Managing Severe Uncertainty

Project leader: Richard Bradley

The objectives of this project are:

1. To examine policy decision making under conditions of severe uncertainty: situations in which we lack complete information about the probabilities of possible future states of the world, about what actions will be available and what their outcomes will be, and about the desirability of these outcomes.

2. To study scientific models that are both imperfect and non-linear, especially those of the climate and of climate change, with a view to:

(i) understanding what limits they imply on our ability to generate forecasts that can be used by policy-makers; and

(ii) investigating ways in which such models can be fashioned to provide policy-relevant information.

3. To study the implications for climate policy-making of the inherent limitations we face in making predictions about relevant climate variables, in relation both to our ability to assess the impact of possible interventions and to our ethical assessment of them, and to propose techniques for dealing with these limitations.

4. To develop philosophical expertise in the field of decision-making under severe uncertainty by providing doctoral training and supervision.

The project was initiated with a large AHRC grant (running from March 2013 to March 2016) and now carries on with funding from CPNSS. It is carried out in collaboration with economists and climate scientists in other departments at LSE (and elsewhere).


Cat Modelling and Decision Making

Toward the Development of a Decision-Theoretic Framework for enhanced Cat Risk Management: A North Atlantic Hurricane Backup Covers Test Case

Project Leaders: Roman Frigg and Richard Bradley

Project dates: Jan–Dec 2022

Selected project related publications

(a) Research Papers

(b) Surveys and Introductions

Project related Research Grants

  • Lighthill Risk Network project grant for Cat Modelling and Decision Making, 2022
  • The Role of Scientific Advice in Emergency Policy Making, LSE Research Support Fund grant, with Joe Roussos(IFS), Izzy Gurbuz (LSE) and Jonathan Birch (LSE).
  • Objective Counterfactual Analysis: e-evaluating risk from North Atlantic Hurricanes. Axa Research. Tom Philp and Adrian Champion (PIs), Michael Maran, Kevin Hodges, Roman Frigg, Richard Bradley (CIs) (£30k), March 2019-February 2021.
  • NERC-AHRC-ESRC Research grant (NE/P016367/1) for Tsunami Risk for the Western Indian Ocean: Steps towards the Integration of Science into Policy and Practice, Jan –July 2017. 
  • EPSRC network grant for M2D: Models to Decisions (participating institution), since 2017.
  • EPSRC network grant for CRUISSE: Challenging Radical Uncertainty in Science, Society and the Environment (participating institution), since 2017.
  • AHRC grant Managing Severe Uncertainty (AH/J006033/1), Richard Bradley (PI), Roman Frigg, Katie Steele, Alex Voorhoeve and Charlotte Werndl (£725,000).


  • The Cat Modelling and Decision Making project is carried out in partnership with Maximum Information and reask, and involves collaboration with Aon, MS Amlin, Liberty Syndicates, Guy Carpenter, Lloyd's, and Hiscox.
  • AXA-XLCatlin: Working on the use of catastrophe models to support insurance pricing