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Enterprise Risk Management – a new element for CERN

The Organization has introduced a new element: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)


CERN has always taken a very pro-active approach to managing risk. Risk Management is embedded in the Organization’s culture. The successful operation of CERN facilities, and the construction of new projects depend on it. Well-established examples of Risk Management processes include the current consolidation programmes for the Laboratory’s infrastructure and accelerators. These were introduced in the year 2000 and take into consideration many factors including CERN’s scientific objectives, as well as risk and reputational consequences.

This approach works well on a case-by case basis, but such a segmented Risk Management approach, organized by domain of expertise, has its limits. It does not help with comparison and consolidation of risk data across CERN. For this reason, and in line with evolving best practices, the Organization has introduced a new element: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).

Enterprise Risk Management addresses all types of hazards and provides with an holistic view of the most significant threats for the Organization. Managing risks enterprise-wide gives the Organization the best possible chance of achieving its objectives.

CERN’s ERM process has been in place since September 2016, but what does that mean in practice? From the governance’s perspective, an Enterprise Risk Management Advisory Committee (ERMAC) has been established to advise the Directorate, and everybody involved, on all matters related to corporate risks.

From a process point of view, in 2017 the Directorate carried out the 1st risk review to identify and assess, together with the support of the ERMAC, the top risks for the Organization.  A Risk Owner was appointed for each of them; each risk owner is a member of the Directorate, and has full responsibility for managing the menace. Their role is to identify the Departments involved, and ensure that a deeper analysis is undertaken to enable the risk to be effectively mitigated.

The next step for ERM at CERN is alignment with the operational risk management processes that are well established in the Departments. This will in turn nurture the annual enterprise-level risk review, contributing to CERN’s long-term sustainability. To learn more about ERM at CERN, visit the ERM website.