About EpiPose

The acronym Epipose

EpiPose is the acronym for: Epidemic intelligence to minimize 2019-nCoV’s public health, economic and social impact in Europe.

The project received funding (€ 4 548 391,25) from the European Union’s Research and Innovation Action under the H2020 work programme (grant agreement number ID: 101003688, https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101003688)


Introducing EpiPose

Hear Communication Manager Anna Carnegie provide an overview the project


The consortium consists of 6 partners in 5 countries (BE, NL, UK, CH, IT) who provide complementary expertise in mathematical and statistical modelling of infectious diseases, participatory surveillance systems, living systematic reviews, and health economic analysis and have a strong international public health network.

The project is coordinated by Prof. Niel Hens and his team at UHasselt, Belgium.


For more information about the participating organisations, you can visit their websites:

The project is coordinated by Prof. Niel Hens and his team at UHasselt, Belgium

Here, Prof. Hens discusses the origins of EpiPose and his ambitions for the project.

Main expected outcomes:

Outcome 1: increased social and behavioural insights and preparedness
We collect data on changes in people’s awareness, perceptions, social contacts and health condition during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This data is essential to assess efficiency of interventions and public health messaging and how people adhere to and cope with them.

Outcome 2: increased epidemiological insights and preparedness
We assess key epidemiological parameters in various countries and their change due to intervention measures through the development of robust statistical and mathematical models for epidemic nowcasting and forecasting.

Outcome 3: increased health and macro-economic insights and preparedness
We assess the COVID-19 disease burden, impact of the pandemic and intervention strategies on financial markets, economic transactions, health costs and other indicators and of cost-effectiveness of treatments when they become available.

Project details

EpiPose aims to provide urgently needed answers about the epidemiological characteristics of 2019-nCoV, the social dynamics of the outbreak, and the related public health preparedness and response to the ongoing pandemic, also assessing the economic impact of the pandemic. EpiPose aims to deliver results quickly, according to the following objectives:

  1. To collect and share epidemiological data of 2019-nCoV as widely as possible;
  2. To provide country-specific estimates of key epidemiological parameters;
  3. To model the expect impact of 2019-nCoV on morbidity and mortality;
  4. To monitor awareness and behavioural change during the 2019-nCoV pandemic;
  5. To provide health economic analyses for interventions within the EU;
  6. To foster the interaction between the scientific community, public health agencies and the public EpiPose aims to make all research data, code, tools and results publicly available and its dissemination plan targets active communication and interaction with policy makers, other scientific groups and the general public.

As such, the epidemic intelligence provided by EpiPose will help minimize the 2019-nCoV’s public health, economic and social impact.


The EpiPose team

The EpiPose senior research team


Prof Niel Hens: Niel is a biostatistician and mathematical epidemiologist at UHasselt and University of Antwerp with over 15 years of experience in human epidemiology and an established international expert in infectious disease modelling. Niel uses and develops mathematical and statistical methods to improve the understanding of infectious disease epidemiology. He participated in the EU FP6 project called POLYMOD on collecting social contact data relevant for the spread of infectious diseases. In 2016, Hens received a consolidator grant from the European Research Council for the project TransMID which focuses on the development of novel methods to estimate key epidemiological parameters from both serological and social contact data. Niel coordinates the EpiPose project

Prof Christel Faes: Christel is professor of Biostatistics at DSI and head of the department of Mathematics and Statistics at UHasselt with over 11 years of experience in human and animal epidemiology (including advanced analysis and interpretation of surveillance data, outbreak data, time series, geo-spatial and spatio-temporal data, often retrieved from linked databases). Among her many projects, Christel coordinates a biostatistical consultancy team who work with ECDC to provide a range of services, including investigating the use of social media information in modern epidemic intelligence.

University of Antwerp 

Prof Philippe Beutels: Phillipe is the founder and director of the Centre for Health Economics Research and Modelling Infectious Diseases (CHERMID), and heads the 150 person strong Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute at University of Antwerp. Philippe specialises on topics related to health economics, mathematical modelling and epidemiology. He's a frequent adviser for the World Health Organization (WHO) and has been a long standing member and occasional chairperson of several WHO committees, including the Immunization and Vaccines related Implementation Research (IVIR) Advisory Committee (2012-2018). He was the main senior author of the 2008 WHO guide on economic evaluation of vaccines, and is also the lead author of the 2019 update of this guide.

