Decision analysis and risk management 2013

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This page is about a course Decision analysis and risk management organised in 2013. For a course organised in 2011, see Decision analysis and risk management. On this page, there was previously a list of related further education courses in Kuopio (in Finnish).

LIVE FEED FROM LECTURES (the same link also contains 2011 lectures). # : Due to some minor technical problems live feed from lectures has not been available on DARM2013, except for the first lecture. We hope to have these problems fixed soon. --Mikko Pohjola 09:04, 14 January 2013 (EET)# : Due to technical problems, live feed from lectures is not available on DARM2013, except for the first lecture --Marjo 11:21, 16 January 2013 (EET)

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.

Aims of the course

To give a good understanding and practical skills to perform, participate, and moderate open assessments using Opasnet.

The capability to act as an expert facilitator is the key objective in developing the course content. The purpose is to learn to effectively use facilitation to improve decision support.

In the course:

The student will learn about the fundamentals of decision analysis, the connections between assessments and societal decision making, and the role of decision making in a pragmatic context of improving outcomes. The student will learn to apply the scientific method and falsification in the context of an assessment, and know how to build an open assessment based on the requirements of societal decision making.

The focus is on how to convincingly exclude poor decision options rather than trying to find a theoretically optimal solution (e.g. with highest expected utility).

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): in 2011 Yes, in 2013 unclear.


  • Organising Departments: Department of environmental science (in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL)          
  • Course Director: Jukka Juutilainen / Jonne Naarala     
  • Teachers: Jouni Tuomisto, Mikko Pohjola, Marjo Niittynen    
  • Contact Persons email: jouni.tuomisto(at)     
  • Registration for the Course: Wossikka     

Teaching / Learning Methods

  • Lectures and discussions 14 h
  • Method sessions (lectures + practical work) 16 h
  • Exercises (guided work on practical tasks) 14 h
  • Seminars (practical work done presented by students): 6 h
  • Own reading and work 112 h


See the Content and schedule table for timing, locations, topics and links to materials. One lecture and classroom exercise session is 2 * 45 min, and they are typically held without a break. The lectures and sessions start 15 min past full hour.

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.

Homework exercises

See Decision analysis and risk management 2013/Homework


Acceptable completion of the following tasks (details may change):

  • Homework 1: Familiarise yourself to Mikko Pohjola's thesis and answer the questions. Due date: 10 Jan
  • Homework 2: Read the introductory pages about Template:Opasnet training and write one question that you think needs clarification. Due date: 11 Jan
  • Homework 3: With your pair, draft an assessment about the topic agreed on during the lecture. Due date: 21 Jan. Due date for final version: 4 Feb.
  • Homeworks 4 to 9: Due date Monday 11 Feb evening. For instructions etc. see Decision analysis and risk management 2013/Homework
  • Seminar presentation 12.-13.2. Assignment instructions to be given soon.

Homeworks 1 and 2 are evaluated on a 0-1 scale, where 0 = not completed and 1 = completed.
Homeworks 3-9 and seminar presentation are evaluated on a 0-2 scale, where 0 = not completed, 1 = satisfactory, 1.5 = good, 2 = excellent.

Satisfactory completion of all homework exercise gives 10 points and score 1 (on a 1-5 scale). By doing better that satisfactorily in exercises 3-9, it is possible to get a higher score as follows:

Points Score
<11 1
11-12 2
12.5-14 3
14.5-16 4
>16 5

There is also a possibility for a lighter version of the course (2 study credits) consisting participation to lectures, method sessions and the seminar (as a follower). if interested, ask for more details from Jouni Tuomisto (see contacs above).

