Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Aviation Academy

Master Class Risk Assessment


Have you ever been surprised by complexity? Results that were not predictable due to interactions that you hadn’t identified? More importantly: do you want to improve your system and become better prepared next time? Then this master class in risk assessment based on STPA is for you.

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is proud to present a master class based on the System Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA). STPA is a technique developed in 2011 by Prof Nancy Leveson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), and is grounded on the System Theoretic Accident Model and Processes (STAMP). The goal of STAMP/STPA is to make the effects of complexity in socio–technical systems more understandable, thus better managed. The superiority of STPA over traditional means of hazard identification have been well publicized over the past years.

In this highly interactive, demanding and challenging master class you will comprehend the limitations of prevalent risk assessment tools and be exposed to techniques that aim at decreasing subjectivity. We will demonstrate how traditional approaches, as well as the results from STPA, can be exploited to establisch more valid and reliable manners of assessing risks. 

The master class will include discussions about the theory, application to well-known and lesser-known cases, and ample room for reflection on your own practice. Each step of STAMP/STPA will be complimented with tips to help you cope with potential difficulties during application. The number of attendees has been limited to ensure a lively discussion and excellent group sessions.

We will show how the results of STPA can retrofit the data which are necessary for currently used tools (e.g., FTA, ETA, Bow Tie). We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various risk assessment approaches, and you will become competent in using each  of the risk assessment techniques depending on the resources and data available. 

In order to hold discussions based on a solid understanding of the theory, we ask you to read Leveson’s book “Engineering a Safer World” (MIT Press, 2011) beforehand, which can be downloaded at this link or bought through the normal channels. Alternatively, you can download and read the STPA Handbook which is available from http://psas.scripts.mit.edu/.

The following subjects will be covered:

  • Introduction to systems thinking and STAMP.
  • STPA technique: analysis preparation, execution and checking.
  • STPA results: generation of constraints, requirements and scenarios.
  • Risk assessment: long-established and new approaches along with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Experiences and results from the application of STPA in actual practice – guest speaker from the industry.

This master class is aimed to safety professionals, risk analysts, engineers, managers and any practitioner involved in risk assessments within complex socio-technical systems. Students and academic staff are also welcome as they will benefit by the theoretical and practical parts of the master class. Some work experience in hazard identification and risk assessment is preferable to enable fruitful participation in group discussions.

Dr. Nektarios Karanikas is Associate Professor of Safety and Human Factors at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences since September 2014. He holds a doctorate in Safety and Quality Management (Middlesex University, UK) and an MSc in Human Factors and Safety Assessment (Cranfield University, UK). Nektarios has (co)authored several papers in the areas of Safety and Human Factors and has applied STPA in small-drone operations, military flight training and evaluation of Safety Management Systems. Since 2015, he has been delivering training in STPA to the industry as well as to students of the Aviation Academy.

The program runs for five full days from Monday until Friday; the program times are 9:00 to 17:00 (until 15:00 on Friday). The registration fee is €1890. Early-bird fees apply to registrations made up to 30th November 2018. Aviation Academy Alumni, RAAK PRO partners, EAAP and NAG members can register for early-bird fee (equivalent with 10% discount) during the entirely registration period.

All lunches, welcome drinks on Monday and a team dinner on Thursday are included in the fee. The location is Hotel Casa in Amsterdam.

In case you wish to stay in Amsterdam we recommend you the following nearby hotels:
Hotel Casa
Fletcher Hotel
Hampshire Hotels
NH Hoteles
Hotel Residence Le Coin

With further questions please contact Ms. Gieta Inderdjiet at g.m.inderdjiet@hva.nl, +31 (0)20 595 1361.


Substitution: If, after booking an event you are unable to attend, you are welcome to nominate someone else to attend in your place at no additional cost. Please advise substitutions via email so a correct name tag will be available at the registration desk. Cancellation by a participant: We require 60 days cancellation notice prior to the scheduled event, otherwise we will charge you a cancellation fee as below. 10% of your total cost will be charged in case of cancellation by 60 to 30 days before the event. 25% of your total cost will be charged in case of cancellation by 30 to 14 days before the event. 100% of your total cost will be charged in case of cancellation within 14 days before the event or no show. Cancellation must be made in writing by the person who completed/signed the registration form and sent by email or letter. A cancellation is effective as soon as AUAS receives the e-mail of letter. Cancellation by the Aviation Academy: The Aviation Academy (AUAS) reserves the right to alter or cancel an event for any circumstances beyond AUAS reasonable control. In this case, AUAS liability is limited to the refund of the full participation fee. Unfortunately, AUAS can only run a specific course if a sufficient number of participants sign up. AUAS reserves the right to cancel a course if there are not enough registrations. Cancellations will be announced to the participants as quickly as possible after the deadline for enrolment and no later than 4 weeks before the scheduled course start. You will receive the final confirmation no later than 4 weeks before the course starts.

Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 6 February 2019

In HvA’s Master Class Risk Assessment, I have learned to cope with the complexity inherent in socio-technical systems. Through practical application of STAMP, I’ve learned that it’s of vital importance not to focus on separate parts, but on systems as a whole including the interaction of its components. I’ve also learned how to minimize bad effects of cognitive biases and how to test your assumptions. The Master Class had a great mix of learning tools, which made it a riveting experience. I daily apply the knowledge acquired in my work.

Martijn Flinterman (Rijkswaterstaat) -