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Wednesday 18th October 2023

Isaac Newton Institute

United Kingdom

This Open for Business event was part of an INI programme on the Mathematics of Movement: an interdisciplinary approach to mutual challenges in animal ecology and cell biology. It aimed to build links between movement modellers, epidemic disease modelling and those working in public health.


The movement and interactions of individuals is a key driver of epidemics in animal and human populations, as highlighted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Although the dynamics of epidemics span multiple spatiotemporal scales, modelling approaches tend to focus on a particular spatiotemporal resolution. For example, epidemiological models are usually macroscopic and treat dynamics of the whole population. At those scales, the movement dynamics can be neglected by assuming spatial patches where individuals are well-mixed, and approximating the interactions of those individuals through, for example, contact matrices. On the other hand, when the population sizes are relatively small, e.g. in enclosed settings such as care homes and hospital wards, the well-mixed assumption breaks down. In such cases detailed representation of how individuals move, come in proximity of one another and may transfer a pathogen, becomes important. At these ‘micro’ scales, mean-field approaches become untenable because of the inherent stochasticity and spatial heterogeneity of the process of pathogen transfer from one individual to another. To understand the complexity of disease spread the dynamics at all scales need to be accounted for. Given the tracking revolution in the last decades and the ensuing highly resolved movement data in animals and humans, the time is ripe to develop tools and techniques that account for the microscopic dynamics of infection transmission events bridging the gap to the macroscopic models at the population scales.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this event was to bring together mathematical modellers, epidemiologists and public health experts to identify the key challenges in connecting micro and macro scale modelling of interacting individuals in the context of epidemics.

This workshop featured a series of talks that covered these themes:

  • Modelling epidemics within enclosed settings – hospitals, schools, prisons
  • Modelling of epidemics on networks
  • Modelling of human mobility in the context of epidemics

The Programme is available in the left hand panel.

This event started with registration at 9:30am on Wednesday 18th October, with talks until 5pm, followed by a networking reception. All timings are GMT.

Poster Session

For those attending in person, there was the opportunity to present a poster. 

Registration and Venue

Registration for this event is now closed.

The workshop took take place at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Please visit the Isaac Newton Institute website for further information about the venue.

To maximise networking opportunities and interaction with speakers and other participants, we strongly encouraged in-person attendance to this workshop. However, this event was also hosted as hybrid via Zoom.