Olivier Borraz

Research Director CNRS
Environment, Risks, Health security, Public action, Sociology of health

Research Programs

  • Knowledge, science, expertise program
  • Public policy, transformations of the state program


Over the last 20 years, Olivier Borraz has conducted research in the field of risk governance and regulation, and more recently in crisis preparedness and management.

He first focused on risk governance related to environmental health, with case studies on controversies (e.g., mobile telephony), scientific expertise (e.g., the creation of independent agencies) and decision-making processes (e.g., vaccines). He later began to study risk-based regulation, jointly undertaking a comparison of the diffusion of risk-based instruments in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands, in sectors as diverse as occupational health, flooding, food safety, and education. This work led several major publications to highlight the role of institutional variables in the implementation of risk-based regulation, as well as the variations in what risk actually means from country to country.

His more recent work focuses on crisis preparedness and management, including a study of the French nuclear sector and a research project on volcanic alerts in the French Antilles with the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. He has also recently published papers on scenarios in crisis simulation exercises and why regulators assess risks differently in food safety inspections in four European countries.

In 2008, he published Les politiques du Risque [Risk Policies (FR)] (Sciences Po University Press) and co-authored the first book in a new series devoted to public policy (Politiques Publiques [Public Policies (FR)], Sciences Po University Press) with Virginie Guiraudon (the second volume was published in 2010). In 2020, he published a book on how the Covid-19 crisis was handled in France, with co-authors Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel, and François Dedieu.


See all publications


Sciences Po

  • Sociology of organizations and collective action (Master’s course, taught with Henri Bergeron & Patrick Castel)
  • The Covid-19 experiment: sociological analyses of the pandemic (3rd year undergraduate course, taught with Martin Giraudeau)


Offices Held

  • Director of the CSO (July 2013 - december 2022)
  • Member of Sciences Po Paris’ board of directors (2013 - 2016)
  • Co-leader of the CNRS’ Pluridisciplinary Thematic Network (with Sandrine Lefranc and Daniel Benamouzig, 2005 - 2008)
  • Sociétés en mouvement, science sociale en evolution [Societies on the move, social sciences in evolution] (2005 - 2008)
  • Scientific secretary of the CNRS National Committee’s section on Politics, Power, Organization (2000-2004)

Membership in Research Groups

  • Member of the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire’s [French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety] scientific council (2010 - present)
  • Chair of the Réseau Risques et Société [Risks and Society Network] (2007 - present)

Previous Membership in Research Groups

  • Member of the Health and Radiofrequencies Foundation’s scientific council (2007 - 2010)
  • Member of the Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique’s [Research Institute on Public Health] scientific council (2007 - 2009)
  • Member of the Plan national santé environnement’s [National plan on environmental health] assessment committee (2006 - 2007)
  • Member of the Groupement d’intérêt scientifique’s Risques collectifs et situation de crise [French Scientific Interest Group’s Collective risks and crisis situations] scientific council (2003 - 2005)
  • Member of the Commissariat Général du Plan’s politique de préservation de la ressource en eau destinée à la consommation humaine’s [Plan Commission’s policies on preservation of water intended for human use] assessment group (2000 - 2001)

Awards and Honours

CNRS Bronze medal

GRALE-CNRS “Prix special du jury” [Jury Prize] for theses about local governments



Habilitation (professorial thesis) in Political Science, Sciences Po Paris

PhD in Sociology, Political Studies Institute (IEP) - Paris

DEA (M.Phil) in Sociology, Political Studies Institute (IEP) - Paris

Master’s in Political Sociology, Pantheon-Sorbonne University

Professional Background

Senior research fellow (research professor) (2007 - present)

CNRS research fellow (1995 - present)

Last Publications

All publications from Olivier Borraz

Press Release

Back to top