The course, jointly organized by Open Evidence Research, Open University of Catalonia, and by the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT) – University of Bergen (UIB), was a success judging from the feedback received by the fifteen selected students from six countries.
The course encouraged a reflection on evidence based policy and on the need to control its quality, and promoted a set of skills needed to tell apart defensible versus indefensible assessments and risk analyses, enabling participants to spot bogus, implausible or irrelevant quantifications.
Elements of sociology of quantification and ethics of algorithms were also be part of the teaching, as well as a technical discussion of statistical procedures and malpractices (p-hacking, p-HARKing) and how to address them.
Some of the methodologies offered in the course – such as Numeral Unit Spread Assessment Pedigree (NUSAP) and sensitivity auditing – take inspiration from post-normal science (PNS), an approach for the use of science at the interface between science, policy and technology where “facts [are] uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent”. The course also included elements of technical sensitivity analysis.
The course program can be found at https://www.uib.no/en/svt/115575/numbers-policy-practical-problems-quantification#program while all the slides are available at http://www.andreasaltelli.eu/presentations.