“Communicating credible science for a well-informed public
to make better decisions about the risks they face”
In addition to being the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP)’s Associate Director, Dr. Chakraborty is also a program associate on pharmaceutical regulation and product liability at Oxford University’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) and was an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University. Prior to joining the ISGP, Dr. Chakraborty served as the resident cognitive behavioral scientist at Lootok Ltd., a risk management consulting firm. Dr. Chakraborty received her doctorate in Risk Management from King’s College London and her undergraduate degrees are in Decision Science and International Relations from Carnegie Mellon University. She has over 20 published articles, has contributed to 3 additional books, and is author of the forthcoming book Pharmaceutical Safety: A Study in Public and Private Regulation (see publications tab for the complete list).
Sweta’s areas of expertise include risk perception, risk and crisis communications, corporate reputational management, risk regulation, and public trust. She has applied quantitative and qualitative research methods developed in the fields of social and decision sciences to study risky behaviors (e.g., patient noncompliance) and public reactions to major incidents (e.g., food and drug safety scares). She asserts that understanding public perceptions of risk is the necessary first step towards developing communications to address public concerns, recover from negative media backlash, and improve upon levels of public trust.
Sweta has worked for several years on key public policy topics of international concern such as infectious disease, food safety, emerging technologies (e.g., synthetic biology), and climate change. She has worked closely with the relevant stakeholders of a particular topic (e.g., country delegations, scientists, industry, NGOs, the public) on building policy recommendations based on credible science. For more on her work in science and technology global policy please visit the Institute on Science for Global Policy.
Sweta teaches decision science and has applied robust and cutting-edge mixed methods approaches from the field of cognitive behavioral science to understand how people process information and make decisions. She has worked on developing and testing decision-aiding tools and approaches that can be used by people to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts (e.g., environmental risk management, consumer choice, policymaking).
Sweta is the risk communications correspondent for the European Journal for Risk Regulation (EJRR) and regularly contributes primary research and expertise to this journal and others to advance the study of risk perception and communication. Risk communication is a science that first requires understanding how people cognitively process information. Only then can effective and strategic communication strategies be developed. This process is relevant to all organizations poised to benefit from more effective communication about risks associated with their products, operations, policies, and services.
Sweta has published and spoken extensively on food and drug safety communication and regulation. She has consulted for several Fortune 500 food and drug companies on internal and external communications, business resiliency, reputational risk management, and managing crises. See publications (link to peer reviewed papers) and speaking (link to speaking) engagements for more on her work in food and drug safety.