What we do

The AU4DM Network very much seeks to focus their understanding on the ‘Problem Space’. The Network’s outputs will help decision-makers—i.e. those who are engaged in the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities—to make ‘better’ decisions.

The Network’s mission is to seek to work across disciplines, domains, and sectors, to better understand and characterise what research and best practice can be developed around analysis and decision-making under uncertainty in order to become a UK national leader and be recognised internationally in this field.

The network will operationalise this mission by:

  • characterising the problems that decision-makers and the analytical community face in the decision-making process from an end-to-end perspective, by placing the decision-maker at the centre of the work;
  • aiming to better understand how to address these problems by sharing current best practice;
  • developing capacity for better analysis and decision-making within our members’ communities, with an emphasis on experimental and immersive processes which will involve the utilisation of novel tools to generate insight as to how to learn from such processes; and
  • working with other communities operating in this space to develop a network of networks.

We believe that our focus on the ‘Problem Space’ and the uncertainty that decision-makers face makes us distinct from a number of other communities operating in the ‘Decision Making Under Uncertainty’ arena.

The 2018-2020 Action Plan

The AU4DM Network 2018–2020 Action Plan was produced in collaboration with the network.

Engagement with the network’s members suggests the following characteristics of modern decision-making.

With regards to tools, methods, and terminology:
  • a rapid proliferation and emergence of approaches, methods and processes to assist decision makers;
  • increasing need for input from a wide range of disciplines in the decision making process;
  • increasing complexity and overwhelming amounts of information available;
  • fragmented analytical communities using different terminology;
  • a lack of open fora to discuss methods, processes and share emerging practices;
  • the capacity of different organisations and sectors to understand the issues in modern decision making is highly variable;
  • there is a different appetite for adoption of new ideas, methodologies and cultures for different sectors due to differences in philosophies and speed requirement of analysis for decision making;
  • a tendency for the community to focus on decision making support tools rather than developing a better, holistic perspective of decision making processes from an end-to-end perspective; and
  • a lack of interaction between analytical communities and decision making communities.
With regards to decision-makers:
  • Dedicated attention that decision-makers can focus on individual problems is reducing.
  • Needs of decision-makers are very different. It is dependent on circumstances, individual actors’ needs, and the sector that they operate in.
With regards to audiences:
  • There is increasing distrust among audiences that decision-makers have to communicate with.
  • The socio-economic impacts of decisions especially tend to be ignored.
AU4DM believes that taking a holistic view of the processes around decision‑making will improve the decisions at each point within an overarching decision-‘system.’