Bridge Collaborative

The Bridge Collaborative is a partnership between Duke researchers and The Nature Conservancy, the International Food Policy Research Institute and PATH that recasts international development, environmental and human health questions in explicitly cross-disciplinary terms. The scope of interventions and policies proposed by NGOs and other actors can be limited by the disciplinary background of the individuals, organizations and funding vehicles available for given projects. Because physical, chemical, ecological and social processes are dynamic and interconnected, projects undertaken in disciplinary ‘silos’ can lead to unintended consequences and to different groups working at cross-purposes. The Bridge Collaborative proposes a common method for analyzing evidence and acts as a forum for convening experts from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and professional orientations to develop evidence-based solutions to global challenges.

The Borsuk Lab provides expertise on integrated environmental modeling and decision analysis. We develop formalized mathematical models of the natural environment and develop forecasting and decision support tools and carry out analysis of risks, costs and benefits of proposed interventions. Our principal role within the Bridge Collaborative is to distil conceptual models of environmental systems into a framework that allows for this kind of quantitative analysis and to generate tools that may be used by practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders. We formalize conceptual models held by stakeholders into mathematical models using expert elicitation, available data sets and the outputs of computational mechanistic models within the ‘results chain’ framework proposed by the Bridge Collaborative to represent available evidence across disciplines.