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Introduction to agent-based modelling for public health research


Course Information

Four colour National Centre for Research Methods logo

This in-person course is for anyone interested in agent-based modelling for public health research. During the course, participants will be introduced to principles, concepts, and steps of building and analysing agent-based models, including conceptual model development, agent-based model development and verification, model documentation, and running and analysing of experiments. The course is primarily based on hands-on activities using the free, open-source software NetLogo, complemented by lectures and readings.

This course comprises four full days (9am - 4pm) of activities. No previous knowledge or skills in agent-based modelling or NetLogo is required. We welcome everyone interested in the course, with no minimum academic degree required. Participants will benefit from the assistance of 2 experienced modellers throughout the course and solutions to the exercises will be provided.

Course Code


Course Leader

Leandro Garcia
Course Description


The course covers: 

  • Introduction to complex systems

  • Agent-based models for public health research

  • Introduction to Netlogo

  • Coding an agent-based model

  • Model verification and calibration

  • Running and analysing experiments

  • Consistency and sensibility analysis


By the end of the course participants will:

  • Be able to describe what is an agent-based model and its main elements.
  • Explain how agent-based models can be used in public health research.
  • Understand the steps to build and run agent-based model.



The freeware software NetLogo (version 6.4.0) will be used during this course. The software is available here: https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/ and systems requirements are available here: https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/docs/requirements.html. No previous knowledge about this software is required.



Leandro Garcia is Lecturer in Complexity Science in Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast Centre for Public Health. He works on the development and application of systems thinking and complex systems science methods to investigate and address public and planetary health challenges.

Sophie Jones is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast Centre for Public Health. She works on agent-based models to investigate the emergence of physical activity population patterns and inequalities.

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01/07/202404/07/20240[Read More]

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