Graduate course: Interdisciplinary in Environmental Research

This course is given as part of the Environmental Science Graduate Studies at Lund University.

Course registration is done at
Last day to apply: 15 September 2019

Course Syllabus NMV001F-Eng

Contact: Ullrika Sahlin 



Literature seminar on Öbergs book (voluntary) Date to be decided


1st of .October – Theme Philosophy of Research in Environmental Science


11 – 12 Environmental Science – Ullrika Sahlin, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, and Henrik Thoren, Philosophy, Helsinki University

12 – 13 Environmental Psychology – Maria Johansson, Environmental Psychology, LTH

14 – 15 Social science –Lars Harrysson, School of Social Work

15 – 16 Sustainability science and transdisciplinary – Barry Ness, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)


2nd of October – Theme More perspectives on Philosophy of Research


9 – 10 Physics – Leif Lönnblad, Department of particle physics

10 – 11 Design Science – TBA

11 – 12 Philosophical perspectives on computer models 

13 – 15 Natural science – Per Lundberg, Department of Biology

15 – 16 Interdisciplinarity Research – Miles MacLeod


3rd of October – Self-reflection

Biskopshuset (beroende på ekonomin)

9 – 11 Interdisciplinary – Miles MacLeod och Henrik Thoren

11 – 11.30 My experience of going interdisciplinary – Maria von Post BECC postdoc

11.30 – 12 The Pufendorf Institute work towards interdisciplinary research – Ann-Katrin Bäcklund Director of the Pufendorf Institute


13 – 15 Student self-reflection – discussions in groups and reporting back

Is my research interdisciplinary? How can it be interdisciplinary? What advantages/disadvantages or barriers/drivers would it come from making it more interdisciplinary?

Themes for self-reflection

  1. Applied/Basic/Post Normal Science
  2. Analytical/numerical methods/empirical
  3. Positivist / relative social constructivist



Active participation at lectures and seminar and an individual paper/report of self-reflection considering at least one of the themes.



Chalmers, Alan F. What is this Thing Called Science? Buckingham: Open University Press  1999.

Humphreys, Paul. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press 2016.

Parker, Wendy S (2017). Environmental Science: Empirical Claims in Environmental Ethics. In The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics. Gardiner, Stephen & Thompson, Allen Oxford University Press. 27-39.

Sayer, Andrew. Realism and Social Science. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: SAGE 2000.

Öberg, Gunilla. Interdisciplinary environmental studies – a primer. Wiley-Blackwell 2011.





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Graduate course in Risk, uncertainty and decision making Fall 2019

This is a research-oriented introductory course in risk which takes place at two occasions in Sweden during the fall 2019. The aim is to give an introduction into different scientific perspectives on risk with international outlook and aid the students to formulate relevant research questions.

First occasion: October 8-9th in Gothenburg
Second occasion: November 5-6 in Lund (on the 7-8 in Copenhagen there is an opportunity to attend a multi-disciplinary risk conference)

The course is organised by Ullrika Sahlin, Åsa Knaggård and Daniel Slunge. More info: ullrika.sahlin @

Funding: ClimBECO research school

Supported by: Centre for Environmental and Climate Reserach, Lund University, FRAM Centre for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies, Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management LUCRAM, the Nordic Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis and Riskkollegiet

Apply to the course here:

Students from ClimBECO are guaranteed a place. Other students are admitted according to application date.

Course syllabus

Schedule (see below) for download RiskClimBECO

Literature list Litlist_2019

Participants are expected to prepare in advance to the meetings by reading the assigned literature. The course is examined through attendance of the physical meetings and a completed individual paper.

Reading block I

Prepare to literature seminar

Meeting in Gothenburg

Oct 8th Scientific perspectives on risk analysis

10.30 Introduction to the course, Ullrika Sahlin and Daniel Slunge

11.00 Risk assessment in water management – examples of methods and applications, Lars Rosén

12.00 The anthropology of risk management, Åsa Boholm


Theme Chemical mixtures – risk, uncertainty and decision making

14.00 Chemical risk assessment, Thomas Backhaus

15.00 Health impacts from chemical mixtures, Lars Barregård

16.00 Mixtures exposure and effect in Ecology, Maj Rundlöf

17.00 An economic perspective on assessing and managing chemical mixture risks, Jessica Coria

Oct 9th Scientific perspectives on uncertainty and decision making

09.00 Uncertainty and decision theory, Ullrika Sahlin

10.00 Working with risk in an interdisciplinary context, Kelsey Lamere

11.00 TBA

12.00 – 14.00 Literature seminar incl. lunch

Reading block II

Read all course literature

Meeting in Lund

Nov 5th Social science and Philosophical perspectives on risk, uncertainty and decision making