Prof Joke Bilcke: Joke is a biologist (MSc), biostatistician (MSc) and health economist (PhD) at CHERMID, University of Antwerp. She has published extensively on infectious disease burden, costs, cost-effectiveness and the statistical challenges in analysing these types of data. Joke is highly experienced in analysing large databases, including lab, hospital, mortality, prescription and health insurance databases. Her main interest lies in improving the ways in which data are analyzed and presented in disease burden, modelling and health economic studies, with a particular focus on accounting for parametric, model and structural uncertainty.

Prof Benson Ogunjimi. Benson is a physicist (Bsc, MSc), Medical Doctor (MD) and pediatrician, with a PhD in medical sciences and sciences on infectious disease modelling. Benson currently holds an ERC starting grant at the University of Antwerp, which is focused on developing novel individual-based models for cellular immunological response mechanisms. As a clinician, Benson is mainly active as a paediatrician with an outspoken focus on rheumatology and immunology.


Prof Jacco Wallinga: Jacco specializes in real-time analysis of infectious disease outbreaks, and assessing the impact of intervention measures. He heads the Modelling and Economics Unit at RIVM. Jacco was an advisor to the WHO during the SARS outbreak in 2003, the influenza pandemic in 2009, and again during the 2019-nCoV outbreak. He has been on the scientific advisory board of REACTing in France, the Health Protection Research Unit for Modelling in the UK, and of the CRE Infectious Diseases Modelling to Inform Public Health Policy ( a consortium for infectious disease modeling in Australia). He is an advisory board member of the R Epidemics consortium, an international not for profit organization that aims to create analytics tools to inform the response to disease outbreaks.

Dr Jantien Backer: Jantien works as a Senior Researcher at RIVM. Jantien began her infectious disease modelling career studying the effectiveness of emergency vaccination and preemptive culling to control infectious livestock diseases, such as classical swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza. She has also worked on (maximum likelihood and Bayesian) estimation methods for transmission parameters and test characteristics. Jantien’s research aims to reduce the impact of infectious diseases by both understanding their transmission and assessing the effect of intervention strategies such as vaccination.

Dr Don Klinkenberg: Don works as a senior researcher at RIVM. He completed a PhD on mathematical models for the spread and control of Classical Swine Fever, followed by a post-doc on the EU-funded project SARSTRANS, about the SARS epidemic. Don’s research spans epidemiology, infectious diseases, mathematics and statistics, focussing on control of infectious diseases for public health. He has published extensively, with a focus on the various aspects of outbreak control, such as data analysis and comparison of interventions.

Dr Albert Jan van Hoek: Albert is a Senior Researcher at RIVM and an Assistant Professor at LSHTM. His research is focused on improving the decision-making in curtailing the spread of infectious diseases; by improving the epidemiological knowledge, collecting quality of life data, contact surveys, development of decision models (including dynamical transmission models), and by measuring population preferences regarding the various benefits of vaccination. Albert contributed to work packages of several large European projects (I-Move+; Polymod), was an advisor to the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization in the UK, and is a full member of the Dutch vaccination committee.


Prof Mark Jit: Mark is a Professor of Vaccine Epidemiology at LSHTM with over 20 years of academic research experience in Europe and worldwide. Mark’s research focuses on epidemiological and economic modelling of vaccines to support evidence-based public health decision-making. Much of his work involves the use of transmission dynamic models which explore wider population-level effects of vaccines, such as herd (indirect) protection, changes to pathogen ecology and broader economic effects . His work has influenced many of the major changes to UK government policy over the past ten years, including policy decisions around HPV, pneumococcal, rotavirus and influenza vaccination.

