Henrik Thoren & Philip Gerlee:
Science, Computational Models and the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated many of the challenges with using science to guide planning and policymaking. One such challenge has to do with how to manage, represent and communicate uncertainties in epidemiological models. This is considerably complicated, we argue, by the fact that the models themselves are often instrumental in structuring the involved uncertainties. In this talk we explore how models ‘domesticate’ uncertainties and what this implies for science-for-policy. We conclude the paper with three suggestions for how to better manage and communicate uncertainty at the science-policy interface.
Professor Philip Gerlee obtained his PhD in Mathematical biology from the University of Dundee in 2008. His thesis worked concerned the use of individual-based models for understanding the evolutionary dynamics of tumour growth. After being a postdoc at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Gothenburg and Moffitt Cancer Center he moved to the Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology/University of Gothenburg. He has made to contributions to large number of topics within biomathematics, e.g. population dynamics, game theory and evolutionary theory. Since the COVID-19 pandemic he has been involved in epidemiological modelling both on a local and national level.
Professor Henrik Thorén is a philosopher of science and a researcher at the department of philosophy at Lund University. His work mainly concerns conceptual and methodological issues in e.g., sustainability, climate, and environmental sciences including work on the nature of inter- and transdisciplinarity, the resilience concept, the role of ecosystem services, and more broadly the management of values, uncertainties, and risks in science-for-policy. He is currently the PI for the Formas funded RIVET project that investigates normative assumptions in climate economics.