EECS’ Professor awarded prestigious European Research Council grant worth €1.5 million
Prof Norman Fenton has been awarded one of the highly sought after European Research Council Advanced Grants, which attracted 2048 Professorial level applicants from all over Europe. His project (which is being funded to the value €1.5 million) is called “Effective Bayesian Modelling with Knowledge before Data (short title “BAYES-KNOWLEDGE”) .
Prof Fenton says “The project aims to improve evidence-based decision-making. What makes it radical is that it plans to do this in situations where there is little or even no data, and hence where traditional statistics cannot be used. Such situations are common for critical risk assessment problems. Our solution is to develop a method to systemize the way expert driven causal Bayesian Network models can be built and used effectively either in the absence of data or as a means of determining what future data is really required.”
Prof Fenton and his project team (which includes Prof Martin Neil, Dr Anne Hsu and Dr William Marsh of EECS) will be working with relevant domain experts, along with cognitive psychologists. The methods will be developed and tested experimentally on real-world critical decision-problems in medicine, law, forensics, and transport. The grant will also fund three postdoctoral research fellows and a part-time programmer.
Prof Fenton believes the proposed research has the potential to both reduce at source much unnecessary data collection and improve the results of analysis of data that is collected. He says “It has the potential to provide rigorous, rational, auditable, visible and quantified probabilistic arguments to support decision-making and recommendations in areas where currently only ‘gut-feel’ is possible. This could lead to: more rational and defensible strategic policy making by decision makers in government, financial, and other organisations; better medical diagnostics; better understanding of the impact of different types of legal and forensic evidence. The project will enable scientists, statisticians, medics and lawyers, to be better able to reason about probability and understand the role and limitations of data, making better decisions with less data.”
Further details of the project can be found here: