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Published: 20 June 2016

New toolset to guide policy-makers

Researchers in the Department of Computer Science have developed a computational tool that will allow policy-makers to model how to manage large-scale human ecosystems before strategies are put into practice.

The ERIE (Evolution and Resilience of Industrial Ecosystems) programme, which is an EPSRC-funded research programme, involves the Departments of Computer Science, Sociology, Mathematics, and the Centre for Environmental Strategy, all within the University.

The CCTool (Complex Control Tool) is being used on to two specific ecosystems, focusing on real-world policy problems.

The first is the Structure and Dynamics of the Humber Region, North Lincolnshire. The Humber region is an industrially rich region located on the Humber Estuary. Characterised by diverse industry from oil refining and food processing to chemical and bio-chemical production, the region represents 27% of UK oil refining capacity and is the source of 23% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. Surrey has been working with stakeholders in this region to effectively steer development.

The second is FoodSCCAM (Food Supply Chains Complexity Analysis and Modelling), a project exploring key questions on food security and sustainability. The challenge to produce secure, nutritious and sustainable global food supplies is a well-observed complex issue, involving numerous stakeholders across local, national and international governance levels.

Key to this work is the development of realistic and reliable tools to support the everyday decision-making strategies of industrial and policy makers and to extend their understanding and intuition of system dynamics.

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