EU Science Hub

Public launch of MIDAS: discover the models behind EU policies

The Commission makes extensive use of models to support policymaking, from their initial design to evaluating their environmental, economic and social impacts.
The Commission makes extensive use of models to support policymaking, from their initial design to evaluating their environmental, economic and social impacts.
Dec 02 2020

Today, the Commission opens the MIDAS inventory to the public, providing a user-friendly platform to explore the models used to support evidence-informed policymaking in the EU.  

The new public version of MIDAS, the Modelling Inventory and Knowledge Management System, helps anyone explore any of the 35 models used for impact assessments since 2017.

The information available on the platform can help everyone to better understand the evidence used by the Commission when designing and evaluating policies that address today’s big challenges.

As well as providing useful documents and references, MIDAS explains how each model supported the analysis carried out for each impact assessment - indicating the leading Commission department, who runs the model, and which impacts it has helped to assess.

For each model, MIDAS also gives information on:

  • Structure : details on the modelling approach, data inputs and outputs, spatial and temporal extent and resolution;
  • Transparency: The extent to which underlying data, model results, code and documentation are available and accessible;
  • Quality : if and how uncertainties are quantified and accounted for, if sensitivity analysis has been done, if the model has been peer reviewed or validated, if results are published in peer reviewed journals.

The Commission makes extensive use of models to support policymaking, from their initial design to evaluating their environmental, economic and social impacts. Models are used in many policy areas, such as agriculture, the environment, transport, economics and fisheries.

For example, the Commission recently used modelling to assess the feasibility of committing to EU climate neutrality by 2050, and of the 2030 Climate Target Plan, which raises the EU's ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.

By clearly presenting information on models that supported Commission impact assessments and making that information easy for the public to navigate, MIDAS encourages scrutiny of the quality of evidence provided by modelling and the exchange of good practices in model use.

The aim is to give everyone - whether it’s research bodies, decision makers or the general public - confidence in the contribution that these models make to better policy design and evaluation.

What is modelling and why is it important?

Models are analytical representations or quantifications of real-world systems, used to make projections or to assess the behaviour of a system under specified conditions. They are an essential component of evidence-informed policymaking.

Large datasets and complex models are used to understand policy issues and work out their trajectory and the impact of interventions - in areas such as pandemic modelling, economic growth, the feasibility of renewables targets, or health and air quality, to name a few.

The models used on behalf of the Commission can be developed by the Commission services themselves, notably the JRC, or by external partners or contractors, such as universities or consultancies.

The MIDAS inventory contains descriptions of models previously or currently in use by the Commission in support of policies. It is designed to make it easier to meaningfully assess models for complex problems, to maximize their benefits and to communicate their strengths and weaknesses clearly.

Background

Since 2019, parts of MIDAS have been open to the European Parliament, and the Competence Centre on Modelling has now opened it to the public.

Within the Better Regulation framework, the key objectives of the Competence Centre on Modelling are to:

  • promote a responsible use of models in EU policy making;
  • increase the transparency, consistency and quality of model use;
  • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of modelling resources.

The Competence Centre on Modelling contributes to Better Regulation, the Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Law Making and the Communication on Data, Information and Knowledge Management at the European Commission.

The Competence Centre also manages a Community of Practice on Modelling, which is a forum to exchange modelling-related knowledge and best practices in support of EU policies. It brings together modellers and policymakers from all Commission services.

The first European Conference on Modelling for Policy Support, in November 2019, brought together around 200 researchers and policymakers from the Commission, European and international institutions and agencies, Member States, Universities, research institutes, plus consultancies, to discuss common challenges and solutions in the use of models to support policymaking.