Project Process

Project Process

The MTFC program includes three phases: Qualifying,  Project, and Symposium. For the Qualifying Phase teams must respond to a scenario by reviewing a data-set and answering questions covering basic statistics, probability, trend projections, risk analysis, and critical thinking. More detail about the Scenario Response topics can be found in the example resources section of this website. On the information below, you will find the high-level  guidance for the completing MTFC Project Phase.

 

What is an MTFC Project?

Upon qualifying for the project phase of the MTFC your team will enter into the dynamic world of actuarial science where the best mathematical minds use real data to predict the future (to the extent mathematically possible).  Your project will take your team on a journey similar to that which professional actuaries take as they analyze data and try to identify future trends in an attempt to help their company, organization, or client maneuver the uncertain waters of the future. 

There are four main parts to your MTFC project. First, you will be provided with a Challenge Theme (agriculture, water, and climate change for 2019-20 Challenge) within which your team will identify your own project topic. You will then be able to begin reviewing real data sets from our content partners and conducting your own analysis to identify future risks and make recommendations on how to best mitigate or manage those risks. The final piece to your MTFC project is to write up your analysis in a report that will be presented to our panel of actuary judges for review. Specifics of the report structure can be found in your Project Guide (available upon launch of the Qualifying Phase). 

Part 1: Background Research & Topic Selection

The 2019-20 Theme is Agriculture, Water, and Climate ChangeThe first part of your project is to review the background sources that are provided in the Project Guide to help you understand how agriculture, water, and climate change are linked. Several worksheets are provided (upon launch of the Qualifying Phase) in the Resources section of this website to guide you through understanding some of the important background information and data-sets available.

At the conclusion of this part of your project, your team should have selected a specific region of the United States and particular crop(s) or livestock on which you will conduct your analysis. Defining a specific region and crop(s) is important to keep your project focused and manageable. Visit the page about the Theme for more background, and after the launch of the Qualifying Phase, make sure to review the Project Guide and other resources to help you get going.

 

Part 2: Data Analysis & Mathematical Modeling

The second part to your project is to identify and start analyzing the data. Think about what types of agricultural data might correlate with various climate factors (precipitation, heat, max temperatures, min temperatures, drought index, etc). Identify from existing climate forecasts how scientists expect these factors to change in the future. Explore how many adverse climate events (drought, floods, and severe storms) have happened in your region over the years. 

Then take this knowledge and create your own mathematical model defining how changes in certain climate factors could affect the production of the main crop or crops in your region in the future. 

Remember, agriculture, water, and climate change are linked in many complex ways. There are also many other factors that can affect crop production in your region. You will have to make some assumptions and focus on a few relationships that seem most important to you. There’s a lot to work on. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to do too much. Additional information and guidelines in the Project Guide can help.

Part 3: Projecting Trends & Quantifying Risks

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Once your team has developed your model defining the potential relationships between climate factors, water availability, and agriculture, you can start to project future trends and quantify risks to the agricultural industry. To do this, you’ll analyze insurance data from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. This data provides historical crop insurance claims and the cause for the loss. 

You will use your models to quantify the severity, frequency, and probability of future losses to the agricultural industry due to changes in access to water and relevant climate factors. This part of your project should result in your team projecting trends in agricultural production and/or expected losses through 2050 based on your own mathematical models. 

Part 4: Making Recommendations

The final part to your project is to make recommendations to help the agricultural industry in your region mitigate or otherwise manage the expected risks. You will identify what can be done in two areas: (1) insurance, and (2) public policy. 

Your final recommendations should be written as though you are addressing the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency and should identify specific, quantifiable recommendations to help the agricultural industry in your region.

The Project Guide provides examples of potential recommendations. Make sure to review this and use the other resources on this website to help guide your project report.

Writing Your Report

Your team’s Project Report can be a maximum of 25 pages and must include the following sections:

  1. Title Page (not included in page count)
    1. Include the project title, date of submission, and the statement, “2019-20 Modeling the Future Challenge Project Report”
    2. Do not include any identifying information.
  2. Introductory Sections (5 pages max):
    1. Executive Summary. A one page write up summarizing the key points of the material in the report.
    2. Background Information. A section that describes information about the theme of the report and includes background information on what is known about the topic and data-sets.
  3. Modeling Methodology Sections (10 pages max):
    1. Data Methodology. Descriptions of what data was used and why.
    2. Mathematics Methodology. Descriptions of how the mathematical model was developed, what is the model, what math was used to project the future trends.
  4. Analysis Sections (10 pages max):
    1. Model Results. Descriptions of the resulting analysis from the model. What were the results of how the data projects future trends? What are the probabilities, likelihoods, etc. of what will change in the future based on the model?
    2. Risk Analysis. Description of what risks may be associated with the projected changes in the future. What organizations may be at risk? Why? And How? What are the risks, can they be quantified based on the projections from the model? Risks should be specific and should be quantitative not just qualitative in nature.
    3. Recommendations. Description of how the organizations with risks associated with the projected changes could best adapt to the changes. How can the organizations either (1) best mitigate the risks (i.e. changes to insurance policies, government regulations, or corporate procedures), or (2) create opportunity from the projected changes. The Recommendations section should include information regarding how both insurance and public policy changes could be used to help respond to the risks.
  5. References (not included in page count)