Addressing the challenge of producing scientific evidence that makes sense to policy


“Addressing the challenge of producing scientific evidence that makes sense to policy” is an accredited doctoral course offered to EPFL PhD students. It is organised by the International Risk Governance Center (IRGC).

IRGC helps to improve the understanding and governance of systemic risks that have impacts on human health and safety, the environment, the economy and society at large. IRGC’s mission includes developing risk governance concepts and providing risk governance policy advice to decision-makers in the private and public sectors on key emerging or neglected issues.

For a list of topics the IRGC is working on, click here.


The IRGC course is offered on the basis of the International Risk Governance Center’s work plan. The purpose of the course is to confront PhD students with the reality of policymaking and the difficulty of providing scientific information relevant to policy.

One of the following topics can be chosen: “Governance Of and By Digital Technology”, “Governance of Gene Drive for Mosquito Control” (tbc), “Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – Techniques and Governance”, “The Problem of Space Debris: Analysing it and Developing Solutions for its Governance”.


Students participate in the preparation of an expert workshop, in particular through research for a briefing paper. Then they attend a 2-day interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder expert workshop. Finally, they produce a paper, focusing on evidence-based policy recommendations. In total: 3 to 6 months.

Course Information

It is mandatory to demonstrate participation in the research prior to the workshop, to participate in the workshop and to contribute some papers to the workshop report. The course awards 2 academic credits.
Schedule and deadlines for application
Governance Of and By Digital Technology, conference, 18 November 2020 –> application due 30 October 2020.
– Governance of Gene Drive for Mosquito Control, workshop, 15-16 December 2020 (this event may be cancelled due to travel restrictions) –> application due 15-16 November 2020.
– Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – Techniques and Governance, workshop, date to be determined –> application due 15 December 2020.
– The Problem of Space Debris: Analysing it and Developing Solutions for its Governance, end February –> application due 15 December.
Form of exam
In order to earn course credits, the expected outcome is the contribution to the project work as described above under ‘credits’. Two individual written contributions.
The official language of the course is English.
Size of the class
The maximum number of participants is 3 per project/topic.
Click here to read the coursebook.

Please note that your application is subject to a selection process and confirmation.


EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC)
Château de Bassenges (BAC)
Station 5, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: +41 21 693 82 90

For any questions please contact [email protected].