Modeling With Policy Professionals: Debating Best Practices

Over the last couple of decades many scholars in the field of social simulation have been attempting to develop computational models that can serve the practical needs of policy professionals. The general consensus is that modeling and simulation (M&S) methods hold great promise for guiding policy discussions and decisions and that none of us in the scholarly community have really figured out quite how to pull it off. This round table brings together members of an international team of collaborators from three organizations focused on M&S (see affiliations below) to describe our failures and successes in modeling with (rather than for) policy professionals. After brief presentations from each of the participants, we hope to engage the audience in a robust discussion of best practices and next steps for improving the capacity of our field to inform real-life policy-oriented debates.

Round table hosts:

    • F. LeRon Shults, scientific director of the Center for Modeling Social Systems at NORCE and professor at the Institute for Global Development and Social Planning at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
    • Wesley J. Wildman, director of the Center for Mind and Culture and professor at the School of Theology at Boston University, USA
    • Erika Frydenlund, research assistant professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University and lecturer at the ODU Women’s Studies Department
    • Joshua Epstein, professor of Epidemiology at New York University College of Global Public Health
    • Petra Ahrweiler, TISSS LAB, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
    • Nigel Gilbert, professor at University of Surrey and director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation