Open assessment workshop 2009

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Open assessment workshop 2009 is the third workshop about new methods in assessments (previously more narrowly on risk assessment), organised by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, (THL), Kuopio, Finland. Its main purpose is to provide the workshop participants a broad perspective to assessments, promote the idea and practice of open assessment, as well as further develop methods to perform open assessments. The workshop has started following the needs of several EU-funded research projects, notably Intarese, Beneris, and Heimtsa. The workshop is mainly targeted to postgraduate students working in the fields of environmental health or risk assessment, but it is also open to anyone interested. If you want to join the workshop, please create a user account (by following the log in/create account link in the right-top corner of the page) with your contact information and add your username to the list on the bottom of this page. There is no deadline for registration nor a registration fee for the workshop, but early registration is highly recommended in order to help both the organizers and the participants to arrange the facilities, accommodation, programs etc.

The workshop was successfully carried out. Read the report based on formal and informal feedback collected from the participants as well as organizers own reflections on the discussion page.

General information

Time: 16.2. - 20.2.2009
Place: THL, Kuopio, Finland (Kuopio info)
Organizer: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Department of Environmental Health

See the map below to check the locations of:

  • Hotel Savonia - accommodation
  • Tietoteknia - lectures and exercices
  • Jätkänkämppä - smoke sauna, ice swimming, traditional dinner
  • Antikkala - cross-country and downhill skiing, sledding
  • Kuopio passenger harbour - Skating tracks
  • Kuopio railway station
  • Kuopio airport
  • Kauppahalli (market hall at market square) - bus stop for line 5 from city center to Hotel Savonia
  • National Institute for Health and Welfare, (THL), Department of Environmental Health

You can zoom into the map and by clicking the red pins on the map, an information box indicating the name of the location will appear.

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5-day weather forecast for Kuopio by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

5-day weather forecast for Kuopio (in Finnish) by Foreca.

15-day forecast for Kuopio by Accuweather


The aim of the workshop is to provide the participants a good understanding of how to make the practical information needs of societal action and creation of scientific knowledge meet by making use of the latest methodological developments and modern information and communication technology. This aim is pursued in the workshop lectures and exercises by discussing and considering e.g following questions:

  • How to take the practical needs of policy into account in assessments?
  • How can scientific validity of assessments be ensured?
  • How to increase the applicability and enhance the use of assessment outputs?
  • How should impacts be appraised?
  • How to make inferencing, information synthesis and communication more effective?
  • Overall, what makes a good assessment a good one?

Answers to the questions listed above are sought for by addressing them from the point of view of open assessment. After the workshop, the participants should have:

  • understanding and command of concepts, methods application areas of open assessment
  • Adequate command of tools applied in open assessment in order to efficiently make use of them in design and execution of assessments and use of assessment outputs
  • improved expertise in the environmental health relevant topics considered in the lectures and group work exercises

In addition to everything above, we wish that after the workshop at least some of the objects worked on in the exercises reach such a high quality in their information content that they can be considered to be the most up-to-date and comprehensive source of information regarding the topic in issue.

The core of the workshop program are the practical group work exercises related to a real-life assessment case called Assessment on impacts of emission trading on city-level (ET-CL), aiming to influence the COP-15 meeting to be held in Copenhagen December 2009. The exercises are complemented with lectures and guidance aiming to provide understanding of the necessary concepts and methods as well as sufficient command of the technical tools for carrying out the exercise tasks. The guidance will be provided by workshop organizers, as well as other participants suitably experienced in the question in issue, according to demand as the workshop progresses. Lectures and group work are explained in more detail below.


Monday, Tietoteknia 1039 Tuesday, Tietoteknia 1039 Wednesday, Tietoteknia 1038 Thursday, Tietoteknia 1038 Friday, Tietoteknia 1038
9:00-9:15 Introduction to workshop 9:00-10:15 Lecture 3: Variables - interpretations of real-world phenomena, part I 9:00-10:15 Lecture 5: Science necessitates collaboration, part I 8:30-10:00 Lecture 7: Assessments - science-based decision support, part II 8:30-10:00 Lecture 8: Evaluating assessment performance
9:15-11:45 Lecture 1: Open assessment in research 10:30-11:45 Lecture 4: Variables - interpretations of real-world phenomena, part II 10:30-11:45 Lecture 6: Science necessitates collaboration, part II 10:00- Social activities: Skating on lake Kallavesi 10:00-11:45 Group work: Assessment performance evaluation
11:45-12:45 Lunch 11:45-12:45 Lunch 11:45-12:45 Lunch -13:00 Social activities: Skating on lake Kallavesi 11:45-12:30 Lunch
12:45-14:15 Lecture 2: Assessments - science-based decision support, part I 12:45- Group work: Developing variables 12:45- Group work: Developing variables in collaboration 13:00-14:00 Lunch 12:30-13:45 Group work presentations
14:45-16:15 Introduction to case study -15:00 Group work: Developing variables -15:00 Group work: Developing variables in collaboration 14:00-15:30 Group work: Assessment development 13:45-14:00 Workshop summary and feedback
16:15-16:45 Practical arrangements 15:00-16:45 Group work presentations 15:00-16:45 Group work presentations 15:30-16:45 Group work presentations
18:00- Social activities: dinner and smoke sauna 18:00- Social activities: skiing, snowboarding, sledding on [Puijo]

