STEPS Uncertainty Podcast

The STEPS Uncertainty Podcast is a series of four conversations recorded with participants after our symposium in July 2019, available as a podcast to stream or download.

The symposium, The Politics of Uncertainty: Practical Challenges for Transformative Action, explored the many ways that people understand and respond to uncertainty in different domains – including finance and insurance, technology and infrastructure, climate change, disease, disasters, migration, conflict and religion.

The conversations gathered four clusters of people who had convened key themes at the conference. Each are chaired by a member of the STEPS Centre. They were recorded just after the symposium ended, and provide a variety of perspectives and reflections on the event.

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Episode #1: Finance & banking / insurance / governance

Chair: Ian Scoones (IDS)


  • Leon Wansleben (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies) – Finance and banking
  • Leigh Johnson (University of Oregon) – Insurance and liability
  • Bernardo Rangoni (European University Institute) – Experimental, nodal, adaptive governance

Episode #2: Uncertainty in critical infrastructures / reliability / technology & innovation

Chair: Andy Stirling (SPRU)


  • Emery Roe (University of California, Berkeley) – Critical infrastructures and reliability
  • Patrick van Zwanenberg (CENIT, Argentina) – Technology policy, regulation and precaution

Episode #3: Disease outbreaks / climate change / disasters

Chair: Marina Apgar (IDS)


  • Melissa Leach (Institute of Development Studies) – Disease outbreaks and preparedness
  • Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies) – Climate change models and response
  • Mark Pelling (King’s College London) – Disasters, humanitarianism and emergencies

Episode #4:Security & terrorism / migration

Chair: Rose Cairns (STEPS Centre)


  • Gabe Mythen (University of Liverpool) – Conflict, security, terrorism and crime
  • Dorte Thorsen (University of Sussex) – Migration and mobility

more on Uncertainty

Visit our symposium event page to find more material from the event, including a series of blog posts and video.

Politics of Uncertainty – event page

Visit our main Uncertainty theme page for more comment and material on our theme for 2019.

Visit the Uncertainty theme