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Ulster University's Dr Magda Bucholc, a Lecturer in Data Analytics, has been appointed to the Government Specialist Modelling Response Expert Group.

The group focuses on modelling the potential course of the epidemic that is subsequently used to inform policy and risk management decisions, including the public health response.

Epidemic modelling involves taking what is already known about the disease, demographics and population and using it to make an educated guess about how it might spread, and the impact that social distancing and other restrictions might have on the number of cases and deaths.

The team is composed of experts from local universities, the Department of Health, hospital consultants, data experts and the Public Health Agency, and chaired by Northern Ireland's Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Ian Young.

With mounting pressures on the government to produce a plan of action, the group's aim is to advise on initiatives that will reduce the R number to as low as possible as contact restrictions change and evolve.