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The University of Southampton
CORMSIS Centre for Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems

CORMSIS Seminar - Seizing Victory from the Jaws of Defeat? Modelling Norovirus Foodborne Transmission Mechanisms for the Food Standards Agency Event

16:00 - 17:00
27 October 2016
Room 3041 Building 2, Southampton Business School

For more information regarding this event, please email Dr Yuan Huang at .

Event details

Abstract: Norovirus produces infectious intestinal disease. Its main vector is person-to-person (P2P) contact but it is also transmitted via foodborne mechanisms (FB). The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned work to: improve understanding of the FB mechanisms; give insight into the relative importance of FB transmission; indicate where FSA might target its efforts. The work took an existing P2P model and transformed its single, exogenous parameter treatment of FB transmission into a fully developed account of the underlying causal mechanisms. The effects modelled were: sewage contamination of bi-valve shellfish; contamination of soft berry fruits and leafy vegetables; contamination of other foodstuffs via infectious food preparers. The FSA provided access to experts in relevant areas. However, the FSA took the view from the outset that it might be difficult to obtain estimates for all parameters in such an extended model. The model was constructed, dealing in detail with the FB mechanisms. This was done via individual expert interviews and a group working session. In itself this work was useful in clarifying the state-of-the art regarding our understanding of FB processes. However, as predicted, it was not possible to parametrise fully this new model. Nevertheless, the work contributed to FSA understanding in two ways. First, the detailed causal mechanism modelling made it possible to identify those parameters which are known/unknown and those which are were fixed/influencable. This was useful in agenda-setting for future research and in identifying policy levers. Second, a slightly extended version of the P2P model, re-calibrated using new assumptions and new data, made it possible to analyse the extreme variation in NV cases across a year and understand the relative importance of FB and P2P vectors. The latter made important points – grounded in sound analysis – about where interventions to reduce NV incidence should be targeted. (The work is done by David Lane, Darren Holland, Abdul Khaled, Elke Husemann)

Speaker information

Professor David Lane,Henley Business School, University of Reading ,David C Lane is Professor of Business Informatics at Henley Business School. He specialises in strategic analysis using system dynamics and systems thinking. He works interactively with groups of senior managers to help them express their ideas in the form of a system dynamics-based simulation model. The model and the facilitated process help managers to think through the long-term policies of their organisation. His theoretical work concerns the contribution that system dynamics can make to the formalisation of certain concepts arising in social theory. His practical interests include: healthcare management; the creation of marketing strategies for cinema films, child protection and the dynamics of project management. David Lane has mathematics degrees from Bristol and Oxford Universities and a Doctorate in mathematical modelling also from Oxford. He was a consultant in Shell International and a marketing manager in Shell UK. Before joining Henley he was a faculty member at City University Business School and then London School of Economics and Political Science. He has consulting and executive education experience in a wide range of commercial and public sector/government organisations. He is a member of the Home Office Science Advisory Council (HOSAC) in which role he provides independent advice on the use of operational research and systems thinking approaches with the aim of improving the quality of the science and research that is used to inform strategic delivery and policy development. In 2005 David Lane received an LSE award for outstanding performance and innovation in teaching and in 2008 he received a student-nominated LSE Students' Union Teaching Excellence Award. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Operational Research Society for "outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of OR", and in 2007 was awarded the System Dynamics Society's Jay Wright Forrester Award "for the best contribution to the field of system dynamics in the preceding five years". In 2010 he was appointed as an Advisor to the Munro Review of Child Protection for the Department for Education. In 2011 David Lane served as President of the System Dynamics Society. In 2014 he received the Operational Research Society’s President’s Medal for the application of systems modelling approaches in the child protection sector.

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