Fund A COVID-19 Risk Assessment Map

We need your help to develop an online platform to map the risks of COVID-19 across UK universities

  • £374

    pledged of £25,000

    • 11


    • 58

      days left

This project will only receive pledges if at least £5,000 is pledged by Sun 31 Jan 2021

Covid-19 Risk assessment map

We are raising funds to create an interactive COVID-19 risk assessment map which will map the spread risk in several UK universities. We will create the risk map by combining historical data with forecasts from our in-house Flu And Coronavirus Simulator (, which predicts COVID-19 spread taking into account individual buildings and households. Our in-house approach can also be used to predict future pandemics of e.g. flu and other coronaviruses, and visualise those risks on the risk map. The risk map allows people to:

  • see forecasts of the expected number of infectious cases in the coming weeks, 
  • identify potential hot spots across universities,
  • investigate how different lockdown measures may affect future spread,
  • help give an idea of what could be expected, taking into account some key uncertainties in our assumptions.

In this project, which is a first crowdfunding pilot, we will create this assessment map as a publicly available website, allowing students, families and other interested parties to interactively explore our main campus forecasts.

Our story

In response to the sudden and severe Covid-19 pandemic, we developed the Flu And Coronavirus Simulator (FACS) which is an agent-based modelling code to forecast the spread of COVID-19. FACS models the transmission of COVID-19 and simulates the outbreak in a given region using computational disease dynamics at a local scale (e.g., city, borough or university). The code relies on geospatial data from OpenStreetMap, epidemiological data, disease parameters, population dynamics and demography for a given region. It has a specific algorithm for modelling infections by taking into account the physical size of each location and the behaviour patterns of individuals. For instance, the code will deliver different results if people decide to shop entirely online, or if a single cafe is temporarily expanded in size.

The code has very good forecasting potential, and it has been covered in several major newspapers such as the Sun and Metro UK. However, due to the limited scope of our research funding and the uncertainties around Brexit it is currently not possible for us to commit to providing an online forecasting dashboard. By raising funds through this platform we will be able to ensure that we can create a forecasting dashboard and keep it updated for a 2 year period.

This project will help researchers at improving the quality of the results by using and contributing to the Verified Exascale Computing for Multiscale Applications toolkit (VECMAtk), thus helping at taking the decisions that will have the best impact to fight against COVID-19.

Who are we?

We are a group of researchers focusing on migration and COVID-19 modelling. Our fundraising team represented by Modelling and Simulation Group at Brunel University London and Verified Exascale Computing for Multiscale Applications (VECMA) Horizon 2020 Consortium. Our team consists of the following members:

Dr Derek Groen - Senior Lecturer in Modelling & Simulation at Brunel University London. Derek is lead developer of FACS and has several leadership roles in existing research projects, such as VECMA (technical manager) and HiDALGO (applications work package manager). Derek will lead this project.

Dr David Bell - Reader at Brunel University with a focus on Software Services. He has ongoing collaborations with a range of medical organisations including several NHS Trusts in North and West London. David will coordinate the medical collaborations and acquisition and curation of validation data.

Dr Imran Mahmood - Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at Brunel University London. Imran will support the visualization engine of the Risk Map platform, and help accelerate the construction of new simulations.


Dr Diana Suleimenova - Research Fellow in Multiscale Migration Prediction at Brunel University London. Diana will coordinate and establish the implementation of the Risk Map, with a focus on the front-end and validation aspects.


Professor Peter Coveney - Professor at University College London and coordinator of the VECMA Horizon 2020 project. Peter will advice on the technical and scientific solutions established in the project and will help promote its uptake among the wider public.

Dr Erwan Raffin - Collaborative Project Manager at Atos Bull and member of the Center for Excellence in Performance Programming (CEPP). Erwan will advice on the computational aspects in the project, and support efforts to make the project commercially viable.

