SMS scnews item created by Andrew Mathas at Fri 22 Aug 2014 1120
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 12 Sep 2014
Calendar1: 12 Sep 2014 1300-1400
CalLoc1: AGR Seminar
CalTitle1: AGR Seminar: Experts, judgements and intelligence
Auth: mathas@pmathas2.pc (assumed)

AGR Seminar

Experts, judgements and intelligence

Professor Mark Burgman

Host venue


Expert judgements often are repudiated in science as subjective and unreliable. Unfortunately, often they are all we have. The growth in Bayesian inference has renewed interest in the estimation of priors. The notion of expert judgement is broader than that, encompassing judgement-based specification of model parameters, distributional shapes, functions and dependencies, as well as a host of other assumptions. This presentation argues that expert judgement should be afforded the same rigour as currently as afforded to data. It outlines approaches to acquiring, validating and improving expert opinions and subjective estimates. It finishes with an assessment of these methods applied to geopolitical intelligence gathering.

Speaker bio
Mark Burgman is Managing Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, the Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Conservation Biology. He works on ecological modelling, conservation biology and risk assessment. His research has included models on a broad range of species and a range of settings including marine fisheries, forestry, irrigation, electrical power utilities, mining, and national park planning. He received a BSc from the University of New South Wales (1974), an MSc from Macquarie University, Sydney (1981), and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York (1987). He worked as a consultant ecologist and research scientist in Australia, the United States and Switzerland during the 1980's before joining the University of Melbourne in 1990.

To participate:
Contact Maaike Wienk at, with a cc to Michael Shaw at AMSI (, one week in advance at the latest.


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