Since its establishment in 2016, the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) has not only drawn attention to increasingly complex risks that affect society, but also developed mitigation strategies for perceived risks. Given its fundamental role in the risk governance framework at EPFL, the appointment of James Larus, Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences, assumes great significance.

With his past experience as researcher, manager, and director at Microsoft Research for over 16 years followed by his leadership role at EPFL, a host of research papers, and achievements in the fields of programming languages, compilers, and computer architecture, James Larus was appointed as a member of IRGC’s Advisory Board in 2018. In his new role as Academic Director, he will be well-placed to help IRGC develop governance frameworks in areas such as risk assessment, emerging and systemic risks, and resilience-building. IRGC is already working on issues related to IT security in the cyber space by holding a series of expert workshops on cybersecurity, IoT, distributed ledger technologies, and decision-making algorithms. Professor Larus will bring his vast experience into play by addressing the increasing amount of the Center’s work in the broad category of digitalization and the rapid evolution of the risk landscape.

Apart from digitization, IRGC is also focusing on risk domains such as nanotechnology, precision medicine, synthetic biology, and critical infrastructure resilience—most of which are emerging technologies and therefore entail deeper risks. Since IRGC is an interdisciplinary unit dedicated to risk governance, James Larus will be working closely with other specialists to augment the Center’s existing body of concepts, frameworks, and publications, bringing key stakeholders such as the government, corporate sector, citizens, and the academia even closer together.