V-KEMS Discussion Forum: Guiding Principles for Unlocking the Workforce, What Can Mathematics Tell Us?

18 May 2020, 12:30-14:00

As follow up to the Guiding Principles for Unlocking the Workforce Study Group - KTN will be hosting a discussion forum

You can sign up to the discussion forum here.

KTN as part of the Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences (V-KEMS) will be hosting a discussion forum at 12:30 - 14:00 on the 18th May 2020. This forum will overview a working paper developed by the mathematical science community. This working paper explores whether topics in the mathematical sciences can support designing principles on getting the workforce back to work.

The UK government must soon provide general guidelines for safe operation of workplaces that are to reopen in each stage of the release from lockdown. The guidelines themselves must be straightforward to interpret and as unambiguous as possible. They cannot be comprehensively enforced but must be largely adhered to voluntarily. Therefore public understanding of simple principles that underpin the detailed guidelines is crucial.  

The guidelines themselves represent a choice made by the government about how best to trade off many competing needs. They will be subject to revision as evidence is gathered about their combined effect on the economy, on the functioning of society, and on the epidemic reproduction number in different parts of the UK,   

V-KEMS set up Virtual Study Group in record time for mathematical scientists to consider "principles" for how to modify the operation of an individual workplace in order to reduce viral transmission.

The resultant working paper is available here, where the discussion points have been categorized into four main principle areas. Each discussion point has been explored with some mathematical rationale, two examples are given in the working paper.

The forum aims to expand on some of the ideas, open the methodology behind them up for discussion and ultimately to provide support on how the mathematical sciences can be harnessed to help the UK back to work. This forum is open to all, but in particular we are keen for policy makers, and business owners to join us.

Note that the principles are not directly intended to enable decisions about which workplaces may reopen and which must remain shut. Instead they are intended to create guidelines that will inform the design of safe workplace operations and scheduling once it has been decided that a particular workplace is to reopen