Understanding Systems

To develop a model of a system it is first necessary to gather together all of the relevant information about it. When modelling environmental systems this can mean information about geology, the surface environment, ecosystems and the way in which they change in time (e.g. because of climate change). Biological systems will require information about organ function and dynamics. It is also necessary to understand how the things of interest interact with the system. These might be chemical contaminants, pharmaceuticals or CO2, for example – whatever the assessment is focused on.

Direct knowledge of the underlying science is invaluable, and Quintessa staff include physicists, chemists, geologists and environmental scientists, educated to MSc and PhD level. But it is often the case that it is necessary to turn to leading scientists. Quintessa maintains a network of highly respected specialists who can advise on specific aspects with authority. We also understand the value of 'synthesising' what is often a lot of detailed information into what is most important. We seek to distil the key facts from large amounts of information, as well as highlighting the most important uncertainties. Methods such as FEP (Features, Events and Process) analysis can be very powerful tools for this.