Call – Start Network decision making

Applications are invited to undertake a collaborative project to explore Decision-Making under Uncertainty in the Start Network.

The aim of the project is to draw preliminary conclusions about how to conduct useful interdisciplinary projects focused on the uncertainties decision-makers face and how they deal with them.

The Start Network ( comprises 42 national and international aid agencies from five continents. The Network exists to anticipate crises by responding effectively and quickly to early warnings so as to make faster and better decisions to help people affected. A dependable and predictable response to alerts about impending crises would reduce the impact of crises and the cost of response.

Specifically, the project is to work with the Start Network to help them explore their decision-making. The research worker(s) will have access to information so they can focus on how it is gathered and used when responding to “alerts” – particularly those based on probabilistic forecasting information. The research methods adopted should increase understanding of the decision processes and make suggestions as to how they might be improved and further monitored and researched.


Up to £15,000 is available for this initiative. Applicants should provide a 4 page A4 document setting out how they would approach the task and why they think they are suitable to carry it out. They should provide details of grant administration, finances, time line and deliverables.

The proposal will include ideas about how to analyse the materials to draw sensible conclusions and to follow up with interviews with some of those involved, as necessary.

The Start Fund is designing a mechanism to enable action on the basis of probabilistic forecasting information. Therefore, a key frame of the study will be to analyse potential additional information/guidance which may be suitable to enable rapid decision-making while also recognising the limitations of the evidence which form the basis of these decisions.

Background materials on the work of the Start project will be made available to potential applicants.

It is envisaged that a senior academic, postdoc or research student will apply to conduct the project themselves or to obtain funds to employ someone else suitable to conduct the work under their supervision over a period of about 6 months starting as soon as possible.

The PI, Co-I or other core members of the CRUISSE Network will be available for consultation.

The applicant will probably be a social scientist with an interest and expertise in data analysis and decision-making.

We anticipate that applicants would want to devote the first month to the task of reviewing selected materials from past Start alerts – both allocation and project selection committee stages – prior to discussing how they will approach the remainder of the task with representatives of the Start Fund Committee. Different sorts of alerts and decision processes would be explored – those which seem on the face of it to have been straightforward and those that appear to have been more challenging.

Based on the first month’s work a precise study proposal will be made. It might involve further examination of past alerts as well as participant observation with future alerts and will include data analysis, participant observation and interviewing.

Presently it appears there may be different types of uncertainties at several levels – for example, with the basic information supporting the case that some kind of emergency is about to happen or with the argument supporting a particular proposal to mitigate it.

Eligibility and Evaluation

Applications for Project 1 should be sent to

Applicants must be staff (including current postdocs and PDRA’s) working at an eligible UK institution. Please refer to the EPSRC Eligibility of organisations webpage to check your institution’s eligibility:  https//

The proposals will be reviewed and evaluated quickly within the CRUISSE Network.

Deadline for Application for Project 1: 20 August 2017