Two Worlds is one of the successful applicants to a £40M fund created to support “Business-led innovation in response to global disruption”, a competition that attracted 8,600 applicants. Working with a team including epidemiologists, mathematical modelling specialists and the Department of Computer Science at Imperial College, Two Worlds is using udu’s intelligent analytic software to tackle this problem.
Our goal is to demonstrate the ability to bring together the wide range of disparate sources of data that each give only a small part of the picture, in order to help assess the impact and effectiveness of public policy at local, national and global levels around Covid-19. In the process it can also spot patterns of behaviour that may not otherwise show an obvious direct relationship and use those to investigate possible causes of, for instance, high rates of infection, hospitalisation and mortality in particular areas or demographics as well as being able to infer likely infection rates and progression for areas where data is patchy or non-existent.
The advanced software being used is also being designed and audited from the outset, in collaboration with Imperial College, to ensure that personal data privacy and security is maintained and respected. It is intended that the results of the research will be developed into a system available to policy makers and researchers in many different areas.
Winning this funding competition gives us the opportunity to contribute to the global response to the pandemic. Public Policy in response to the pandemic has been hamstrung by data that is incomplete, inconsistent between areas and agencies, fragmented and, very often, late. Planners and policy makers therefore have to juggle many different and possibly conflicting sources of data and feedback in order to formulate and refine policy in a fast-moving environment. By creating a single point for analysing, exploring and visualising all that data, we aim to help improve the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of public policy in response to emergencies such as the current pandemic.
This research grant follows from the work Two Worlds carried out with Scottish Natural Heritage in late 2019 to identify and predict the impact of human activity on the natural environment, the approach to which is relevant to how we understand the impact of Covid-19 on human society.
At Two Worlds, we are already well practised at working remotely as a virtual team. That has been made possible from here by the investment that the Balquhidder community, supported by Stirling Council and the EU, has made in delivering world class broadband to the entire local area. This allows us to communicate at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1Gb/s) with our collaborators around the world. This project would not be possible without that infrastructure”.