About this project

The Cambridge Risk Framework Project

The University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies is coordinating an innovative research programme into systemic risk: the impact of macro-catastrophes on the global networks and systems that underpin modern society.

The first part of the project involves developing a ‘taxonomy’ (a classification system) of potential threats. Risk management for societal and economic resilience can be improved by a more comprehensive threat assessment. On these pages we invite peer review and contributions from the risk management community to help develop a wide-ranging threat classification system, of primary categories and individual threat classes.

For a threat classification system to be useful, it has to be tractable – a manageable number of categories and classes – and wide ranging to cover as many causes of threat as possible. This means we will develop limited numbers of classes of threat that are necessarily large and imprecise. Our intent is to capture the broad types of threats: ones that might impact our systems in different ways to the others.

We don’t expect to anticipate every future threat, but we do intend to ensure that all avenues of scientific evidence and exploration are represented in the categorisation.

What will we do with this taxonomy?
The taxonomy will be used to structure a catalogue and information resource on these threat classes. We hope to expand this web site over time to provide a state-of-knowledge summary for each threat class. For each threat class we propose to develop one or more scenarios that can be used in shock tests. The objective is to produce a set of scenarios that will be consistent, objective, transparent and evidence-based, and useful in business decisions. These will be published and made available to the risk management community on this site.

Other parts of the project
The Cambridge Risk Framework project is also investigating financial, economic and social network systems. This will be combined with the threat scenarios to explore the broader impacts of localised destruction and disruption on productivity and supply shocks, trading partners, investment flows, and through to perception-driven demand shocks and impacts on international financial markets.

This site will publish progress on systems and modelling frameworks for improving risk management techniques to provide more resilient systems.

We look forward to your contribution and welcome collaboration and research partners.