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During a recent 2 day study group, mathematicians  considered "principles" for how to modify the operation of an individual workplace in order to reduce viral transmission. Professor David Abrahams, Director of INI was the main author.

The UK government must soon provide general guidelines for safe operation of workplaces that are to reopen in each stage of the release from lockdown. The guidelines themselves must be straightforward to interpret and as unambiguous as possible. They cannot be comprehensively enforced but must be largely adhered to voluntarily. Therefore public understanding of simple principles that underpin the detailed guidelines is crucial.

The study group focused on applying simple mathematical models in small team to explore these issues in different types of workplace, attempting to draw on relevant knowledge from scientific literature. It was attended by over 50 participants – most were academic mathematical scientists. But those from data science, economics, epidemiology, public health and behavioural science also took place.

A working paper was developed and the discussion points have been categorised into four main principle areas. Each discussion point has been explored with some mathematical rationale, two examples are given in the working paper.

The forum aims to expand on some of the ideas, open the methodology behind them up for discussion and ultimately to provide support on how the mathematical sciences can be harnessed to help the UK back to work. This forum is open to all, but in particular is keen for policy makers, and business owners to join. 

This Virtual Study Group was hosted by the Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences (V-KEMS) consisting of Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Isaac Newton Institute (INI) Newton Gateway to Mathematics, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) and various representatives from the mathematical sciences community.

For more information, contact Clare Merritt.