative assessment approaches have been successful in their support to decision making and whether they have contributed in practice to solving problems. Against this background methods applied for (normative or subjective) assessments and ways how to validate the usefulness of scientifc outputs were scrutinised. We argued these topics with stakeholders and users acting at various levels (local, national and international / European) and in different contexts. During the workshop, the following questions were leading our discussions:
Under which circumstances do mixed methods result influence actions, decisions & policies? Which issues are key for bringing these results into practice? Where are obstacles to do so and how can we foster the wider application of these methods and the uptake of their results by users?
How do methods and responsibilities for the assessment step of our studies look like? How do we give meaning to the numbers we produce with our models / indices / questionnaires for example in order to specify the relevance for a probability to experience a severe drought? How do scientific studies deal with the decisions of normative or subjective character?
What role does validation play in scientific studies in order to verify the usefulness of the selected approach and the produced results? How and by whom is success (or failure) monitored and assessed?
Is the way, mixed methods results are communicated, satisfactory? Are uncertainties and normative decisions on the way to these results represented appropriately?
How are the various uncertainties, which are linked with the results of our assessments, communicated and how are these uncertainties considered in the process of decision making.
INQUIMUS 2016: Spatial and temporal dynamics of risk and vulnerability.
Spatial and temporal dynamics of risk and vulnerability’ was the topic of the third INQUIMUS workshop. The workshop was held from 21st – 23rd of September 2016 at the Edmundsburg above the roofs of Salzburg.
The meeting gathered more than 30 participants, with a high diversity of different thematic backgrounds as well as from junior to distinguished senior scientists. Discussions and presentations where held in a very interactive way, which define the unique character of to the INQUIMUS workshops. It aims to be a platform of exchange, using new approaches of moderation – often unusual in the academic arena.
The workshop started with an inspirational talk about ‘The futurist from Salzburg – Robert Jungk’ from Stefan Wally of the Robert Jungk Library for Future Studies. Throughout his time in modern history, Jungk has been called a forward thinker, and explorer of the future and a proponent of peace. The presentation reminded the participants that the future is made in the presence, and that the involvement of those concerned remains key.
So called, state-of-the-art talks (SOTA) where provided by a diversity of experts and scientists: • Hans-Martin Füssel reflected on the use of scenarios from the perspective of the European Environmental Agency as well as requirements for vulnerability assessment • Susan Cutter reflected on her experience and active involvement in the recent IPCC processes and the development of the ‘consolidated’ risk framework • Jasper van Vliet provided insights on how land use scenarios are implemented and what are related challenges • Anne Goujon provided an overview on socio-demographic scenarios and how they can be integrated in risk and vulnerability assessments
Next to these SOTAs participants presented a range of posters, including case studies of risk and vulnerability assessments or the development of new indices as well as data for scenarios. The poster collection is available online. Most of the time participants exchanged and developed new ideas, thoughts and insights in a range of interactive session.
As a common conclusion, the participants identified open issues to be addressed in the context of ‘risk and vulnerability scenarios’: • Systematic assessment of scenarios and their use in decision making • Weighting of indicators, especially in a multi-hazard environment • Interaction of vulnerability drivers remains open • Aiming to non-privilege certain knowledge or schools of thinking • Vulnerability studies in the big data domain • The intention to strengthen co-evolution of policy and risk/vulnerability assessments • Challenges is the domains of quantitative vs qualitative assessments, and expert-based vs participatory approaches • How can scenarios be put into best possible practice? • How can IPCC approach to digest, harvest and synthesize scientific knowledge be transferred to other domains • Linking of risk/vulnerability with impacts
The thematic scope of the 2016 INQUIMUS workshop was on scenarios relevant for assessments of risks and vulnerabilities. Data gaps regarding the environmental and socioeconomic drivers of risk and vulnerability combined with methodological challenges hamper the development of such scenarios. This is particularly problematic given the need for scenarios by planners and decision-makers in the context of climate change adaptation as well as in disaster risk reduction.
INQUIMUS 2016 reflected on the following topics and invited abstracts covering one or more of the following questions: • How do we build scenarios relevant for risk and vulnerability in disaster research and/or climate change adaptation? • How do we build on existing socio-economic and environmental data to produce integrated scenarios? • How do we bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative scenarios? • How can we integrate our knowledge from the past into future projections? • How can scenarios for risk and vulnerability assessments support better decision-making? • What are the requirements for scenario-based approaches to be used in practice? • What specific challenges exist in the development of scenarios and projections, for example regarding economic or population growth or anthropogenic activities (e.g., unrest, urbanization, land use/cover changes)? INQUIMUS 2016 provided a setting for generative conversations. In addition to the thematic questions above, we explored the following guiding questions throughout the workshop: • Why do we develop and use scenarios? • What future possibilities of practice we want to serve with the development of scenarios for risk and vulnerability assessments? • What are we trying to create?
