Decision analysis and risk management

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This page is about a course Decision analysis and risk management organised in 2011. For a course organised in 2013, see Decision analysis and risk management 2013.


Decision analysis and risk management (DARM) is a course taught in the | University of Eastern Finland (UEF) for Master's (MSc) Degree Programme in General Toxicology and Environmental Health Risk Assessment ToxEn.

NOTE! On this page, there was a list of related further education courses in Kuopio (in Finnish).

Aims of the course

  • To give a good overview of modern assessment methods by;
    • utilizing modern web-workspaces for learning, while;
    • avoiding overlaps with other courses in the ToxEn MSc program,

In the course:

The student will learn about the fundamentals of decision analysis, the connections between societal decision-making and risk assessment, and the role of risk management in a broader societal context. The student will learn to apply the scientific method and falsification in the context of risk assessment, and know how to build an assessment based on the requirements of risk management.     

Course details

  • Name: Decision analysis and risk management          
  • Abbreviation: DARM
  • ECTS-credits: 6
  • Home page of the course:
  • Degree Programme: ToxEn, Environment health risk assessment
  • Teaching Language: English, with Finnish accent
  • Offered for Students in Other Universities (JOO-opintoja): Yes


  • Organising Departments: Department of environmental science (in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL)          
  • Course Director: Jukka Juutilainen     
  • Teachers: Jouni Tuomisto, Mikko Pohjola, Marko Tainio     
  • Contact Persons email: mikko.pohjola(at)     
  • Registration for the Course: Wossikka     

Teaching / Learning Methods

  • Lectures and discussions 60 h
  • Calculation exercises 9 h
  • Independent assessment study
    • Decision analysis study (group work) 50 h
    • Risk management study (individual work) 40 h
  • Web-Based Learning 30 %


See the Content and schedule table for timing, locations, topics and links to materials. One lecture and classroom exercise session is approximately three hours.

Study materials include e.g. PowerPoint files, scanned articles or book chapters, web-sites and web-documents. Due to copy-right reasons, some of the materials are distributed through a password protected HEANDE-page. Passwords to HEANDE will be distributed during the lectures. In the end of the page there are some more links for further information.

Case study exercise

For the case study description and instructions, see the case study exercise page

Note! Self-organised group work requires on-line computers.


Whole course (6 ECTS)

The course grade consists of:

  • Completion of classroom exercises (1/3)
  • Case study exercise (2/3)
  • Active participation in lectures and exercises is taken into account while deciding the overall course grades (e.g. rounding up)

Classroom exercise scoring

  • Exercise 1: max. score 5 points
  • Exercise 2: no scoring, completion yes/no
  • Exercise 3: max. score 5 points
  • Exercise 4: max. score 5 points

Total max. score from classroom exercises is 15 points. In addition students earn pluses from extraordinary performance and active participation. Missing exercises 1, 3 or 4 count as 0 points. Missing exercises 2 count as minus (thus counterbalancing pluses).

Case study exercise scoring

  • Exercise part 1, DA study plan (group work): max. score 20 points
  • Exercise part 2, RM analysis: max. score 10 points

In DA study plan exercise, all group members get the same score. The principles for evaluating the case study exercises are presented on the case study exercise page. With active commenting and discussion in Opasnet both within the group and in between groups and individuals groups and individuals can earn pluses.

Course grading

The below table presents the tentative guidelines for converting exercise scores into the course grade.

Course grade Total score
0 <20
1 21-25
2 26-30
3 31-35
4 36-40
5 41-45

The pluses (and minuses) can influence the overall grade in cases where the total exercise scores are close to the limit values. E.g. 35 points from exercises and active participation may be interpreted as grade 4.

Please check the summary table of exercise scores on the corresponding password protected course page in Heande.

Partial accomplishments

For non-ToxEn students it is also possible to accomplish only certain parts of the course:

  • Lectures and classroom exercises (3 ECTS)
  • Case study exercise part 1: DA study plan (2 ECTS)
  • Case study exercise part 2: RM analysis (1 ECTS)

Partial accomplishments will be graded only on a fail/pass scale according to sufficient participation and fulfillment of required exercises.

