The U.S. faces many environmental risks, such as those posed by climate change or the use of nuclear energy. In the face of potentially catastrophic risks, government agencies must work together to better understand the science that shapes our understanding of environmental issues and appropriate strategies to deal with these problems.

In order to help government agencies to better understand and manage risk, one West Virginia University professor is working to gather data on how agencies work together and use scientific information to shape environmental policy.

Adam Henry, a WVU assistant professor, is now working with Thomas Dietz, a professor at Michigan State University, who conducted a related study of environmental risk policy 25 years ago. This research study is being made possible by a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant, which will allow the project to focus on its two main goals.

“We have two objectives throughout the project,” Henry said. “First, we want to understand how science is used to respond to environmental risks such as climate change. Second, by comparing strategies used to address different types of environmental issues, we want to determine the ways in which agencies can work together more effectively.”

When the new research is completed, Henry and Dietz will combine their results with data from the prior study of environmental risk policy. The combined data will allow the researchers to understand how the science surrounding environmental issues, and the ways in which agencies have networked together to solve these problems, have evolved over time.

For more information, contact Adam Henry, at 304-293-7966 or



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