CECAN hosted a bespoke training course on 7th July "COMPLEX-IT and the SACS TOOLKIT: A Case-Based Computational Modeling Platform for Data Mining Complex Issues in Policy and Evaluation".
The course was run by Professor Brian Castellani of Kent State University and we welcomed a diverse group of people working in social science, government and consultancy domains. It was extremely well received with many people excited about using the tool and helping to progress it further. A follow on course has already been arranged between Professor Castellani and Natural England.
The complex socio-technical arenas (nexus issues) that government seeks to improve (e.g., health, food, water, safety, infrastructure) are not driven by a single factor or consequence. Instead, they are driven by multiple factors at multiple levels, which lead to different trends or outcomes for different areas/groups of people.
The challenge is how to model such diversity and complexity? The complexity sciences, data mining and big-data offer some useful solutions. The challenge, however, is stitching these methodological solutions together into a user-friendly platform and APP, which policy makers, social scientists, evaluation commissioners and civil servants can use – hence our creation of COMPLEX-IT and the SACS TOOLKIT.
This workshop was designed for those working in evaluating the impact of policy (and its improvement) on complex nexus issues who wanted to explore new software and mixed-methods options for doing so. If you are interested to find out more about this toolkit please visit Brian's blog!