Going global: Dr Yuwan Malakar presents RI findings to international audience

February 7th, 2023

We caught up with the Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform's DR YUWAN MALAKAR to discuss his experience at the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Conference last year.

Dr Yuwan Malakar (R) with Professor Ortwin Renn (L) at the 2022 Society for Risk Analysis meeting.

At the meeting, attended by approximately 450 delegates, Dr Malakar presented on the topic ‘Risk governance approach to examine perceived risks, benefits, and mitigation measures in Australian clinical genomics’, exploring the role of risk governance around emerging health technologies.  

Talking about risk governance

Dr Malakar shared the findings of his recent research project, in which he explored how a risk governance approach contributes to understanding a broader range of risks and benefits of genomic technologies in healthcare. Risk governance approaches can be used in various contexts to explore a range of risks and the ways to address them. In this study, he interviewed genomic professionals in Australia and found that they perceived a range of risks in clinical genomics, representing technical (errors and inconclusive results), social (unequal access), and ethical (privacy and psychological distress) risks.  

He explains, “This classification of risks is critical in identifying the relevant stakeholders and their role in mitigating the risks”. 

Increasingly, clinical genomics has been identified as key to treating people with genetic and rare diseases. Its capability to enable targeted surveillance and drug delivery contributes to unlocking precision medicine.

“To reap these benefits, however, we need to identify and manage the potential risks associated with clinical genomics,” says Dr Malakar.

Risk governance provides a pathway to engage with multiple actors and institutions so that their perceptions, concerns, ambitions, and visions are understood and integrated into the process of innovation. Fittingly, it’s also a key focus of the Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform.

Benefits of risk analysis through a global lens 

Dr Yuwan Malakar (L) with Professor Terje Aven (R).

The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) is an international platform for multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners interested in advancing risk analysis. The annual meetings focus on a special theme and are organised every December. The theme for the meeting in 2022 was “Global Risks @ the Tipping Point: Risk Analysis & Policy Driving Systemic Change”. The meeting kicked off with a panel discussing systemic risks and the pandemics, climate change, the water-food-energy nexus.

Dr Malakar had an opportunity to present at the annual meeting of 2021 and at the SRA Europe conference in 2020. He believes that this platform not only stimulates philosophical understanding of risk science, but also demonstrates how risk science has been implemented in applied research.  

“One of the highlights for me is meeting two of the established scholars in risk analysis namely, Professors Ortwin Renn and Terje Aven. Their work has always inspired me and shaped my thinking on risk, risk governance, and risk analysis,” says Dr Malakar.  

“It was great to see a wide range of scholars, industry representatives and policy-makers present at the meeting. This made me realise the breadth of risk scholarship, and its contribution at the global scale.” 

Dr Malakar is looking forward to pursuing collaborative opportunities and connecting with the Australian and New Zealand chapter of the SRA. 

More information

Risk governance of genomic technologies in Australia – Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform

New research finds genomic professionals support patient genomic data ownership in Australia