Morning sessions begin at 9:00. Lunch is available at Tietoteknia restaurant (at participant's own cost) 11:45 - 12:45., after which the afternoon sessions continue until approximately 16:45. Exceptions to this are Thursday when we have a later lunch time as well as delayed afternoon session due to a skating trip to lake Kallavesi in the forenoon, and Friday when the afternoon session will end already by 14:00 due to travel schedules of some workshop participants.

Tietoteknia restaurant also serves coffee and snacks. It is open 8:30 - 15:00 and lunch is served 11:00 - 13:30.


The lectures are conducted in a form that attempt to emphasize practicality of discussed topics as well as dialogue among the lecturers and participants. The whole set of lectures comprise a discussion that continues and develops throughout the workshop week and guides the participants from considerations regarding the purpose of assessments to detailed contents of individual variables and on to a synthesis and an evaluation of overall outcomes of assessments. The lecture topics can be seen in the schedule above and the daily program description below. More detailed lecture contents can be found on a separate lecture page for each topic (follow the links to get to the lecture pages).

NOTE: The first lecture on Monday morning, Open assessment and science, is targeted also to people that do not have the possibility or interest to participate in the whole workshop. The opening lecture will consider open collaboration in scientific research, and the focus during the rest of the week will be mainly on assessments as science-based information support for societal decision making. It is thus possible to attend only the first lecture as an independent, separate part of the workshop program. It is also possible to continue to follow the rest of the workshop program after the first lecture without any prior registration.

Group work exercises

There are four exercise sessions, one every day from Tuesday to Friday, each consisting of first working in small groups on specific tasks and then presenting the outcomes of that work and lessons learned to other groups. On Tuesday and Wednesday the exercises focus on developing the contents of a chosen set of variables belonging to the Assessment on impacts of emission trading on city-level (ET-CL). On Thursday the exercises focus on certain aspects of the ET-CL case assessment. The last exercise on Friday is about evaluating the goodness of the assessment and its parts in their current form. The groups will be the same in Wednesday's and Thursday's exercises, but can be reconfigured for Thursday and Friday exercises.

The specific tasks for each group focus on one particular object, or a part of that object (a variable, an assessment attribute or group of variables located in Opasnet). The idea is to develop the information content by applying certain specified methods of open assessment. Tentative lists of objects and methods is presented below. The tasks are designed to be focused enough so that the group will be able to get a good grasp of the issue at hand, familiarize themselves adequately with the method(s) to be used, and produce some concrete output on the corresponding Opasnet pages. Methodological and tool support as well as substantial expertise will be provided according to demand by workshop organizers as well as other workshop participants already familiar with the tools, methods and issues in question.

The expected outcome of these exercise tasks consists of multiple aspects:

  • improved information content of corresponding variable, assessment, method, or other pages in Opasnet
  • increased understanding among the group members of both the phenomena that the objects describe and methods applied
  • understanding conveyed to other groups through group work presentations

Follow the links to lecture pages in the schedule above also to see the specific exercise tasks.



The main activities throughout the workshop week take place at the seminar halls 1038 and 1039 in the Tietoteknia building (see the map in the beginning of the page to check the location). There will be a wireless internet connection available for all participants. Each participant is recommended to bring along a laptop computer. If this is not possible for you, please inform the organizers about this and we will see what we can do about it.

Remote participation

If there should be any people who would like to participate in the workshop, but cannot make it to Kuopio to attend the workshop in person, we try to organise a web-conference for the lecture sessions using Skype. The group work will be worked on using the Opasnet website, so also outsiders can relatively easily take part in that as well. It is also possible to join a group remotely and communicate with group members through Skype. This way you may also participate from wherever you are, as most major things - except the social program - will be made available via the Internet. Add your name on the list of remote via internet participants at the end of this page if you want to follow the workshop, but are unable to attend in person.

