by Brayton Noll
In the first week of December 2022, I traveled to Florida in the United States to attend the Society of Risk Analysis’ annual conference. The societies’ journal- the Journal of Risk Analysis – has been one of the most influential publications that I have read regularly over the course of my PhD. While this was the first time I had the opportunity to attend their conference, I immediately felt that I had found my community of researchers. Scientists from around the world fascinated me by presenting novel perspectives and methods to study behavior and decisions; and intrigued me testing theories using techniques I had not heard of. I was overwhelmed and inspired. Luckily, I had the opportunity to speak with many of the presenters outside of the sessions – breaking down the impersonal barrier that often exists in more formal conference presentation settings. I continue to find that presentations merely serve as ice breakers – the real discussions happen over coffee or drinks after sessions.
My contribution to the conference was a presentation on the final paper of my PhD: a research article that analyzed data from four panel surveys, collected over a one and a half year time scale, in four countries, studying how and why households adapt to floods. For this work I was honored to receive a travel grant that reduced the cost of attendance. I received good feedback from several researchers working on similar topics. More importantly however, I was able to connect with researchers working on related topics at similar stages of their career – which served both as an inspiration and a spark for future possible collaborative projects. Overall, the Society of Risk Analysis conference served as a salient reminder of how refreshing and stimulating meeting academic peers is and that good science social science research cannot be produced without being (at least somewhat) social.