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Forecasting for social good

9 February 2021

Forecasting for social good

The PARC Institute has conducted important industry research into forecasting, inventory control, circular supply chains, sustainable transport and industry 4.0 technologies. More recently the Institute has increased its focus on sustainability with the introduction of a new RemakerSpace. The PARC institute is now looking to tackle new aspects of sustainability and expand its social sustainability agenda.

Dr Bahman Rostami-Tabar, Cardiff University Associate Professor and forecasting expert, has recently joined the ranks of the PARC Institute, adding to PARC’s existing expertise in forecasting and research on sustainability by extending it to include forecasting for social good.

The link between forecasting, social good and sustainability might warrant some clarification.  Forecasting plays a critical role in the development of organisational business strategies. While it is a common topic in business and management, its use relates mostly to financial and economic objectives, with very little emphasis on social and environmental outcomes.  With the current climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, forecasting has never been more important for developing sustainable flexible strategies that take into consideration environmental and societal impacts.

Making forecasting knowledge readily available to all, helps organisations improve their decision making, reduce waste and contribute to an agenda that promotes social good. With these benefits in mind, forecasting for social good, is fast becoming key for organisations everywhere in the world, especially in the context of developing economies.

Dr Rostami-Tabar has pioneered the movement to “democratise forecasting”, improve decision making and further the use of forecasting to advance social and environmental objectives such as equality, social justice and sustainability. His research and engagement work has led this fundamental change.

Starting in 2018, Dr. Rostami-Tamar led a project sponsored by the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) which aimed at democratising forecasting in developing economies through a series of workshops. Using a ‘train the trainers’ approach in the form of university students, academics and professionals, he helped promote the principles of forecasting using R software to support decision making. The goal of the project is to train 400 individuals, over 5 years in 20 countries in the world. Today over 210 people have been trained in over 8 countries.

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On the back of the success of these workshops, Dr Rostami-Tabar was funded by National Health Service, NHS-R community, to set up a similar project focusing on providing workshops to support the learning and application of forecasting for NHS staff. Currently 92 NHS analysts have been trained across the UK in 2020.

Dr Rostami-Tabar, has also helped to develop intelligent forecasting models for the NHS and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

He is currently working on project on developing an epidemic Forecast Hub for the Sub-Saharan Africa. The Forecast Hub will serve as a central repository of forecasts and predictions from various models from international research groups.

The PARC team is very excited to have him join our ranks and looks forward to furthering our sustainability and social good agenda through forecasting.

If you would like to know more about how PARC can help your or would like to know more about Dr. Rostami-Tabar, please contact us at parc@cardiff.ac.uk

Download a relevant publication, “Forecasting for Social good”.

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