Content and schedule

DARM course schedule 2013
Date Time Classroom Lecturer Topic
10.1. 9-11 S22 Mikko Lecture: Impact assessment and decision making, a risk management overview (slides). Homework 1 checked.
10.1. 12-14 S22 Jouni Lecture: Decision analysis 1. Basic concepts and information structures in open assessment. Their implementation in Opasnet. Homework 2: read pages listed in Template:Opasnet training and familiarise yourself to the concepts. Make one new question about what is unclear to you about the concepts to the homework page.
11.1. 9-11 S23 Jouni Lecture: Decision analysis 2. There are no slides, because we will go through Training assessment; see the assessment page and related pages. Homework 2 checked. Homework 3: Develop a basic assessment structure about an information need related to a) Talvivaara mine or b) metal mining in general or c) climate change policies in cities. The detailed question is your choice.
14.1. 9-11 S25 Mikko Lecture: Case Puijo forest management (slides)
16.1. 9-11 S22 Marjo Lecture: Case climate change (slides)
18.1. 9-11 S24 Tommi Lecture: Case metal mines (slides not available)
21.1. 9-11 MC2 Jouni, Mikko, Marjo Method session: A run-through of the course contents so far, answers to Homework 2 and 3. Short presentation of method sessions and exercises.
22.1. 12-14 MC1 Mikko Method session: Assessment scoping - aims, decisions, actions, impacts (slides). Topic: Climate policies. Homework 4 given.
23.1. 9-11 MC4 Marjo Method session: Assessment scoping & facilitation - participation, roles, perspectives, knowledge, collaboration. (slides). Topic: Climate policies. Homework 5 given.
24.1. 9-11 MC4 Jouni Method session: Structure of pages and objects and R code. No slides, see pages Energy consumption of heating of buildings in Kuopio, Variable, Method, Ovariable, Training assessment. Homework 6 given.
24.1. 12-14 MC4 Jouni Method session: Structured discussion. Topic: Environmental impact assessment directive [1]. No slides, see pages Discussion, Discussion on safety of Pandemrix. Homework 7 given.
25.1. 9-11 MC4 Marjo Method session: Expert contributions: exposure-response functions in estimating health impacts. (slides). Topic: IEQ factors. Homework 8 given.
25.1. 12-14 MC4 Mikko Method session: Management of assessments and decision making: execution, evaluation, facilitation. (slides) Homework 9 given.
28.1. 12-14 MC4 Mikko Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: basic tricks in editing Opasnet) + guided work on exercises
29.1. 12-14 MC9 Marjo Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: links, uploading images and files) + guided work on exercises
31.1. 9-11 MC1 Jouni Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: basics of R code) + guided work on exercises
1.2. 9-11 MC2 Mikko Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: page editing and version control in Opasnet) + guided work on exercises
4.2. 9-11 MC9 Jouni Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: using R code effectively) + guided work on exercises
7.2. 9-11 MC9 Marjo Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: ?) + guided work on exercises
11.2. 9-11 MC2 Jouni Exercise: Opasnet guidance (today's topic: ?) + guided work on exercises
12.2. 9-11 S25 Jouni (Mikko, Marjo) Seminar: Group work presentations (3 slots) MANDATORY
12.2. 12-14 S25 Jouni (Mikko, Marjo) Seminar: Group work presentations (3 slots) MANDATORY
13.2. 9-11 S32 Jouni, Mikko, Marjo Seminar: Group work presentations (3 slots) MANDATORY
13.2. 12-14 S26 Mikko Method session: Course evaluation and feedback, including round-up of HW3 & HW9
30 h lectures and method sessions, 14 h exercises, 6 h seminars.
MC classrooms are computer classrooms.

Tentative Opasnet guidance topics for the beginnings of exercise sessions:

  • basic text editing (ex. 1?)
  • categories/categorizing
  • permanent link
  • files in Opasnet: upload, linking, using, ...
  • creating articles
  • ...
  • add topics you would like to have taken up

Help and guidance

Topic Contact
General arrangements Marjo
Homework exercises 1, 4 & 9: Mikko
Homework exercises 2, 3, 6 & 7: Jouni
Homework exercises 5, & 8: Marjo

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

Materials and examples for training in Opasnet and open assessment
Help pages Wiki editingHow to edit wikipagesQuick reference for wiki editingDrawing graphsOpasnet policiesWatching pagesWriting formulaeWord to WikiWiki editing Advanced skills
Training assessment (examples of different objects) Training assessmentTraining exposureTraining health impactTraining costsClimate change policies and health in KuopioClimate change policies in Kuopio
Methods and concepts AssessmentVariableMethodQuestionAnswerRationaleAttributeDecisionResultObject-oriented programming in OpasnetUniversal objectStudyFormulaOpasnetBaseUtilsOpen assessmentPSSP
Terms with changed use ScopeDefinitionResultTool

Content of 2011 course

Abbreviations: DA = decision analysis, RM = risk management, RA = risk assessment, RC = risk communication.

Introduction to the course

  • introduction to decision analysis: slides

Introduction to risk management

Introduction to using Opasnet

Introduction to probability theory: Slides

Decision analysis. slides

  • Measures of outcome: Utility, DALY, QALY, WTP
  • Concepts: decisions, objectives, optimization, uncertainty, decision trees
  • Influence diagrams, Bayesian belief nets.
  • Purpose of assessment: Why it is done

Modeling and Monte Carlo simulation: slides

  • Computer modeling
    • Why?
  • Approximation
    • When data is not available
  • Monte Carlo simulation
    • When and why to use?
  • Common uncertainty distributions
    • Normal distribution is not the only option

Calculation exercise: slides

Probabilistic models slides

Calculation exercise of calibration and PM risks with Opasnet R

Overall view of different models 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).

Decision making under uncertainty

Calculation exercise.

Risk management: State-of-the-art?

Risk management: a social learning perspective

  • lecture: slides
    • 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
  • Additional material: heande:Open participation in environmental health assessment

Risk management: facilitation of (open) risk management

Risk management: from needs to knowledge, knowledge to action

Summary of decision analysis and risk management: slides

  • Overview of DA, RM, OA & ORM
    • Who needs (uses, makes, understands) DA & RM?
  • Examples of past, on-going, and upcoming OA/ORM cases
    • 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

Final seminar:

  • Presentations of DA study plans by groups
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion
  • Presentations of the RM exercises:
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion

Links to additional DA materials

Links to additional RM materials

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.     


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