On November 26, 2019, Andrea Ricci spoke about “Integrating qualitative scenarios with quantitative modelling” at the EU Conference on Modelling for Policy support. Several hundred people attended the event, which brought together researchers and policy makers involved in modelling activities from the Commission, European and international institutions and agencies, Member States, Universities, research institutes, and consultancies, in order to promote a responsible, coherent and transparent use of modelling to support the evidence base for policies in the EU.
In presenting the work of three EU foresight projects, Pashmina, Flagship and FRESHER, he explained the challenges of integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in forward looking (FL) exercises, and the multifaceted nature of the main barriers arising. These barriers range from epistemological consistency to practical implementation of interfaces and data availability. There are also cultural differences between foresighters, whose background is mostly in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), and modelers, whose tools of the trade originate primarily in mathematics and physics. The most critical issues are: discontinuities, scale, model flexibility and adaptation, and (over)simplification. These three projects combined qualitative scenarios with quantitative models to address these issues and mitigate their effects.