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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Event | 22 November 2021

2021 EU Conference on modelling for policy support: collaborating across disciplines to tackle key policy challenges


The European Commission Competence Centre on Modelling (CC-MOD) is organising the 2nd biennial EU Conference on modelling for policy support. The event will take place during the week of 22 – 26 November 2021.

To minimize risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will be a fully online event, with a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, interactive trainings and workshops taking place in the course of a full week.

Call for abstracts open until 30 June


Tackling policy challenges requires making political choices, which must be transparently informed by evidence.

Models are extensively used to analyse the environmental, economic, and social impacts of policies. The European Commission makes use of models throughout the policy cycle and is committed to sound and transparent use of evidence in the framework of the Better Regulation policy and Open science principles.

The Conference brings together researchers and policymakers from European and international institutions, Member States, universities, research institutes and consultancies to identify common challenges and solutions when using models to support policymaking across all policy domains.

In 2019 the first edition of the Conference highlighted the need and added value for model developers and users to share knowledge and best practices. The program of the 2021 Conference will be further enriched to provide additional opportunities of exchange between modellers and policymakers.

Important dates

30 June 2021 Extended abstracts submission
15 September 2021 Acceptance decision
Registration opening
30 September 2021 Final submission of revised extended abstracts
15 October 2021 Deadline for registration - presenters
12 November 2021 Deadline for registration - participants

Call for abstracts

Download the template for abstracts

Authors need to submit an extended abstract of maximum 2 pages (1000 words) in English by 30 June 2021.

Abstracts must be sent to, by indicating the Conference area they refer to (areas 1 to 9, see below; a maximum of two areas can be indicated).

Acceptance will be notified by 15 September 2021. The deadline for the submission of the revised abstracts is 30 September 2021.  Presenters need to register by 15 October 2021.

All accepted abstracts will be published in the Conference booklet, which will be made available online ahead of the event.

Contributions should cover model development and model use for policy development, assessment and implementation in the EU and in the Member States. They can refer to all policy areas characterised by frequent use of models in support to policymaking in the EU, such as agriculture, economics, energy, environment, transport and climate, as well as modelling to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The submission of abstracts related to other policy fields is also possible.

Contributions should aim at sharing best practices to contribute to the quality of modelling for policy support, by addressing common issues and challenges to ensure high quality standards and adherence to the state-of-the-art.  They can refer to scientific and practical aspects, and should clearly demonstrate how modelling approaches supported policymaking processes. Abstracts can also refer to processes and policies to improve the uptake and efficiency of the use of models that underpin policymaking. The direct involvement of both scientists and policymakers in the presentation, as well as reference to concrete experiences of collaboration across disciplines, is an asset.

Submissions should refer to one of the following main areas related to models for policy support:

  1. Transparency of models and their use
  2. Ensuring model quality
  3. Scenarios and data
  4. Assessing and communicating uncertainty in model results
  5. Multidisciplinary approaches, integrated assessment and model linkages
  6. Complex systems and multicriteria analysis for policy modelling
  7. Combination of qualitative and quantitative methods
  8. Communication and visualisation of model results
  9. Using model related evidence for policy: processes and experiences

The abstract should clearly indicate questions, methodology and results, as well as the relevance and implications for model development and use in support to policy. In particular, it should be clear how the work contributes to learning for the whole modelling community.

Abstracts will undergo peer review by the Scientific Committee. The evaluation criteria include relevance for policy development, assessment and implementation in the EU and/or in the Member States; relevance of findings for the modelling community at large; involvement of both modellers and policymakers.

Programme overview

The Conference will take place as a series of online sessions during the week 22 to 26 November.

Compared with the 2019 edition, the Conference schedule has been further enriched and includes:

  • Plenary sessions
  • Parallel sessions, shaped according to the call for abstracts
  • Workshops and trainings for modellers and policymakers.

