The objective of the “Modeling” support unit is to prepare the necessary instruments for the study of the interaction modalities (e.g. system response to contaminant mixtures, ecosystem response to multidimensional anthropogenic forcing, epidemiological response to environmental forcing and potential confounders, etc.) and the characteristics of evolution and stability of the complex systems that characterize the “environments” in exploration (Fig. 3). The identification and understanding of the numerical characteristics of the complex systems under investigation will allow to predict its evolution, to identify the equilibria (for example on the basis of the identification of the “hub” points of the system and the fundamental interactions within the network , etc.), to check their potential instabilities and to evaluate alternative approaches to the governance of processes, in order to suggest optimal strategies for the management of the investigated systems.

Inextricably integrated with the modeling interpretation of the phenomena are, of course, the organization of the data flows and their statistical evaluation: the fifth activity will also help to homogenize and make interoperable the data collection systems already active in the research groups operating in the four application areas.

One of the central aspect of the entire research project is the decision of supporting the integration of the numerous survey themes to an interpretative and predictive structure of a numerical modeling type, thus creating a complex system vision for the exploration, evaluation and control of interactions between anthropogenic impact and response of the ecosystem and of physiology. This operative support unit is therefore considered as the central action field for understanding the different processes in the various thematic lines and the dynamics of interaction between them.

It should be noted that it cannot be possible to associate data analysts and dedicated modelers to each research group. This intrinsic limitation given by the complexity and the scope of the project determines the logic of the intervention envisaged in the fifth activity: centralizing, in collaboration with the most methodologically sensitive thematic researchers, homogeneous instruments of data management, statistical analysis and modeling for the research activity; distributing access, training and support to the use of these instruments in the network; identifying and serving thematic coordination groups, also geographically distributed and operating with tele-collaboration methods, which have access to data, analyzes and research products (presentations, manuscripts, literature collections …) in real time; programming in-depth and individualized interventions for situations of exceptional strategic interest and operatively arrange the fallout of the methodologies developed for them throughout the project.

The methodologies expected to be used will be organized according to the research actions diagrammed in Fig. 3, which will also be integrated by responding to the evolving needs of the research groups in the area.

The research actions envisaged will be as follows:

  • Modeling of kinetics and dynamics of toxins in the body
  • Evaluation and use of models in relevant scenarios
  • Evolution of modeling analysis and integration



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