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Scenario Modeling Consortium Fellowships

Pilot Fellowship opportunity
Application deadline: Friday May 13, 2022

 

Since the first few COVID-19 cases were reported, infectious disease modeling has been a prominent tool for understanding transmission, forecasting the course of the pandemic, and guiding policy. Despite a disjointed and challenging beginning, important coordinated efforts to facilitate timely and impactful forecasting and projection modeling were established with the US Forecast Hub (https://covid19forecasthub.org/) and US Scenario Modeling Hub (https://covid19scenariomodelinghub.org/). These efforts have provided critical insight into the pandemic in the US as it has evolved, helping stakeholders, decision makers, and the public alike better make decisions on planning, resource allocation, and interventions. To build on this development and sustain the capacity of the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub as a tool for other pathogens and future pandemics, the Scenario Modeling Consortium (SMC) is being established as a pilot network for continued scenario projection modeling efforts, continuing the COVID-19 work and expanding to influenza and a third pathogen of emerging interest or importance.

 

SMC Fellows Overview

The Scenario Modeling Consortium is a three-year CDC-funded pilot initiative coordinated by the team that developed the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub (SMH). SMC will build off the success of SMH, continuing scenario projections for COVID-19 and expanding to produce longer-term scenario projections for influenza in the US and a third emerging pathogen identified by a steering committee of experts during Year 3. This third pathogen has the potential to be international and may include pathogens that rely on non-respiratory transmission mechanisms (i.e., vector-borne or direct contact).

As part of both soliciting multiple models from different teams and building capacity in modeling of infectious diseases, the SMC is funding a pilot fellowship that provides subawards of $150,000 to $200,000 to each of four fellows/teams over three years to develop and contribute modeled projections for the three pathogens areas: SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and one emerging pathogen of interest/importance. These fellows will be expected to contribute projections for at least 2 pathogens of interest to the hub and have the opportunity to develop and teach a short course for contribution to CDC-funded workshops administered by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH) team.

Successful applicants will likely be postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty with interest in translating modeling expertise to answering public health questions. Experience working and communicating across disciplines and with policy makers will be highly valued. Strong preference will be given to applicants from institutions with the capacity to support their efforts and for which financial support is needed to contribute to the hub. We will follow the model of the Vaccine Impact Modeling Consortium (VIMC) and conduct annual model reviews with network members and hub contributors. This will be performed through peer-facilitated review of model assumptions, structure, and comparisons with other models and ensembles. Network fellows will be required to participate, and other contributing teams will be encouraged but not required. The goal of these reviews is not to reduce differences between models – this is one of the main values of multi-model ensembling. Instead, these reviews will serve to understand where differences are coming from, prompt continued model development, and fix problematic assumptions or aspects. Travel and participation in trainings, workshops, and meetings will be funded separately from these subawards.

 

Statement of Work

SMC fellows are expected to meet the following requirements for continued funding:

  1. A three-year commitment to contributing modeled projections of two (2) of the three (3) pathogens of interest to SMC (i.e., SARS-CoV-2, influenza, emerging 3rd pathogen)
  2. Participation in annual peer-facilitated model reviews
  3. Participation in regular SMC calls (weekly or monthly, depending on current needs)
  4. Participation in one SMC in-person, multi-day meeting

SMH fellows are also encouraged to contribute to several CDC-funded trainings and workshops on infectious disease modeling that are being developed and coordinated by the BSPH.

 

Application

To apply for this Scenario Modeling Consortium fellowship, prospective fellows should submit a brief proposal detailing the following information (~2-3 pages):

  1. For which diseases you expect to contribute projections. You must contribute at least two of the three.
  2. A brief description of your expected approach for each pathogen. This should include what type of model, data sources, critical assumptions, and limitations, particularly in relevance to capability to perform longer-term (6+ month) scenario projections. Include references for the approach/model if possible.
  3. A brief description of how this award will enable your participation in future efforts of the Scenario Modeling Hubs.
  4. A brief description of individual and institutional capacities that will enable you to be successful in the contribution of scenario projections.

 

Applications will be reviewed by third party experts and fellows will be selected based on ability to successfully meet the requirements, scientific merit, and financial need. Please send proposals to Shaun Truelove (shauntruelove@jhu.edu) by Friday, May 13, 2022.