Go8: Roadmap to Recovery

Group of Eight Media Releases

Other Descriptions

The Project

The Group of Eight (Go8) convened an expert taskforce to develop a report on the challenge of recovering from the current state of pandemic shut-down. The report is independent, objective, and grounded in diverse expertise and scientific evidence. The report provides a set of recommendations that have been presented to the government and other decision-makers.

Australia’s Leading Universities, leading excellence, leading debate.

This taskforce convened some of the brightest minds across our Group of Eight universities – it consisted of experts in epidemiology, modelling, infectious diseases, public health and mental health, psychologists, economists and political scientists, communication experts, and experts on issues related to as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, along with those with special knowledge of vulnerable groups. It included both eminent professors and early-career researchers. A challenge as grave and pervasive as Covid-19 requires a breadth of skills embodied in this diverse group.

The group was tasked with coming up with a series of evidence-based, actionable, recommendations, addressing both Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, finding a reasonable balance between maximising the safety of populations, the protection of the economy, and the well-being of society.

The group sought to answer the following questions:

  1. Clarify and model the optimal approach that Australia should follow (e.g. eradication, controlled suppression, mini-epidemic etc.) and the scale and structure of the Testing and Surveillance, Contact Tracing and Isolation program that would be need to accompany such an approach and its attendant relaxation of measures?
  2. In that context, how and when to relax “social distancing”? With specific advise and reference to:
    – Workplaces and Businesses
    – Schools
    – Universities
    – Small Gatherings (Gyms, Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, Salons etc)
    – Mass and Public gatherings (Games, Concerts, Rallies)

    1. What markers should trigger, and in what order, the relaxation of restrictions on the above?
    2. How should the success and safety of the relaxation be measured?
    3. What would be the earliest “warning signs” of an impending recurrence and what mitigating actions should be anticipated?
  3. Which responses should be uniform across the nation, which by state jurisdiction, and/or which can be regionalized? – NOW CONDENSED INTO Q.2
  4. How do we build a health system that will fit the approach in (1 and 2) and how do we support the healthcare workforce at the forefront of this?
  5. Impact of treatments and interventions – NOW CONDENSED INTO Q.2
    1. How and when would the strategy change with the availability of an effective treatment?
    2. How and when would the strategy change with the availability of an effective vaccine?
  6. What regime of border protection and travel restrictions will be needed to be consistent with the objectives above? How should Australia coordinate its response to the changing realities of the pandemic elsewhere?
  7. What are the special considerations, preparations, and support needed to assist the reopening of:
    – Businesses and Workplaces
    – Schools
    – Universities
    – Small Gatherings
    – Mass and Public Gatherings
  8. What are the expected impacts and needed interventions for the to maintaining societal well-being and individual mental health through this process?
  9. What are the special considerations with regards to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their communities through the recovery process?
  10. What are the special considerations during the recovery process for:
    1. Women
    2. Children and youth
    3. Older people
    4. Rural and Regional vs. Metropolitan
    5. Gender diverse groups
    6. Other vulnerable groups
  11. How is this communicated to engage maximum public support and participation?

Task Force

Click below for a list of taskforce members and their biographies (where provided).



Collaborative Reasoning and Report Generation Process

The University of Melbourne’s Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research is facilitating an online collaborative reasoning process to generate the Roadmap.

The process is based on prior research at the University of Melbourne into how best to support teams to develop high-quality analytic reasoning, and communicate that reasoning in a clear and compelling manner. That research has resulted in the SWARM cloud platform and a semi-structured method called “Contending Analyses,” where teams generate multiple alternative analytical “takes” on a problem, then select and develop the most promising. The approach is also designed to mitigate common problems in group reasoning, such as social dominance effects.

The Project Steering Committee


Professor Shitij Kapur, MBBS, PhD, FRCPC, FMedSci
Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health), University of Melbourne
Chair of the Deans of Medicine Workgroup of the Go8

Professor Shitij Kapur is as a clinician-scientist with expertise in psychiatry, neuroscience and brain imaging, having published over 300 papers that have been extensively cited. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK, and a Fellow of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He serves on several Boards, including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Chairs the Executive Board of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health. He is always trying to find time to play Squash.

Vicki Thomson
Chief Executive, Group of Eight

Ms Vicki Thomson is the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight (Go8) – Australia’s eight leading research-intensive universities – taking up the role in January 2015. Ms Thomson’s diverse background covers print and electronic journalism, politics, issues management and the higher education sector. She has an extensive media, political and policy background and was Chief of Staff to a South Australian Premier. She is a Board member of the European Australian Business Council, a member of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Reference Group, and a former Board member of the Australia-China Council. She is also a member of MS Research Australia’s Leadership Council.

Collaborative Reasoning Leaders

Dr Tim van Gelder
Director, Hunt Lab

Dr. Tim van Gelder is an Enterprise Research Fellow and Director of the Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research in the School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne. He is an applied epistemologist with a background in philosophy and cognitive science. His primary areas of expertise are reasoning and collective intelligence. He has published widely including in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Cognitive Science, Journal of Philosophy and Journal of Public Deliberation. Prior to joining the University he had extensive experience assisting large organisations with analytic capability development, and expert elicitation.

Dr Richard de Rozario
Director of Systems and Analysis, Hunt Lab

Dr. Richard de Rozario is Director of Systems and Analysis for the Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research, and an Enterprise Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He studied computer information systems in the USA, holds a graduate diploma in market modelling and completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Melbourne, where he applied ontology to assess competitive intelligence systems. Prior to joining the University, he worked in related analytical and managerial roles across finance, IT and government sectors.

Contact Details

Support for Participants

If you are a contributor or taskforce member and need assistance, please email us at swarm-help@unimelb.edu.au.

Media Enquiries

Alex Kennedy
Group of Eight
Phone 0439 444 639
Email alex.kennedy@go8.edu.au


Professor Shitij Kapur
Phone +61 3 8344 5892
Email shitij.kapur@unimelb.edu.au
Vicki Thomson
Phone 0417 808 472
Email vicki.thomson@go8.edu.au

Hunt Lab

Dr Tim van Gelder
Director, Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research
Email tgelder@unimelb.edu.au