Content and schedule

Schedule and contents of the course.
  • Each row is a three-hour block of lectures, exercises, discussions, or organised group work.
  • Changes in content are likely, but the dates and locations presented here are more or less fixed.
  • Abbreviations: DA = decision analysis, RM = risk management, RA = risk assessment, RC = risk communication.
Date Time Lecturer Lecture room Topics Material
28.2. 10-13 Jouni, Mikko, Marko S22 Introduction to the course
  • introduction to decision analysis: video , slides
  • introduction to case study exercise and course evaluation: video, slides
  • Introduction to the swine flu story: video, slides
3.3. 9-12 Jouni, Mikko, Marko S31 Introduction to risk management
3.3. 13-16 Jouni, Mikko, Marko S23 Swine flu story: risks and their management: video, slides whiteboard
  • independent exploration
    • Beginning of the pandemic
    • preparedness in Finland and elsewhere
  • mini-presentations and discussion
  • summary
4.3. 9-12 Mikko, Marko MC9 Introduction to using Opasnet
  • Introduction to Opasnet
  • Demonstration of structure, content and functionalities
  • Exercises
    • user accounts
    • DA study plan page
    • RM report page
    • browsing and searching
    • commenting and discussing
4.3. 13-16 Jouni, Marko S24 Introduction to probability theory: video, Slides Dennis Lindley: Philosophy of statistics

Lindley, a backup file

8.3. 9-12 Jouni S22 Introduction to probability theory. video slides
  • Bayes' rule. Updating probability. Examples: red balls, narcolepsy test.

Decision analysis (continued). slides

9.3. 9-12 Jouni S22 Decision analysis (continued). slides; sorry, no video
  • Concepts: decisions, objectives, optimization, uncertainty, decision trees
  • Influence diagrams, Bayesian belief nets.

Swine flu case as a decision problem: what are the relevant decisions, outcomes and questions in the case?

  • Purpose of assessment: Why it is done
10.3. 9-12 Marko S24 Modeling and Monte Carlo simulation: slides
  • Computer modeling video
    • Why?
  • Approximation
    • When data is not available
  • Monte Carlo simulation
    • When and why to use?
  • Common uncertainty distributions video
    • Normal distribution is not the only option

Swine flu story (autumn - winter 2009): First deaths of swine flu (threat was real). Problems with implementation: long queues in health centers. Clear-cut case falls apart. False alarm? Disease was milder than thought.

11.3. 8-11 Marko MC9 Calculation exercise: slides
  • Case: Mortality due to PM2.5 in Kuopio
Pope et al. 2002
16.3. 9-12 Jouni, Marko S22
  • Probabilistic models video slides
Gibbs sampling Bayesian network Hierarchical Bayes model
17.3. 9-12 Jouni, Marko MC4 Calculation exercise of calibration and PM risks with Opasnet R Tuomisto et al: PM expert elicitation
18.3. 13-16 Jouni S24 Overall view of different models video, slides

Why do we do modelling?

  • Producing result from rationale.
    • Deterministic, heuristic, and probabilistic estimates.
    • Functional, differential, logical, and probabilistic relations.
    • Other relations (neural networks).

First drafts of DA study plans. Brief presentations by students of and discussions about the first DA study plan drafts.

