NMPI is a group comprised of members from academia and practice interested in improving the interface between numerical modeling and policy.The interface, within the context of NMPI, represents the grey zone that characterizes the process of using results from computer-based simulation to advice policy and/or management of water resources. Due to the rather broad nature of the domain under consideration, NMPI is compartmentalized into six themes. These are framed based on geopolitical considerations and subject matter of urgent relevance to current hydroscience research including pro-active adaptation to eminent climate climate. The overarching aim is to make the use of numerical modelling in support of water resources decision-making and policy implementation more effective through a participatory and transparent perspective.
Although the application of environmental management models is now ubiquitous, there remain serious problems and issues with respect to their efficacy and the context within which they are developed and then applied. This is the case in all nations in the world whether developed, developing, or in transition. Models are often conceptualized, developed, applied and evaluated without proper reference to the policy and management context for which they are intended. Applied to investigate sustainability at any geographic scale, this low level of interaction between model development researchers (e.g. scientists and engineers), model users (e.g. engineers, planners, and managers) and those affected by model results (e.g. living populations) is not only likely wasteful, but potentially harmful. The need for a thorough reassignment of the rational behind the development and use of environmental models is now more than ever an imperative. Against this background, on March 12th, 2007, approximately 40 experienced environmental science researchers and practitioners from eight countries and four continents took part in the 1st Numerical Modelling - Policy Interface (NMPI 2007) workshop organized by the Universitšt Stuttgart and the British Geological Survey (BGS) to share their experiences and build a research network.
NMPI was established ingar after the 1st workshop in March 2007. The network is co-chaired by senior scientists from the two lead institutions. The main decision-making body of the network is its steering committee. Composed of seven core institutions, it is responsible for setting medium to long-term objectives. It also serves as a vetting body ensuring that the body of scientific work produced by the network is peer reviewed and up to recognised international standards.
There are two principal expert pools covering the realms of numerical modeling and public policy development and analysis. Members from both pools contribute to six thematic groups that include:
1. Adaptation to climate change; 2. Pedagogies; 3. Methods and tools; 4. Hydrohazards; 5. Network promotion and development and; 6. Developing and transition countries.
At any moment in time, there are a number of active taskgroups, working within specific themes, exploring and deliberating topics selected or proposed apriori by the steering committee. At the moment three task groups are active, addressing the following issues:
1. Uncertainty in the modeling policy continuum [recognition, quantification & transmission] (theme 3) 2. Training [target: environmental professionals, graduate students and modelers / policy makers] (theme 2) 3. Dissemination [at the nodal and regional levels] (theme 5).
A secretariat currently hosted by the University of Stuttgart manages and coordinates the affairs of the network. In addition to the co-chairs, steering committee, taskgroups and expert pools, NMPI has representation at the regional and nodal levels. The network is represented in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa at the regional level. Each of these regions has a node that can be found at the country level.