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Expert Judgment Policy Symposium and Technical Workshop
March 13-14, 2006


A workshop organized by RFF in conjunction with Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, and Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy.

Background

Uncertainty is inherent to most decisions faced by regulatory agencies - there is uncertainty in the assessment of health and environmental benefits as well as in the costs of regulatory options. One of the major challenges facing decision-makes is how to characterize uncertainty appropriately and fully.

The Office of Management and Budget and the National Academy of Science have repeatedly called for the quantification and propagation of uncertainty in important regulatory decisions. Many believe that formal expert judgment should play an important role in the quantification of uncertainty, but there is little agreement as to how that should be done. Different federal agencies have generated their own approaches, but to date there is no overall methodological consensus, and indeed no centrally focused discussion. This workshop offered an opportunity for just such a discussion.

Workshop Overview

On March 13-14, 2006, RFF sponsored a workshop held at RFF's conference center at 1616 P St, NW, in Washington, DC to address these issues. The first day of the workshop (March 13) was targeted towards people in decision-making roles who may have to decide when and how to employ structured expert judgment. We had a stellar set of speakers, starting with the recently appointed assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Research and Development, George Gray, and including the members of the workshop project team - Roger Cooke, John Evans, Granger Morgan and Katy Walker, as well as Dr. Willy Aspinall, an internationally recognized expert on volcano and earthquake prediction.

The second day, March 14th, was aimed at people who will carry out or directly oversee expert judgment studies. Day two was a hands-on affair in which participants walked through a mock up study and became familiar with software for processing results.

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