21.3. 11-14 Jouni, Marko, Mikko S24 Decision making under uncertainty
22.3. 9-12 Mikko, Marko, Jouni S24 Decision-making under uncertainty (continued).
25.3. 9-12 Marko MC9 Calculation exercise.
29.3. 9-12 Jouni, Mikko S4069 Full drafts of DA study plans.
  • Brief info about updated course evaluation principles
  • A couple of words about the sensitivity analysis calculation exercise held on 25.3.
  • DA study plan presentations by groups and discussions about them
30.3. 9-12 Mikko, Jouni S24 Risk management: State-of-the-art?
  • lecture: slides, video
    • perspectives to assessment and management
    • tendencies in EHA and EHRM
    • What is managed, who is responsible, what is included?
    • RM in reality vs. (institutional) RM frameworks
    • contemporary challenges in assessment-management interaction
  • discussion:
    • assessment and management in the swine flu case
    • questions, actors, roles in swine flu case RM?
31.3. 9-12 Mikko, Jouni S23 Risk management: a social learning perspective
  • lecture: slides, video
    • participation in assessment and management
    • dimensions of openness
    • assessments as collaborative information production projects
  • discussion:
    • role of public in swine flu case RM?
    • dimensions of openness -analysis of the narcolepsy study RM
1.4. 9-12 Mikko, Jouni Risk management: facilitation of (open) risk management
  • lecture: slides
    • collective knowledge creation
    • pragmatic knowledge services
    • from an information society towards a knowledge society
  • exercise (task):
    • Discussion and structured argumentation in Opasnet
    • argumentation analysis on some swine flu RM related texts
7.4. 13-16 Jouni, Mikko S4069 Risk management: from needs to knowledge, knowledge to action
  • Lecture: slides video: Mikko, part 1 2 Jouni, part 1 2
    • Round-up of what has been stated about (open) RM so far
    • It's all about developing shared beliefs to guide action
      • hypothesis development and testing
      • discussion
      • shared belief systems
      • inference rules
      • evaluation of page content in Opasnet
  • Discussion
    • Based on the argumentation exercise (1.4.)
8.4. 9-12 Jouni, Mikko S22 Summary of decision analysis and risk management: slides, video
  • Overview of DA, RM, OA & ORM
    • Who needs (uses, makes, understands) DA & RM?
    • Examples of past, on-going, and upcoming OA/ORM cases
  • An example of a swine flu DA, video
    • overview
    • model
    • results and analyses
    • conclusions
    • relations to groups' DA study plans
  • What's new about the swine flu case?
  • Q&A, discussions and group feedback on the course contents and arrangements
  • Suggest more topics to be presented or discussed on the last lecture
    • topics can be e.g. some unclear things to be re-reviewed or something you may feel has been missing from the course contents
11.4. 9-12 Jouni, Mikko S24 Final seminar:
  • Presentations of DA study plans by groups
    • focus on the main improvements since 29.3.
    • presenting order: 2, 3, 1, 4
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion
  • Presentations of the RM exercises:
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion
    • presenting order: Anna, Bate, Carmen, Enembe
12.4. 8-11 Jouni, Mikko S24 Final seminar
  • Presentations of the RM exercises continues
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion
    • presenting order: Jacob, Jukka-Pekka, June, Kati, Minna (or someone on behalf of her), Oluyemi, Sallamari

Help and guidance

Topic Contact
General arrangements User:Jouni, User:Mikko Pohjola
Case study exercises: content User:Jouni
Case study exercises: technical User:Teemu R
Calculation exercises User:Marko

Help requests or other comments can be posted on the course web-page or the exercise web-page by using the comment boxes on the end of the pages (no user account / log in required) or on the discussion pages.

See also

Links to additional DA materials

Links to additional RM materials

General information sources on AH1N1 influenza (Swine flu)

Links to information on specific swine flu topics

(current headings intended as first guidance, can be modified as seen reasonable)

Beginning and expansion of the global H1N1 Pandemic

Preparation, decision and promotion of H1N1 vaccination in Finland

Campaigning against H1N1 vaccination in Finland

The development of H1N1 influenza in Finland

Implementation of the vaccination campaign in Finland

Suspected connections between THL and the producer Pandemrix vaccine (GlaxoSmithKline)

Pandemrix vaccine - composition, testing, alternatives etc.

Emergence of narcolepsy cases in Finland and elsewhere

Suspected connections between Pandemrix vaccinations and narcolepsy

Halting of vaccination campaign

THL narcolepsy study, results, and publication

Searching for the guilty

EMA statement on suspected connection between Pandemrix and narcolepsy

Reoccurence of swine flu in Finland and elsewhere

Background information about other Decision analysis and risk management study programs in Europe and in USA is provided here: Decision analysis and risk management - background information

NOTE! On this page, there was a list of related further education courses in Kuopio (in Finnish).


Risk assessment. Decision analysis. Bayesian theory. Open assessment. Risk management. Societal decision making.     


Related files


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