About the 2021 Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey

The unprecedented disruptions emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn attention to the critical importance of global risks around the world. We know that global risks are increasingly complex, uncertain, systemic, and dynamic. To tackle global risks effectively, we need a stronger understanding of the likelihood, impact, and linkages between a wide range of risks. The 2021 edition of the Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey, conducted in partnership between Future Earth, the International Science Council (ISC), and Sustainability in the Digital Age, is designed to complement the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Risks Report, which reports on the global risk perceptions of leaders from business, economics, and government. This survey will contribute to the discourse that has been shaped through the WEF’s important work with an international analysis of scientists’ perceptions of global risks.

The goal of this survey is to spark dialogue, identify knowledge gaps, and support the growth of a multi-sectoral scientific community working to better understand and provide solutions to global risks. This is a survey of scientists with, at minimum, a Masters degree or equivalent, and respondents will be asked about your experience and level of expertise in evaluating different types of risk. This information will be used to help assess the perceptions of scientists as a group, and the perception of experts on particular types of risk. 

The survey uses the WEF’s definition of global risk, which is “an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years”. Respondents will be invited to evaluate the likelihood and potential negative impact of the 35 global risks identified in the WEF Global Risks Report 2021, and to assess their interconnectedness and their potential for leading to a global systemic crisis.

WEF’s Top 35 Global Risks (2021)

Our Team


Dr. Midori Aoyagi, Principal Researcher, Social and Environmental Systems Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan

Prof. Melody Brown Burkins, Associate Director, The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding; Adjunct Professor, Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College, USA

Dr. Kalpana Chaudhari, Assistant Professor, Shah And Anchor Kutchhi Engineering College; Vice President, Institute for Sustainable Development and Research (ISDR), Mumbai, India

Prof. Terrence Forrester, Professor of Experimental Medicine, UWI Solutions for Developing Countries, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica 

Prof. Matthias Garschagen, Professor, Department of Geography, Human-Environment Relations, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Dr. Paul Hudson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany

Prof. Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston; Director of Center for Governance and Sustainability and Director of the Global Environmental Governance Project, USA

Prof. Edward Maibach, University Professor, George Mason University; Director, Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, USA

Prof. Damon Matthews, Professor and Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Concordia University; Scientific Co-Director, Sustainability in the Digital Age, Canada

Anne-Sophie Stevance, Senior Science Officer, International Science Council, France

Dr. Sylvia Wood, Lead Scientist for Research and Development, Habitat, Canada


Jennifer Garard

Seth Wynes