INQUIMUS 2015: Challenges in Q2 methodologies to acquire and integrate data for the assessment of risk, vulnerability and resilience.
“Challenges in Q² methodologies to acquire and integrate data for the assessment of risk, vulnerability and resilience” was the topic of second INQUIMUS workshop. The workshop was held from 28th – 29th of October 2015 at the European Academy of Bolzano.
The meeting gathered more than 25 participants with four high level keynote speakers and a large number of posters representing a large variety of research activities from different thematic backgrounds and presented by Phd students, junior and distinguished senior scientists. The short keynote (or SOTA) talks were followed by in-depth discussions allowing to scrutinise the topics at stake at a level of detail, which is usually not possible during conferences and workshops.
So called, state-of-the-art talks (SOTA) where provided by a diversity of experts and scientists:
*Fiona Miller spoke about “Numbers and Narratives: Towards a common understanding of quantitative and qualitative approaches to rigorous, ethical and integrated vulnerability assessment” Inke Schauser gave her talk on “User perspective on assessments of complex phenomena” Neil Marsland spoke about “Shot-gun wedding or a marriage Made in Heaven? Combining Qualitative and Quantitative techniques in socio-economic survey work” Carlos Barahona’s talk was on “Validation and Uncertainty”*
Next to these SOTAs participants presented a range of posters, including case studies of risk and vulnerability assessments or the development of new indices as well as data for scenarios. The poster collection is available online. Most of the time participants exchanged and developed new ideas, thoughts and insights in a range of interactive session. Considering the presentations given by the experts, participants discussed about the following questions:
*What is methodology? There are different understandings of what methodology is, this underlines the importance of clarification of terms between people coming from different backgrounds and disciplines. What is evidence? What is valid evidence? Who decides what is valid? Is it possible to apply the concept of replicability to participator approaches? To social sciences? Replicability and user involvement, how is this possible? à It is very important to record the methods/to be transparent, it’s replicability of methods and NOT of results. Rigour is linked to replicability, rigour in coding, rigour in training team doing interviews.*
And drew the following conclusions:
*We must avoid imposing the values of one method/approach to another Mixed methods approaches can improve the quality of data = detect and reduce the errors We must be much more careful to describe our values and rules. It is important to contextualise the values à importance of frameworks à put the framework in a context (the context can change) Deductive vs. inductive approaches: using an inductive approach the user needs can be met better.*
There is a paradigm shift also at international level, in parallel to the „traditional data collection methods“ also participatory assessment are carried out.
BACKGROUND TO INQUIMUS 2015 WORKSHOP
The INQUIMUS workshop in 2015 tackled the issue of integrating data and information that one needs to consider when appraising risk, vulnerability and resilience. The event brought together scientists and practitioners from various backgrounds representing quantitative and qualitative research and related methodologies.
The thematic focus of the workshop was set on the variety of methodologies to collect and integrate data and information (for example models, statistics, in-situ measurements, remote sensing, network and pattern analyses, historical documents and maps, expert interviews, stakeholder questionnaires or participatory inquiries). We tackled the different types of integration at different levels, starting with the combination of data (number crunching) at a very early stage of the assessment to an interdisciplinary integration of information and knowledge at the systemic level.
Therefore, the following key questions for the 2015 workshop were identified:
*How suitable and how relevant are the various available methods for holistic / systemic assessments? In how far canwe achieve through a combination / integration of these methods a full picture of all those aspects shaping risk, vulnerability or resilience?*
Against this background, the structure of the workshop in more detail was built around the following topics:
*general perspective: What do we mean when we talk about quantitative and qualitative approaches? Do we have a common picture understanding? acquisition: What are the most suitable methods to acquire data for systemic assessments and what is their relevance for risk / vulnerability / resilience research? integration: How do we best combine and/or integrate data from different sources? What normalisation steps are necessary and how may these steps affect the quality of the results? Is it really necessary/scientifically sound to combine data of different statistical level and from various sources? If this is not possible, what could be the solution to convey all the information necessary within an assessment? experience: What are best practices for integration/ in what sectors or fields has this combination worked? validation: How can the results be validated and uncertainty be accounted for / communicated?*
INQUIMUS 2014: Spatial indicators and assessment of vulnerability and resilience.
The first INQUIMUS workshop was successfully held in Salzburg from September 15-17, 2014. The thematic scope of the workshop aimed to bring together experts for the ‘spatial view’ to discuss recent developments, achievements and challenges in the spatial assessment of multi-dimensional, latent phenomena. The workshop was opened by the movie ‘What happiness is’ about the measurement of the Gross National Happiness Product (GNH) in Bhutan, which sparked first discussions on how to measure such complex phenomena.
During the workshop the experts discussed specific issues on available datasets to represent indicators, key methods for developing spatial indicators and indices and issues around validation/uncertainty and sensitivity analysis. Because of its interactivity and small size, the workshop was very much dedicated to the topics and helped to gain insights into this specific theme