Heterogeneity and complexity in collaborative biosecurity schemes

Plant diseases threaten ecosystem and landscape health. When new disease threats emerge they can cost millions of pounds to contain and eradicate, and their wider social costs can be several times higher.

Current models are idealised, considering identical agents and averaged interactions which do not reflect the diverse landscape of agents and networks. By engaging with stakeholders and applying a range of numerical simulations and statistical analyses, this research programme will bridge that gap and help prioritise interventions.

Our project will use mathematics to test the practicality of Private-Public Partnerships PPPs across a range of potential plant disease scenarios and stakeholder groups.

By setting up appropriate equations governing known costs and random benefits, and optimising strategies for both the government and for each individual agent, it is possible to show how (PPPs) might best be utilised.

We will do this by addressing four linked objectives:

1 ) Evaluate the effects of heterogeneity and landscape complexity in PPPs

3) Evaluate how the lasting impacts of biosecurity investments may influence the predicted best management strategies

2) Identify effective management policies in the face of asymmetric information in PPPs

4) Understand how biosecurity coalitions form, and how and when they might be maintained to provide efficient global benefits

Our work will be of interest to academic communities seeking to understand and minimise risk in complex systems subject to uncertain inputs, and we will work with a range of stakeholders to translate our mathematical and numerical results into practical outcomes. The mathematical framework is flexible allowing us to explore wider opportunities (for example, in marine diseases and invasive species) will be explored.

Preliminary results suggest that we can predict optimum strategy scenarios where government can encourage large and effective biosecurity coalitions by a careful balance of government biosecurity investment and compensation to coalition members in the event of a disease outbreak, quantifying the added value to the overall economy, our results can be translated into practical outcomes.

Link to the project page on the UKRI Gateway to Research: Heterogeneity and complexity in collaborative biosecurity schemes