Dr Erica Thompson is a Senior Policy Fellow in Ethics of Modelling and Simulation at the LSE’s Data Science Institute, funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. She is also a Fellow of theLondon Mathematical Laboratory, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy.
Erica works on the appropriate use of mathematical modelling to support real-world decisions, from mathematical and statistical questions about methodologies of inference from models, to psycho-social questions about the formation of confidence and the role of expert judgement.
Her interdisciplinary programme of research at the LSE Data Science Institute encompasses ethical and methodological questions about the development and use of models in a range of policy-relevant contexts including climate change, public health, economics and finance. Who decides what kind of models to make? What are the consequences of those decisions, and how can we ensure that we are making supportable inferences about the real world, from our model outputs? In short, how can we do good science with models?
Her first book, Escape from Model Land (Basic Books, 2022), is an accessible introduction to some of these questions. She has worked with a variety of non-academic stakeholders including humanitarian agencies, actuaries, insurance and reinsurance providers, national government and intergovernmental organisations.