The Second Annual Research Student Conference on risk and regulation, organised by the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), was held on 18-19 September 2003. The conference, part of CARR's outreach programme, was supported by funding from Deutsche Bank. Some 60 participants from the UK, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal and the US attended, to hear 33 presentations from students representing 15 different institutions. Dr Michael Spackman (CARR and National Economic Research Associates (NERA)) presented the keynote address on the variability of regulatory policy making in the UK.
The substance of the conference comprised the research students' presentations of work in progress. Topics covered in the 12 sessions included financial markets, airline flight safety, environmental issues, regulation of utilities across several European countries, and issues of risk perception. Cross-cutting themes were uncovered relating to conceptual innovations such as the idea of 'regulatory regime', issues of complexity management and the role of agencies.
Four 'research seminars' were also held this year, on economic and financial regulation, regulation and regulatory regimes, organisational aspects of risk and regulation and issues of risk management. These sessions were led by senior academic CARR staff, experts in the respective fields, and allowed the participants to discuss in greater detail issues of common interest in smaller groups.
The students actively engaged in discussions throughout the two days, readily exchanging conceptual ideas and practical experiences in spite of their assorted disciplinary backgrounds. Whilst traditional disciplinary frameworks still play a role, they do not hinder engaged debate and a common language for the field of risk and regulation studies is starting to emerge.
CARR will hold its Third Research Student Conference in autumn 2004. Interested students should consult the CARR website during the summer of 2004 for more details.