Webinar Series: An Introduction to agent-based models for public health

This webinar series will provide and introduction to agent-based models with a particular focus on their application to public health challenges. It is aimed at anyone with an interest in learning about agent-based modelling, including people who want to become “modellers” and learn to build models themselves, and people who want to learn how to use and interpret models and use these in public health policy-making or practice.

The three webinars in this series will cover the principles of agent-based modelling, the types of public health questions agent-based models can be used to address, and how agent-based models can be used to inform policy and practice decisions, as well as introducing you to a range of case study examples of agent-based models applied to public health challenges.

Complexity and agent-based modelling

Wednesday 12th October, 13:00-14:00, online via Zoom
Dr Corinna Elsenbroich, University of Glasgow

 Agent-based modelling is a computational method that can simulate social processes by replicating behaviours of individuals in silico. This webinar, presented by Dr Corinna Elsenbroich, will explore the ways agent-based models can help us explore the complexity of the social world.

Justified Stories: formalising "what if?" for policy modelling

Wednesday 19th October, 13:00-14:00, online via Zoom
Dr Jennifer Badham, Durham University

Dr Jennifer Badham will be talking about JuSt-Social, an agent-based model developed to support local planners in North East England in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation focuses on the changing way in which policymakers used the model as the epidemic developed and the role of agent-based models as a tool for thinking.

Understanding agent-based models for public health

Wednesday 2nd November, 13:00-14:00, online via Zoom
Dr Ricardo Colasanti, University of Glasgow

Dr Ricardo Colasanti will discuss different types of agent-based models and demonstrate how these can be applied to address a variety of public health challenges using interactive case study examples.

Past Events

Social Simulation Week Webinar:
Opportunities and challenges of modelling complex health behaviour

Thursday 17 September 2020

As part of Social Simulation Week 2020, hosted by ESSA and Behave Lab, PHASE hosted a webinar to discuss potential applications of ABM to address public health challenges and highlight key considerations when developing models of public health. Drawing on examples of ABM for adult social care and contact tracing, speakers examined issues such as model specification and obtaining suitable data for model calibration and sensitivity analysis, and discussed the role of cross-disciplinary partnerships involving health practitioners and decision makers in developing effective and useful models of public health and the ways in which PHASE aims to support these collaborations.

You can see videos of all the sessions from Social Simulation Week 2020 on the Behave Lab website.

Help! Public health needs ABM  [2:17-16:22]
Prof. Richard Mitchell, University of Glasgow 
In this brief talk, I will use the current Covid-19 pandemic to illustrate why public health desperately needs ABMs to help understand and tackle the complex interactions between people and their environment. These interactions are crucial for infectious disease and for the bigger challenge; non-infectious disease. I’ll consider why public health hasn’t used ABM much before now and explore the kinds of questions that could be asked and answered.

Help, all my mechanisms are missing [22:13-49.05]
Dr Jennifer Badham, Visiting Scholar, Queen’s University Belfast
In this talk, I will argue that a key barrier to widespread adoption of agent-based modelling in public health is that mechanisms are missing from major behaviour theories. A mechanism focus could also help bridge disciplinary gaps.

ABM for Social Care Policy [55:47-1:18:41]
Dr Eric Silverman and Dr Umberto Gostoli, University of Glasgow
In this talk, we will present a model of social care provision which we have been developing in the last three years, with the aim to show how ABM can help us to develop models of societies characterized by a complex interaction between demographic, epidemiological and economic factors. We will show how, even in a situation of scarce data, these kinds of models can still be a valuable tool for policy makers to test social and economic policies in order to assess spill-over effects and unintended consequences before these policies are implemented in the real world.

An agent-based model of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of smartphone-based contact tracing [1:23:40-1:52:54]
Dr Jonatan Almagor and Dr Stefano Picascia, University of Glasgow
Using an agent-based model we simulate the transmission of COVID-19 in a population of agents on an urban scale to assess the feasibility of a smartphone-based track-and-trace strategy to mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Population Health Agent-based Simulation nEtwork (PHASE) [1:53:36-2:10:30]
Prof. Laurence Moore, Network Director, University of Glasgow
This talk will provide an introduction to the network vision and aims, followed by discussion session about research priorities and network activities.