Dr Hugh Martin - Managing Director at CBK Sci Con Limited and Senior Scientific Project Manager at University College London. Hugh will advice on the promotional aspects of the project, and support efforts to increase uptake and make the project commercially viable.


Where will the money go?

We will use the funds to create and support a public website which will contain an interactive risk assessment map visualising the spread of COVID-19 across UK universities. We will use the money to:

  • fund the development of the website front-end and the interactive dashboard.
  • fund the effort required to construct and post-process the FACS simulations needed to inform the dashboard. This effort is limited, because many of these tasks are already automated.
  • fund effort to maintain and update our software tools where required, in particular the VECMA toolkit components that we use to run our simulations, and quantify the main errors and uncertainties.
  • cover the hosting costs of the website for a period of two years.

We will run the FACS simulations required for this dashboard using our currently available infrastructure, free of charge. 

What will you spend the funding on if you hit your minimum? We will establish the website as a proof-of-concept, and provide forecasts for Brunel University London as well as for at least two other universities. We will update the forecasts once a week for the first three months after website launch, and once a month after that. We will also provide simple interactive functionalities, allowing users to explore a few different intervention scenarios (such as high or lower test and trace coverage).

Where will the money go if you hit your full target? We will establish the website, and provide forecasts for Brunel University London as well as for at least two other universities, two boroughs in London and a selection of other areas following the preferences of the main donors. We will update the forecasts once a month for the two year duration of the project. We will also offer users the ability to explore a wider range of intervention scenarios, such as requiring people to wear masks or certain types of classes are entirely held online.

What will you do with extra funds if things really take off and you raise more than your target? We will further increase the number of regions included, and the range of interventions that can be explored. We will also invest additional effort to provide relevant supplementary information about our simulation assumptions and key research papers as an integration with the website interface, and undertake a campaign to make the platform directly suitable for consultancy purposes. If our target is significantly exceeded, then we will also liaise with the main donors to determine the best way to dedicate the resources.

How often will you give updates on progress when you're running your project or campaign? We will provide an update every 2 weeks in the first two months of the project, and an update once a month after that.


We are very grateful to everyone who donates to our project, and we defined our rewards such that we will provide you with extra insights for large donors, and even some direct input for very large donors.

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Choose reward

Pledge £1 or more

Select this reward if you just want to donate to the project without receiving a reward.

8 claimed

Pledge £10 or more

With your permission, we'll add your name to the acknowledgements on our forecasting website.

2 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 March 2021

Pledge £100 or more

All of the above, and we'll give you access to an early prototype of the dashboard, on which you can provide feedback if you like.

1 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 January 2021

Pledge £500 or more

All of the above, and we will invite you to share your thoughts in a group meeting, where we will formally present the dashboard and allow you to give direct suggestions to us in real-time. We will also ship you an exclusive "Flu And Coronavirus Simulator" themed face mask, if you wish to have one.

0 claimed of 100

Estimated delivery: 1 January 2021

Pledge £1250 or more

All of the above, and one of us will arrange a dedicated online meeting with you, where you can share your thoughts and ideas about the project! Where possible and reasonable, we will then try to take your suggestions along in our further activities!

0 claimed of 72

Estimated delivery: 1 January 2021

Pledge £5000 or more

All of the above, and we will arrange a dedicated meeting with you, where you can suggest one of the universities or regions that we will build a simulation for, and include in the platform. If validation data for that region exists, we will then include it!

0 claimed of 24

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2020

Pledge £20000 or more

All of the above, and you'll become a member of the Project Advisory Board, and have direct advisory input on the project, at any stage of its development. You will also be invited to all major meetings (virtual and physical) concerning the project development, in your capacity as Advisory Board Member. In addition, we will reserve computational resources on your behalf (equivalent to ~£1000), allowing you to request specific simulation or analysis runs at any time, subject to the budget limit.

0 claimed of 6

Estimated delivery: 1 January 2021