This project is funded through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund (CF 2018-1012) and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020.

ARK builds strategic capacity to manage operational risk and system change


Is your risk management Proactive? Systemic? Performance focused? Change oriented?

These are the attributes required by current safety and risk regulation.

ARK turns these aspirations into a practical reality that has real impact on your business

The ARK mission

The ARK mission is to help organisations to leverage their own data to develop effective governance of operational risk - thereby enhancing the value their operations produce

Nick McDonaldTrinity College Dublin

How does ARK work?

ARK Governance implements “Understand – Act – Review” as a system-wide principle to manage operational risk at three levels:

  1. At operational level, data analytics uncovers systemic risk patterns, which are fed forward where needed in the operation, in turn generating feedback on how the risk was managed;
  2. At projects level, serious risks initiate change projects, the risk-in-change is actively managed, and the outcomes are verified;
  3. At strategic level, oversight of all operational and change risks enables integrated decision-making and proactive performance management across the system.


ARK builds evidence-based governance of operational risk, a core enabler of integrated Enterprise Risk Management

Background to ARK

Research and Development:

ARK comes from a rich programme of research and development addressing fundamental issues that confront critical complex operational systems, for example:

  • How to understand what really happens in a normal operational environment (as apposed to what should happen), as well as the impact of that activity.
  • Why most organisations find it difficult to change, and why there is so little evidence of effective change.
  • How to bridge the gap in understanding between system designers and system users.

Through a series of European collaborative RTD projects we have developed new methods for understanding operational risk, for understanding and managing change, and for the design of technology that addresses the operational reality of the user.

Key projects in this development:


Some key aviation industrial partners in this RTD effort:

SAS, Alitalia, MUAC ATC Centre (Maastricht); Thales Avionics, Vision Monitor, Greek CAA, KLM.

Education and training :

Our Masters programme has applied these insights to the advanced education of practitioners of risk, safety and change in a wide variety of industries and services.

Students are applying the methodologies in their course assignments and theses, demonstrating real gains in understanding and strategic benefit to their organisations.

Industrial sectors participating include the following: Transport – aviation, rail, maritime; Healthcare – acute and community based; Emergency services; Defence forces; Software development; Manufacturing – pharmaceuticals; Environmental management; Fraud prevention; Public services; University management; Financial services.

This programme is also available as a one year diploma and as a set of short certificate courses.


The ORION project

Training for SMS and advanced risk management implementation.

In parallel with ARK we are developing a series of training courses and workshops that support the practical implementation of systemic performance-oriented safety and risk management.

Implementing safety and risk management: The ARK project

ARK consolidates this RTD, education and training in an innovative software platform that hosts the analytics, change management and strategic synthesis.

This makes possible the accumulation of evidence from past experience that informs current decisions and creates an accountable link between action and outcome.


This accumulation of evidence is critical to the functioning of Integrated Enterprise Risk Management:  scaling up the analysis of the risks associated with safety enables integrated risk management with risks driven by commercial, financial or environmental concerns, enabling more informed decisions, leading to more accountable actions.


To accomplish this, ARK brings together a unique combination of expertise:

  • Extensive and profound Research and Development in operational and management systems
  • Advanced software development supporting quantitative and qualitative analytics and information governance
  • Grounded operational and safety experience