Professors Alberto Franco and Gilberto Montibeller are looking to improve the frameworks underlying threat prioritisation, so that policy makers can respond to disease outbreaks better and faster. In this project a decision support system (DSS) was developed that improved the Emerging Threat Highlight Report (ETHiR) produced monthly by Defra’s Veterinary Risk Group (VRG). Grounded on a multi‑criteria decision analysis (MCDA) framework, the DSS performs the regular and systematic prioritisation of emerging threats and vulnerabilities (T&V) by calculating a set of measurement indices related to actual impacts, possible impacts on public perception, and the level of available capabilities associated with every T&V. The systematic characterisation of the processes leading to the assessment of T&V has led to a consistent, auditable and transparent approach to the identification and assessment of emerging risks. The system has been used by DEFRA (The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which is responsible for gathering information about bio‑security threats, and developing recommendations on how to manage and mitigate them. The framework has been extended more recently to support the prioritisation of known and well‑defined animal diseases, with a view to facilitate the planning of surveillance and disease control activities.
View a video here in which Alberto and Gilberto talk about how they have used their decision-making research to help organisations across the world to better prioritise and allocate resources to respond more effectively and efficiently to a variety of threats: terrorist, biological, natural etc.