Understanding the uses of mathematical models in policy-making (MODEL-POL)

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Modeling has become a dominant form of research in many scientific disciplines, and an indispensable tool across virtually all domains of policy-making. Models are critical to our ability to comprehend, anticipate, and intervene into complex phenomena, from climate dynamics to financial markets. At the same time, models introduce particular forms of uncertainty and risk into decision-making process, and redistribute the balance of power among relevant constituencies.

MODEL-POL brings together social scientists researching the development and use of models across a variety of scientific and policy domains. It seeks to advance social-scientific understandings of models in action, and to engage with modelers from a variety of disciplines and policy areas in the development of socially reflexive modeling practices.

The collaboration includes researchers at the University of Oxford (Javier Lezaun), Humboldt University of Berlin (Jörg Niewöhner), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Stefan Schäfer), Technische Universität Berlin (Jan-Peter Voß), and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Oliver Geden).

MODEL-POL is funded by the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership [http://www.ox.ac.uk/about/international-oxford/oxford-berlin-research-pa...


MODEL-POL Conversations (June 2021)

During the month of June we will hold a series of virtual discussions with scholars whose work illuminates the interface of mathematical models and policy-making in different domains of public action.

In all cases the discussion revolves around a recent paper (which will be pre-circulated), and the conversation is a chance to explore further implications of the text and the author’s work.

If you wish to attend any of this sessions, please contact Javier Lezaun (javier.lezaun@insis.ox.ac.uk)


11 June (12:30pm-2pm, UK time): “Is mathematical modelling an instrument of knowledge co-production?” with Elisa Vecchione and Zaid Chalabi

16 June (note different time: 9am-10:30am UK time): “The model crisis, or how to have critical promiscuity in the time of Covid-19” with Warwick Anderson

18 June (1pm-2:30pm, UK time): “Mathematical models as boundary objects: experiences in water negotiations and governance on the Colorado River and Nile River” with Kevin Wheeler

25 June (noon-1:30pm UK time): “Models, forecasts, and the reinvention of humanitarianism” with Sara de Wit


MODEL-POL Workshop - Berlin October 24-25 2019

The Berlin meeting was an opportunity to share case studies from a variety of political and epistemic contexts, and to develop a shared analytical framework for studying the role of scientific models in policy-making and political debate. The meeting was sponsored by the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership.  Workshop Programme