10.30 Political sciences approaches in risk research, Åsa Knaggård

11.30 – 16.00 Scientific perspectives on risk communication, Ragnar Löfstedt (incl lunch)

Nov 6th Scientific perspectives on managing and assessing risk and uncertainty

9.00 Risk assessment and risk research in societal safety, Henrik Hassel

10:30 Risk Philosophy, Sven Ove Hansson


14.00 Uncertainty communication and its psychological effects, Anne Marten van der Bles

16.00 – 17.30 Discussion seminar ”Self-reflection on students own research in the context of risk, uncertainty and decision making” – Åsa Knaggård and Ullrika (Research questions on risk, Methods to study risk)

Nov 7-8th Copenhagen (optional) Networking, keynotes and contributing talks

Nordic Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis Conference: keynote and contributed talks on different topics in risk research. The course participants are encouraged to attend and we are looking for options to cover the conference fee.

Individual paper (mandatory)

The individual paper should be reflection where at least two themes of the course is discussed in relation to the participants PhD subject or field of interest. 







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Guess your time in Lundaloppet Predictive Challenge 2019

Länk till denna sida på svenska

We are curious to know how good people are in being uncertain. To test this, we ask participants of the running race Lundaloppet (Lund May 4th 2019) to guess their time. When the race is over, we will collect the actual times posted on the official web page and compare.

This is not about running as fast as possible, but to make a good guess. Remember, that being uncertain can actually help you to be less wrong.  

We have set up the study in google form

Help us spread by liking our Facebook page for the project


Contact Ullrika ullrika.sahlin [at] if you want to know more.

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Gissa din tid i Lundaloppet Predictive Challenge 2019

Link to this page in English

Vi är nyfikna på hur bra människor är på att vara osäkra. För att testa detta frågar vi deltagare i Lundaloppet (4 maj 2019) att gissa deras löptid. När tävlingen är över kommer vi samla in de tider som publiceras på Lundaloppets hemsida och jämföra.

Vi bryr oss inte om vem som har sprungit snabbast, utan vem som gör bra gissningar. Kom ihåg – att vara osäker kan faktiskt hjälpa dig att göra färre fel. 

Vi har skapat ett formulär med verktyget google

Vi har satt upp en facebooksida för projektet

Kontakta Ullrika ullrika.sahlin [at] om du vill veta mer. 

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Program for the 6th version of Bayes@Lund is now online

Bayes@Lund 2019 – a Mini-conference on Bayesian Methods at Lund University, 7th of May, 2019

You are welcome to participate in the sixth edition of Bayes@Lund! The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers and professionals working with or interested in Bayesian methods. 

The conference will take place at Lund University, Sweden on the 7th of May 2019 starting at 9.00 and ending at 17.00. It will include contributed talks and invited presentations. This year we are more than pleased to have two invited speakers: 

  • Maggie Lieu, astrophysics research fellow working at the European Space Agency, who will talk about Hierarchical models and their applications in astronomy; how hierarchical models can be a powerful tool for inference.
  • Robert Grant, a medical statistician, turned freelance trainer, coach and writer in Bayesian models and data visualisation. His talk Visualisation for refining and communicating Bayesian analyses will review relevant general principles of effective visualisation, recent work on Bayesian workflow, and the role of interactive graphics.

For the full program and how register, please see the conference web site.

We hope to see you there!

All best,
The committee
Ullrika Sahlin, Rasmus Bååth and Alex Holmes

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Uncertainty in the focus

On February 21-22nd 2019 we, the research group Uncertainty and Evidence Lab, attended the International Conference on Uncertainty in Risk Analysis jointly organised by BfR and EFSA. It was special with a conference focussing on uncertainty as opposed to treatment of risk or on applications. 

Ullrika and Scott Ferson had a workshop the day before the conference. 

It is possible to view talks from the conference on Youtube. Ullrika’s talk is on Youtube.

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Liverpool students are challenged by Ullrika and Scott

On Feb 6th Ullrika Sahlin and Scott Ferson debated two alternative ways to quantify epistemic uncertainty in scientific assessments – precise and bounded probability. In simple terms, subjective precise probability is the measure for epistemic uncertainty in classical Bayesian inference, while subjective bounded (imprecise, approximative) probability is a measure for epistemic uncertainty in a generalisation of Bayesian infernce allowing for sets of probabilities. The generalisation of Bayesian inference is sometimes called Robust Bayesian inference. Bounds on probability can be derived in other ways as well.

Professor Scott Ferson have a lot of experience in using precise and bounded probability. He is also a well known workshopier.

