Be prepared: Can we forecast the next crisis and be ready to manage it?

Be prepared: Can we forecast the next crisis and be ready to manage it?

In this webinar held on 17th April 2023, a panel of experts discussed the main factors involved in understanding, preventing, and preparing for crises yet to happen.

Crises like the war in Ukraine, the recent pandemic and climate change have a profound effect on all of us. We are all vulnerable – the impacts of crises can extend to all parts of society, the economy and environment. 

Yet at the same time, we have unprecedented capabilities for anticipating crises and managing risk. We live in a digital age, where knowledge, information and data can be shared instantaneously, 24/7.

What are the ways to foresee, prepare for and even prevent future crises? How do we understand the nature of the risks we face, and how they can be managed?

When a crisis does strike, what do we need to know in deciding on effective action? How do we make sense of incoming information and data? Is it possible to build trust across our communities, and establish effective communications?

Our panel of experts discussed these critical issues, where we considered some of the lessons learnt from recent crises and what is needed for the future.

Our panel of experts

  • Professor Maarja Kruusmaa, Professor of Biorobotics and Vice-Rector for Research, Tallinn University of Technology; Member of the European Group of Chief Scientific Advisors
  • Professor Virginia Murray, Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction, UK Health Security Agency
  • Professor Enrico Zio, Centre for Research on Risk and Crises (CRC), Ecole de Mines, ParisTech, PSL University and Politecnico di Milano; Member of the SAPEA Working Group on Strategic Crisis Management in the EU
  • Professor Ortwin Renn, Member of the SAPEA Working Group on Strategic Crisis Management in the EU

This webinar was chaired by Professor Nils-Eric Sahlin MAE, Professor and Chair of Medical Ethics at Lund University, and Vice-Chair of the European Group on Ethics.

Key themes

Topics covered by the panelists included key criteria for crisis forecasting; how the changing nature of crises means that we have to change the way we handle them; the need for intersectional and interdisciplinary cooperation; anticipatory stress tests of critical infrastructure and services; “Big KID and the Smart KID” (KID = Knowledge Information and Data) in strategic foresight; the development of international standards for harmonised and comparable data collection of crises.

The Q&A session addressed a wide range of issues, including the fact that crises can not be forecasted but underlaying trends can be identified and can help prepare for them; the concept of complexity and its application in crises forecast and management; the cascading nature of crises; how an interconnected system has to be approached cautiously when introducing preventative measures.

Watch the webinar

Read our briefing paper

Read our briefing paper summarising the key themes and ideas discussed at our webinar here.

Further information

This was a joint event between SAPEA, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and the European Group on Ethics. It was hosted by Academia Europaea.


SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) produces independent evidence review reports that are used by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to make policy recommendations to the EC. This transparent process ensures that the EC’s proposals for policy and legislation are well-informed.

Academia Europaea is a member of the SAPEA consortium.

About the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

The role of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) is to provide independent scientific advice to the European Commission across a diverse range of topics to inform policymaking and to provide recommendations to improve the interaction between policymaking and scientific advice.

About the European Group on Ethics

The European Group on Ethics provides the European Commission with high quality, independent advice on all aspects of EU legislation and policies, where ethical, societal and fundamental rights issues intersect with the development of science and new technologies.  The EGE is an independent advisory body of the President of the European Commission. It was founded in 1991.

Updated 17th April 2023. For further information please contact

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