Introduction to agent-based modelling for public health research


01/07/2024 - 04/07/2024

Organised by:

University of Glasgow (an NCRM Centre Partner)


Leandro Garcia, Larissa Lima and Sophie Jones


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


Penny White
NCRM Centre Manager
02380 594539


View in Google Maps  (G12 8TB)


University of Glasgow
Clarice Pears Building - Room 103A
90 Byres Road


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 3 experienced modellers throughout the course and solutions to the exercises will be provided.

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: and systems requirements are available here: 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.

Larissa Lima is a Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast Centre for Public Health. She is part of the GroundsWell Project and works on developing agent-based models to simulate green and blue spaces. 

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.


The fee per teaching day is £35 per day for students / £75 per day for staff working for academic institutions, Research Councils and other recognised research institutions, registered charity organisations and the public sector / £250 per day for all other participants. In the event of cancellation by the delegate a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. NO refunds are available after this date. If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond its control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given. NCRM shall not be liable for any costs, losses or expenses that may be incurred as a result of its cancellation of a course, including but not limited to any travel or accommodation costs. The University of Southampton’s Online Store T&Cs also continue to apply.

Website and registration:




Simulation , Agent-based modelling, Complex systems, Individual based model, Public Health

Related publications and presentations:

Agent-based modelling

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