Prof Jason Wyse has been awarded funding from the SFI Frontiers for the Future – Projects programme in collaboration with Prof James Sweeney from the University of Limerick for their project 3E-X: Emerging, Enriching and Educating for the next disease X.  

3E-X will develop a flexible modelling framework for emerging diseases that will address weaknesses in existing modelling approaches. The framework will be applicable to endemic and epidemic diseases nationally and internationally and will contribute to preparedness tools for public health bodies and governments for existing and future health emergencies.

The challenges brought by COVID-19 have been complex and the ill-preparedness of governments and institutions to deal with a potential future “disease X” scenario became quickly apparent. Advance preparation is key to minimising the health costs of communicable viruses with a potential for adverse outcomes relating to severe illness and death. With funding support from the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme, Wyse and Sweeney will develop statistical tools for preparedness in Emerging infectious diseases to Enrich current disease forecasting models. The project also aims to Educate the general public in our understanding of uncertainty in predictions of infectious disease spread by developing an open-source online toolkit that will serve as an educational tool as well as a sounding board for government agencies and policy makers.

Project co-PI Jason Wyse from the Trinity School of Computer Science and Statistics elaborates “We saw in 2020 that it is essential to have statistical tools that enable us to learn and make predictions on the go when new infectious diseases emerge. Flexibility is needed to account for impacts of age and social activity. Our project will develop models that accommodate these aspects as well as means to communicate their outputs effectively to public audiences. Through our lived experience we can appreciate the necessity for having multi-aspect preparedness for the next big infectious disease, and our work will contribute to that.”

3E-X is a collaborative research programme that will bring together researchers in mathematical modelling, public health & epidemiology, and behavioural science and economics to progress the state-of-the-art in infectious disease modelling.