There are numerous definitions of the risk concept. When studying the suitability of these definitions one key issue is the degree that the risk concept is able to reflect the data (D), information (I), knowledge (K) and wisdom (W) available, i.e. the various elements of the well-known DIKW hierarchy. In this paper we present and discuss a structure (conceptual framework) for linking some common risk perspectives and the DIKW elements. The structure is based on the following main ideas: Data1⁄4the input to the risk assessment, information1⁄4the risk description, knowledge (for the decision maker)1⁄4understanding the risk description, knowledge (for analysts)1⁄4understanding how to do the risk assessment and understanding the risk description, wisdom (for the decision maker)1⁄4the ability to use the results of the analysis in the right way and wisdom (for analysts)1⁄4the ability to present the results of the analysis in the right way. The principal aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the link between the risk concept and the DIKW elements, in order to strengthen the foundations of the meaning and characterisation of risk, and in this way provide a basis for improved risk management. & 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.