In the last decade, first-principles-based microkinetic modeling has been developed into an important tool for a mechanistic understanding of heterogeneous catalysis. A commonly known, but hitherto barely analyzed issue in this kind of modeling is the presence of sizable errors from the use of approximate Density Functional Theory (DFT). We here address the propagation of these errors to the catalytic turnover frequency (TOF) by global sensitivity and uncertainty analysis. Both analyses require the numerical quadrature of high-dimensional integrals. To achieve this efficiently, we utilize and extend an adaptive sparse grid approach and exploit the confinement of the strongly non-linear behavior of the TOF to local regions of the parameter space. We demonstrate the methodology on a model of the oxygen evolution reaction at the Co3O4 (110)-A surface, using a maximum entropy error model that imposes nothing but reasonable bounds on the errors. For this setting, the DFT errors lead to an absolute uncertainty of several orders of magnitude in the TOF. We nevertheless find that it is still possible to draw conclusions from such uncertain models about the atomistic aspects controlling the reactivity. A comparison with derivative-based local sensitivity analysis instead reveals that this more established approach provides incomplete information. Since the adaptive sparse grids allow for the evaluation of the integrals with only a modest number of function evaluations, this approach opens the way for a global sensitivity analysis of more complex models, for instance, models based on kinetic Monte Carlo simulations.

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