Prof John Edmunds: John is a Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at LSHTM whose research focuses on modelling the spread of infectious diseases and the design of efficient control programmes. During the West African Ebola crisis, John led LSHTM’s real-time analyses of the epidemic which helped guide the response by national and international partners. He was also part of the team that helped design and analyse the novel Ebola “ring vaccine trial” in Guinea. He has been a member of a number of national and international advisory committees, including WHO’s Ebola Science Committee, and WHO EUROs ETAGE (European Technical Advisory Group of Experts), the UK’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and the UK’s Pandemic modelling committee (SPI-M) and various subcommittees of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI). He is also currently a member of the UK Governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on COVID19.

Dr Shelley Lees: Shelley is a medical anthropologist at LSHTM with over 20 years experience on the anthropology of infectious diseases. She is experienced in in-depth qualitative methods, as well as quantitative approaches, including diaries and surveys. Shelley’s interests lie in the engagement of social scientists in disease outbreaks and is conducting research to understand how this engagement can be effectively utilised and how best to engage with local communities about clinical trials and outbreaks. Shelley is the lead investigator on several studies which take anthropological perspectives to issues around vaccine deployment and community preparedness in emergent epidemics.

Dr Petra Klepac: Petra is an Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at LSHTM whose research lies at the interface of epidemiology, economics, ecology and applied mathematics. Petra predominantly works on the control and elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases and has a particular interest in international cooperation in public health. She has both a strong interest in developing new modelling frameworks and working with collaborators to apply these frameworks to real-world public health contexts. She has also led the development of the fine-level spatial model for influenza, based on mobility and social contact data from a massive citizen science project undertaken with collaboration with Cambridge University and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Dr Marcus Keogh-Brown: Marcus is an Associate Professor at LSHTM whose work is focused on analysing the macro-economic impact of health disorders and development of macro-economic models in various health-related contexts.  His macroeconomic modelling research has covered infectious and communicable diseases such as SARS, influenza and tuberculosis. Marcus is particularly interested in health-related applications of Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Modelling with GAMS and his current research involves health and macroeconomic modelling of tuberculosis, child labour and food and beverage taxes.

ISI Foundation

Dr Daniela Paolotti: Daniela is a Research Leader at ISI whose work has a strong  interdisciplinary approach. For more than ten years, she has been working on applying tools from complex systems and networks science, applied mathematics, computer science, data science, behavioral sciences to study disease spreading from an epidemiological as well as social point of view. Since 2008, she has been developing and coordinating Influenzanet - a Europe-wide network of Web-based platforms for participatory surveillance of Influenza-like Illness. More recently, at ISI she has co-founded a research area devoted to themes related to Data Science and Social Impact.

Dr Michele Tizzoni: Michele is a physicist (MSc, Ph.D.) working at ISI with 10 years’ experience in the mathematical and computational modeling of infectious diseases. Michele’s research is focused on the application of new technologies to the field of infectious disease epidemiology and public health. More specifically, he has conducted research on the use of mobile phone data to model human movements relevant to disease spread, and the use of wearable proximity sensors to map social mixing patterns in African households.

Prof Ciro Cattuto: Ciro works as a Principal Scientist and Research Area Coordinator at ISI Foundation. His research interests include data science, network science, computational social science, public health. Among his other achievements, Cirois a founder and principal investigator of the SocioPatterns project, a decade-long international collaboration which studies human and animal social networks through the use of wearable sensors.


Dr Christian L. Althaus: Christian is a computational epidemiologist and research group leader at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at UBern with over 15 years experience in infectious disease modelling. Christian uses mathematical and computational modeling in combination with data analyses to investigate how the population biology of infectious diseases is affected by environmental changes, dynamic patterns of host immunity, or public health interventions. During the last few years, Christian has become a renowned expert for emerging infectious diseases, and made significant contributions to improved understanding of the transmission dynamics of Ebola, MERS-CoV and 2019-nCoV.

Prof Nicola Low: Nicola is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a clinical background working at UBern. Nicola’s main field of research is in the epidemiology and control of sexually transmitted infections through primary epidemiological studies, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and mathematical modelling. Nicola has worked extensively with ECDC and WHO and has ongoing research collaborations across Europe and in Australia, South Africa, Zambia and Papua New Guinea. Her publication record has been shaped by the principles of data sharing and open science. She is an open access ambassador for the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Sarah Vercruysse

Project manager

Anna Carnegie

Communication manager