Instructions for remote participation to lectures:

  • NOTE: the lectures, including the Skype conferencing, are recorded
  • Call username open.risk on Skype (you can add this user to your Skype contacts preferably already before the workshop) a before the beginning of a lecture.
  • Keep your microphone on mute always when not making questions
  • When you want to make a question or comment, type a message to user open.risk and the lecturer will give you an opportunity to speak out your question (remember to turn on your microphone)
  • You can also send your question as a message and have the Skype-cast director read it out for you
  • The lecture videos will be put available online as soon as possible
  • Follow the links to lecture pages (see above) to get access to the lecture material

Instructions for remote participation to exercises:

  • Pick a group (exercise) you want to join and indicate this to workshop organizers e.g. by calling or messaging Skype user open.risk
  • The organizers will find out which Skype user to contact in order to join the group discussions
  • Participate in the work through the Opasnet pages related to the exercises assigned

Social activities

Activities arranged as part of the workshop program:

Equipment and prices for social activities:

  1. Bring your swimming suit if you want to try ice swimming on Tuesday (if you forget, the national sport of Finland, skinny-dipping, is also allowed). The price of smoke sauna is 11€ and dinner 19€, so in total the cost of Tuesday activities is 30€.
  2. On Wednesday, ski boots, skis, poles, snowboards etc. for both cross-country and downhill will be available for rental at the Antikkala lift station. Cross-country set 10€/2h, downhill ski set or snowboard 11€/2h, ski lift ticket 12€/2h. More rental price info at: Puijon Rinteet web-page. You may also bring your own equipment with you. Remember hat, gloves and warm, but comfortable clothing.
  3. Skating equipment will be available for rental on Thursday. Long-blade trekking skates cost 7€/2h and skating boots to fit in the skate bindings cost another 7€/2h. Also some blades that can be bound to your trekking/hiking shoes are available for 7€/2h. More rental info (e.g. helmets, elbow and knee pads) at: Leo's skating service web-page. Again hat, gloves and warm, but comfortable clothing is necessary.

It is still possible to adjust the social activities program. If you have wishes or suggestions, go ahead and let us know by writing them down on the discussion page

Please note that the social activities are voluntary and the costs of activities will be borne by the participants themselves. Participating in the social activities happens at each participant's own risk, the participants are not insured against any accidents by the workshop organizers. It is recommended that each participant makes sure before the workshop that they have a valid insurance that covers also the free-time activities during the workshop.

Examples of other activities, sites etc. available:


We have a block reservation for the workshop participants at Hotel Savonia see map. The hotel is the same as where most of the 2008 workshop participants stayed.

Room prices for workshop participants:

  • Single room 80 euros/night
  • Double room 96 euros/night

If you need accomodation, please (in addition to mentioning it in the registration below) inform the organizers about the desired room type and duration of your stay. If you wish to stay in Kuopio over the weekend before or after the workshop, the above-mentioned workshop room rates apply also for weekend nights.

Getting around in Kuopio

Arrival/departure by air

The distance from Kuopio airport to the city is about 17 km. There are two options to get from the airport to the hotel - bus and taxi. Kuopio airport transport connections


Airport buses (5 €/trip) operate (by Linja-Karjala Oy) from all domestic flights, except for the flight AY519, arriving 00.25! The bus leaves from the airport approximately 5-15 minutes after the flight has arrived (the bus will wait for the passengers to collect their luggage before leaving). Get off the bus at Market Square in the center of Kuopio. From the Market Square it is possible to walk to the hotel (distance 2,4 km) or alternatively you can take a bus line 5 (2,70 €/trip) that goes by the hotel. Line 5 buses leave from the Market Square close to the Market Hall on the south end of the square. The timetable (unfortunately only in Finnish) for line 5 can be seen here.

Airport buses operate to all domestic flights. Bus to the airport leaves from Market Square (front of Anttila department store, east end of the square, Puijonkatu 19) 55 minutes before flight departure.


After each flight arrival there will be taxis waiting outside the airport. You may choose the airport taxi service (18 €/person), which means that the driver will wait until the car is full (in practice 2-3 persons/taxi) before leaving and then takes each passenger to their destination. Alternatively you may choose the normal taxi service (about 30 €/trip). If there are 2 people or more sharing a normal taxi it will be cheaper to take the it instead of the airport taxi service. If there are no taxis waiting at the airport you can order one by calling +358 17 106 400.

When going to the airport, make your airport taxi bookings (18 €/person) at least 2 hours before your scheduled departure by calling +358 17 106 400. The taxi will come to pick you up from agreed location approximately 1 hour before the scheduled departure time. Again, if there are 2 or more people sharing the taxi, it is also possible to order a normal taxi from the same taxi center number +358 17 106 400.

Arrival/departure by train

Kuopio railway station is located close to the center. It is possible to walk to the hotel or alternatively walk to Market Square and take bus line 5 going by the hotel. Line 5 buses leave from the Market Square close to the Market Hall on the south end of the square. The timetable (unfortunately only in Finnish) for line 5 can be seen here. Getting from hotel to the railway station happens similarly, but vice versa. You can also take a taxi to the hotel in front of the railway station.


Please list your name and organisation here: (Requires login)

No accommodation needed:

Accommodation needed:

  • Eva Kunseler, PBL
  • Anne Knol, RIVM
  • Audrey de Nazelle, CREAL
  • Tek-Ang Lim, InVS
  • Danielle Vienneau, IC
  • Patrycja Gradowska, TUDelft

Participation via the Internet:

Useful background material

Keep an eye on this page, this is the official website of the workshop. It will be updated as new information comes available.

Lecture videos

Videos from 2009 now available. Sorry about the quality and format...