Sign in: Staff/Students
The study found that many models provided only cursory reference to the uncertainties of the information and data, or the parameters used
Research by scientists at the University of Liverpool has found that greater consideration of the limitations and uncertainties in infectious disease modelling would improve its usefulness and value.
Infectious disease dynamical modelling plays a central role in planning for outbreaks of human and livestock diseases. They forecast how they might progress and inform policy responses.
Informing policy decisions
Modelling is commissioned by governments or may be developed independently by researchers. It has been used to inform policy decisions for human and animal diseases such as SARS, H1N1 swine influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and is being used to inform action in the campaign to control bovine TB.
In a study published in PLOS One, researchers analysed scientific papers, interviews, policies, reports and outcomes of previous infectious disease outbreaks in the UK to ascertain the role uncertainties played in previous models, and how these were understood by both the designers of the model and the users of the model.
Dr Rob Christley, from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: “It is accepted that models will never be able to predict 100% the size, shape or form of an outbreak and it is recognised that a level of uncertainty always exists in modelling. However, modellers often fear detailed discussion of this uncertainty will undermine the model in the eyes of policy makers.
“This study found that the uncertainties and limitations of a model are sometimes hidden and sometimes revealed, and that which occurs is context dependent.
“Whilst it isn’t possible to calculate the level of uncertainty, a better understanding and communication of the model’s limitations is needed and could lead to better policy.”
Uncertainty can occur at all stages of the modelling process from weaknesses in the quality and type of data used, assumptions made about the infectious agent itself, and about the world in which the disease is circulating, all the way through to the technical aspects of the model.
The research team comprised veterinary scientists and epidemiologists, sociologists, microbiologists and environmental scientists.
The research, undertaken in collaboration with the University of Lancaster and funded by the UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use is published in PLOS ONE.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
All recent news
Liverpool Literary Festival returns October 8 -10
£3m secured as part of major new AHRC Towards a National Collection initiative
New AI tool developed by University of Liverpool researchers accelerates discovery of new materials
Inhibiting targets of SARS-CoV-2 proteases can block infection, study shows
Tandem Nano secures licence agreement for long-acting technologies for malaria, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C
'COVID vaccines for under-16s: why competent children in the UK can legally decide for themselves.' Read this new @ConversationUK piece by Prof @helenstalford (@LIVEChildRights), Dr Kerry Barry (@LivUni) and Dr @aoifedalylaw (@LawUCC) #vaccine #consent
In this video Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), patron of the Science Fiction Foundation, introduces some of the wonders and oddities from our holdings!
Did you know that we hold the largest catalogued collection of science fiction in Europe?🚀
Reported today in @naturecomms, @MIF_UoL & @LC_Mater_Design researchers create a new collaborative #AI tool that reduces the time & effort required to discover truly new materials.
The tool has already discovered 4 new materials.