Plenary sessions

With the participation of :

  • Stephen Quest, Director-General, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Veronica Gaffey, Chair of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

Keynote speakers:

Modelling for the emergency: the Earth4All experience

Sandrine Dixson-Declève

Co-President, The Club of Rome; European Commission Advisor: Expert Group on the Economic & Societal Impact of Research and Innovation (DGR&I Think Tank ESIR, Chair), Technical Expert  Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance & Sustainable Finance Platform; Co-Chair UN Food System Summit- Resilience, Action Track 5; Advisory Boards: BMW, ClimateKIC, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), UCB, UCL-Bartlett School for Environment, Energy & Resources (Chair); Ambassador: Energy Transition Commission (ETC) & WeAll (Well Being Alliance); Senior Associate: Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) & E3G

Sandrine Dixson-Decleve is currently the Co-President of the Club of Rome and divides her time between lecturing, facilitating change in business and policy models and advisory work. She holds several advisory positions for the European Commission: Chair, Expert Group on Economic and Societal Impact of Research & Innovation (ESIR); Assembly Member, Climate Mitigation & Adaptation Mission (DGR&I); TEG Sustainable Finance Taxonomy and Sustainable Finance Platform (DGFISMA); The United Nations: Co-Chair, Food Summit Action Track 5 Resilience; and for companies/organisations/institutes such as BMW, EDP, UCB, Climate KIC, UCL-Bartlett School of Environment and the IEEP. Sandrine is also a Senior Associate and faculty member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and a Senior Associate for E3G, Ambassador, for the Energy Transition Commission (ETC) and WEALL. In 2017 Sandrine co-founded the Women Enablers Change Agent Network (WECAN). Sandrine was recognised by GreenBiz as one of the 30 most influential women across the globe driving change in the low carbon economy and promoting green business. She has spent her career bringing together business leaders, policy makers, academia and NGO’s.  Until recently, Sandrine was Chief Partnership Officer for UN Agency Sustainable Energy for All and prior to that the Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the EU office of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (2009-2016). During that period she was also appointed Executive Director of the Green Growth Platform bringing together EU Ministers and CEO’s.

Economic models and the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for the future

Loriana Pelizzon

Head of the department "Financial Markets" and coordinator of Gender Equality at the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE; Professor of Economics at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and CEPR research Fellow

Loriana is the head of the Financial Market department and coordinator of Gender Equality at the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE and Full Professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, Chair of Law and Finance. She is also a Research Affiliate at MIT Sloan and Professor (tempo definito) of Economics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She graduated from the London Business School with a doctorate in Finance. Her research interests are on risk measurement and management, hedge funds, market microstructure, financial institutions, systemic risk, sovereign risk and financial crisis. She was one of the coordinators of the European Finance Association (EFA) Doctoral Tutorial, member of the EFA Executive Committee and member of the BSI GAMMA Foundation Board. She has been involved in NBER and FDIC projects as well as EU projects (Marie Curie, FP7 and H2020), Europlace and Inquire Europe, EIEF, Bank of France projects, MIUR, DFG, and VolkswagenStiftung: Europe and Global Challenges. She was a member of the EIOPA’s Insurance and Reinsurance Stakeholder Group and is currently Co-Vice President of the Advisory Scientific Committee of the European Systemic Risk Board, member of the EU independent expert advice team in the field of financial markets and institutions and external Expert for the EU commission on digital currency and blockchain technology. She is also a CERP Research Fellow.

Discussant: Helen Johnson

Expert Mathematical Modelling, Scientific Process and Methods, SMS, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Modelling tools for policy support in (real) time of crisis

Alain de Serres

Deputy Director, Policy Studies Branch, OECD Economics Department

Alain de Serres is currently Deputy Director in the Policy Studies Branch of the OECD Economics Department. He has recently worked on economic and financial resilience and, prior to that, on the policy determinants of investment in knowledge-based capital, as well as on green growth policies and the economics of climate change mitigation. Part of his work has been published in journals such as Economic Policy, European Economic Review, Environmental and Resource Economics and the Journal of Economic Geography. Alain is Canadian and, before joining the OECD, has worked for many years at the Bank of Canada and the Ministry of Finance in Ottawa.

Discussant: Román Arjona

Chief Economist, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), European Commission

Parallel sessions

The sessions will be organised according to the areas proposed in the call for papers

Workshops and trainings

The programme will offer several occasions of dialogue and training to promote responsible, coherent and transparent use of models for policymaking in the context of the Better Regulation policy.

