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, 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 also studies crisis management, in particular the case of the Covid-19 pandemic and the many organizational adaptations introduced during this crisis.

In May 2023, Olivier Borraz cofounded the CRISISLab, a hub for research, training and experimentation in human and social sciences dedicated to crises and organizational adaptability. The aim is to increase the visibility of research on crises in these disciplines and offer the possibility for discussions between researchers and practitioners.


See all publications


Crisis and Disaster Management, Governing Ecological Transitions in European Cities, Sciences Po Urban School (24h)

Case study in crisis management (with Jan Verlin), Sciences Po School of Public Affairs (12h)


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

  • Scientific council of the Direction générale des douanes et des droits indirects (Border police directorate of the Finance ministry) (2022-)
  • Expert college of the Direction générale de la sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises (Civil security and crisis management directorate of the ministry of Interior) (2023-)

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)
  • Membre du conseil scientifique de l'Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (2010-2015).
  • Membre du conseil scientifique de l’Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique (2007-2009).
  • Membre du conseil scientifique de la Fondation Santé et Radiofréquences (2007-2010).
  • Membre du conseil scientifique du GIS Risques collectifs et situation de crise (2003-2005).
  • Membre du Comité d'évaluation du Plan national santé environnement (2006-2007)
  • Membre de l’instance d’évaluation de la politique de préservation de la ressource en eau destinée à la consommation humaine, Commissariat Général au Plan (2000-2001).
  • Member of the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire’s [French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety] scientific council (2010 - 2016)
  • Working group of the Conseil d’État on La prise en compte du risque dans la décision publique (Integrating risk in public decision-making) (2017-18)
  • Support committee of Santé Publique France (French public health agency) on the heath impact of the Lubrizol fire (2020-23)

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

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