Julien Etienne

Independent consultant and policy researcher

I am a policy consultant.  

I provide independent and evidence-based findings, formulated clearly and with nuance, for policymakers to weigh and draw from. 

My tools are the concepts and methods of the social sciences, which I have practised extensively as an academic, a government advisor and a consultant.

New open access publication

On the future of industrial safety research


In this chapter, I ask what climate change does to industrial safety and what that means for the future of industrial safety research. Climate change already leads to and will cause more Natech events, that much is clear. Whether industry can adapt to prevent those is not. Engineering voices have recently stated that a handful of industries will need to be upgraded to withstand extremes, because they cannot be stopped at will and because they are critical. By contrast, the economical and rational response elsewhere will be to shut down when environmental conditions are too difficult (e.g., during a heatwave) and restart after. When and why make those trade-offs are key questions for industrial safety researchers. Besides, how far critical infrastructures can be “climate-proofed” largely depends on adaptation limits: the point at which it is neither physically nor socially feasible to adapt anymore. As adaptation becomes a key issue for industrial safety, so do adaptation limits. The challenge of thinking about industrial safety and climate change grows further when one considers that much of what is ahead is unknown. The weather extremes we are experiencing are only an appetizer on the menu we have cooked for ourselves. That challenges industrial safety research to the core. It shatters our illusions of control. It undermines our understanding of safety as an outcome of human–technology interactions. To wake up to that reality means shedding old ideas and embracing others. That is uncomfortable. It exposes researchers to controversy and practitioners to challenge. No one said it was going to be easy.


I have more than 15 years of experience in policy research. I have successively and successfully worked in academia, government and consulting. To any job, I bring academic rigour, policy purpose and responsiveness. 

My Journey

PhD in political science and sociology

6 years as a post-doctoral researcher at the London School of Economics

2 years as an advisor to a UK government agency

4 and 1/2 years as a consultant at international consultancy ICF

Independent consultant since September 2020