Photo. Caroline Morais 

Scott and Ullrika had a discussion/battle for students at the Institute for Risk and Uncertainty Centre for Doctoral Training – University of Liverpool. The quantification of epistemic uncertainty by precise or bounded probability was approached by challenge problems. Solutions to these will be published in due time. 

As the writer of this post, I, Ullrika, give my view on this. I think that precise probability is sometimes disregarded as a measure for epistemic uncertainty for wrong reasons or could be done better. I am often unsure of how the quantification of bounded probability is done in assessments. Propagation of bounded probability is sometimes faster than a 2-dimensional Monte Carlo simulation (separating aleatory and epistemic uncertainty), and provide conservative ouptut which can be used in a tiered risk assessment. 

With a background in Bayesian inference, I am open for embrasing the bounded probability as a measure for epistemic uncertainty, which can be useful in situations when the assessors judge precise probability as not enough to fully characterise epistemic uncertainty. By comparing these two measures for epistemic uncertainty we can strenghten the understanding of them and in a longer perspective the quantification of uncertainty in scientific assessments.

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FRAM-seminar on uncertainty in scientific assessments

On February the 7th 2019 Ullrika Sahlin gave a seminar at the FRAM Centre for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies in Gothenburg. 

FRAM youtube channel

Ullrika gave an snapshot of recent debates around the developments of management of uncertainty and evidence with a focus on scientific assessments. What standards for management of uncertainty are asked for today and in the future?

Risk analysis is a field which for a long time has been focusing on managing uncertainty. There are not only many sources to uncertainty, but also different types of uncertainty and ways to characterise them. Principles for risk analysis are useful for scientific assessments in general, especially when there is an aim to evaluate the impact of uncertainty due to lack of knowledge on the conclusions of an assessment. It can be to rely on empirical evidence as well as expert knowledge and data generated by models. Lately, the strengths in underlying evidence has become part of the characterisation of uncertainty. Managing uncertainty and evidence according to standards requires resources and experts on uncertainty. Who will provide these resources and where do these experts come from?

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Bayes@Lund 2019 – a Mini-conference on Bayesian Methods at Lund University, 7th of May, 2019

You are welcome to participate in the sixth edition of Bayes@Lund! The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers and professionals working with or interested in Bayesian methods. Bayes@Lund aims at being accessible to researchers with little experience of Bayesian methods while still being relevant to experienced practitioners. The focus is on how Bayesian methods are used in research and in the industry, what advantages Bayesian methods have over classical alternatives, and how the use and teaching of Bayesian methods can be encouraged. (see last year’s conference for what to expect).

The conference will take place at Lund University, Sweden on the 7th of May 2019 starting at 9.00 and ending at 17.00. It will include contributed talks and invited presentations. This year we are more than pleased to have Sharon Bertsch McGrayne as an invited speaker. She is the author of the The Theory That Would Not Die, the bestselling book that describes the rise and fall and rise again of Bayesian statistics.

For more information and how register, please see the conference web site.

Call for Presentations

We invite you to submit a talk or short tutorial to Bayes@Lund 2019 on a topic related to Bayesian methods in research as well as in a non-academic context, including, but not restricted to:

·  Case studies. Have you used Bayesian methods in your work? Describe
what you did, and how it worked out.

·  Method development. Are you developing novel Bayesian methods or
software that you want to share?

·  Teaching Bayes. Do you have experiences teaching or introducing
Bayesian methods? What were the challenges, and do you have any
useful tips?

Each accepted speaker is given 20 minutes and, as the audience will be highly heterogeneous from different disciplines and from within and outside academia, the talk is expected to be accessible and engaging for a multidisciplinary audience.

Alternatively, short tutorials are 10/20/30 minutes long tutorials where you introduce the audience to a tool, package or methodology you find useful. It doesn’t need to be something you’ve developed, just something you want to show the audience!

For more information on how to submit a talk proposal please see here.

We hope to see you there!

All best,
The committee
Ullrika Sahlin, Rasmus Bååth, Alex Holmes, and Jakob Lavröd

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Uncertainty in scientific assessments was the topic of a workshop in Durban, South Africa

Societal trust and confidence in scientific assessments are influenced by uncertainty. A key feature of scientific assessments is therefore the treatment of uncertainty.

On January 24th 2019 the Uncertainty and Evidence Lab was involved in a workshop with the aim to introduce uncertainty and some methods to treat uncertainty in scientific assessments. The workshop was held at Durban Techincal University, South Africa. It was facilitated by Ullrika Sahlin, Lund University, and Dr Gordon O’Brien, the University of Mpumalanga. The focus was on quantitative methods to treat uncertainty in models, illustrated by findings related to the communication of uncertainty. Case-studies were taken from environmental sciences.

The workshop was attended by researchers from different disciplines.  

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