These sessions, which keep a highly interactive and participatory character, concretely aim at promoting the exchange of experiences and best practices for modellers and policymakers to promote sound evidence informed policymaking.

The current list of proposed workshops and trainings is available below. The full list will be available upon registration.


Leveraging multidisciplinary tools and approaches for achieving the SDGs

Contribute to broadening the perspectives available for policy makers in finding solutions for achieving the SDGs. JRC carried out a mapping of its own models against SDGs. The aim of this workshop is to expand this analysis. Participants will interactively develop a framework for mapping tools and approaches for SDG analysis, starting from models up to a broad disciplinary background.

We need to talk about models

How can we interrogate the quality of data, and the reliability and transparency of models used for policy support? Join a discussion between scientists, policymakers and citizens about overcoming the challenges of communicating and understanding the models used for policy.

With the participation of:
Salvador Barrios, Head of Unit - Fiscal Policy Analysis, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Leen Hordijk, Special Adviser, Competence Centre on Modelling, European Commission
David Mair, Head of Unit Knowledge for Policy: Concepts and Methods, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Alexia Maniaki-Griva, Head of Unit, Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit, Directorate-General for  Parliamentary Research Services, European Parliament
Tracey Brown, Director, Sense About Science EU
Paul Smits, Head of Competence Centre on Modelling, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Strategic Foresight and quantification link for better future-oriented policymaking

The workshop aims at sharing experience with combining exploratory qualitative and quantitative strategic foresight approaches in policymaking, understand its value for policymakers and the need for improvement in the approaches and in the science for policy link.

Opening remarks
Hermine Mitter, Senior Scientist, Universität für Bodenkultur (BOKU) Wien
Florence Buchholzer, Adviser - Foresight and Impact Assessment, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission 
Cornelia Daheim, Head, Future Impacts Consulting
Robert M'Barek, Head of Sector Bioeconomy, Economics of Agriculture Unit, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Vicky Pollard, Deputy Head of Unit - Strategy and Economic Assessment, DG Climate Action, European Commission
Fabiana Scapolo, Deputy Head of Unit - Foresight, Modelling, Behavioural Insights & Design for Policy, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Eckhard Stoermer and Tommi Asikainen, Foresight, Modelling, Behavioural Insights & Design for Policy, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Human models for human policies

Models used for policymaking often rely on unrealistic assumptions about human decision-making. This workshop discusses the opportunities and challenges for including behavioural theories in agent-based models applied to policy problems.

Opening remarks
Nina Schwarz, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management at ITC, University of Twente.
Hendrik Bruns, Foresight, Modelling, Behavioural Insights & Design for Policy, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Impact By Design: How to create social science models that effectively address policy needs?

Designing models that have an impact on the policymaking process is an old yet difficult problem to solve. This is usually an issue of communication between stakeholders, but what could be effective interaction methods between scientists and policymakers? This workshop aims at presenting experiences on fostering dialogue between policymakers and scientists, especially those involved in the design and application of modelling techniques in social science.


Social multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE) for ex-ante impact assessments

SMCE is a methodology that allows comparing policy options by integrating a plurality of technical aspects and social views in a coherent and transparent manner. In this training, you will get an introduction to the methodology, supporting tools, and its application in impact assessments.

Giuseppe Munda, Nicole Ostlaender, Foresight, Modelling, Behavioural Insights & Design for Policy, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission

An introduction to SIML@B: an online EC tool for global sensitivity analysis of models

Performing uncertainty and sensitivity analyses of model responses is essential. Several methods and statistical indicators are available to perform global sensitivity analysis. This training will introduce you to the use of SIML@B, a user-friendly online tool developed by the Joint Research Centre to compute sensitivity indices of interest for a given problem.

Thierry Mara and Rossana Rosati, Foresight, Modelling, Behavioural Insights & Design for Policy, DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission


Conference registration will open on 15 September 2021. The Conference is free of charge for participants. Please note that some of the interactive sessions might have a limited number of places. Attendance will be confirmed in a second step after registration. Selected sessions will be recorded and web streamed.

Web streaming

Links will be made available here.

Scientific Committee

The role of the Scientific Committee is to review and select oral abstract presentations.

Organising committee and contacts

The Conference is organized by the European Commission Competence Centre on Modelling (CC-MOD).