A blueprint for communicating uncertainty – review our approach

Are you a science communicator? Do you use scientific advice about food safety in your work? We would like your feedback on our proposed approach to communicating uncertainty in scientific assessments.

Why is communicating scientific uncertainties important?

EFSA’s scientists are introducing a more harmonised and transparent way of accounting for the limitations in scientific knowledge – the “uncertainties” – in their scientific assessments. Our proposed communications approach aims to help our different audiences to understand this information by providing it in a more accessible language tailored to their needs.

To test and improve our communications approach we would particularly like to hear from:

  • Science communicators such as writers, editors, journalists, press and public information officers, on Section 3 containing the practical guidance for communicating uncertainty – how understandable and easy to follow is it? Could you use such a document, and If not how could it be made more usable?
  • Social scientists and academics specialised in communication of scientific uncertainties – is there any additional research on different audience understandings of probabilities, verbal vs numerical information, and hedging words, as well as on the use of visuals for communicating uncertainty?
  • Decision-makers, scientific assessors, stakeholders from the food safety and public health areas who use EFSA’s communications or those of other scientific advisory bodies at national, European or international level – do you have any insights or experience to help improve our approach? How can this approach be adapted to help you better understand or explain the results of an uncertainty analysis?

Please send us your written comments by 24 June 2018.

For more information: see the consultation page, our background topic on uncertainty, or join the discussion on our Research Gate page

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