This project is an international research collaboration to study the role of mathematical models in contemporary science and policy.
Modelling 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. Modelling types and techniques are changing rapidly, driven by advances in analytical procedures, data availability and computing power that further expand the reach of models and their outputs. Models also introduce particular forms of uncertainty and risk into decision-making processes, and their legitimacy has become crucial in contemporary disputes over the epistemic authority of governing institutions and elites. Despite their relevance, however, the role of models in policy remains an under-researched object of social-scientific investigation.
This project brings together social scientists who research the development and use of models across a variety of scientific and policy domains. The proposed partnership has three main objectives: 1) to develop a robust, collaborative social-scientific research agenda focused on how models are produced, disseminated, interpreted and contested in policy debates and political controversies, and how the knowledge they produce can stabilize or undermine the authority of governing institutions; 2) to directly engage modellers and users of models in a set of structured discussions on how to enhance the public accountability of models; and 3) to seek funding for a sustained programme of research to advance this agenda.
This project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, and partners in Berlin at the Humboldt Universty, German Institute for International and Security Affairs and the Technische Universitat.