The Faculty of Arts and Humanities, at the University of Plymouth
The Faculty is advertising for multiple Doctoral Teaching Assistants to join its postgraduate research community. The multiple positions are spread across four Schools: Art, Design and Architecture; Society and Culture; Institute of Education; and the Plymouth Business School.
Whilst system dynamics/system thinking isn’t specifically sought over other areas of research, good applications in these areas that meet the recruitment criteria would be welcomed.
The Operational Research Society’s flagship simulation event is taking place online on 22nd to 26th March 2021. The workshop has a packed schedule of speakers, panels, tutorials bringing the latest news and break throughs in System Dynamics, Discrete Event Simulation and Agent Based Modelling.
The event includes:
Two high-profile international keynote speakers
Lively panel discussions with subject experts
The latest research on COVID-19 simulations, artificial intelligence, conceptual modelling, crowd control and data farming
A wide range of tutorial sessions, including a tutorial from Brian Dangerfield, winner of the UK Chapter’s 2018 Outstanding Contribution Award
Two daily networking sessions to connect with peers
Poster lightning talks
Interactive sessions available to watch again after the event
The UK System Dynamics Chapter of the International Society are holding their annual conference and AGM virtually once again this year. The programme has been adapted to optimise participants online experience and includes excellent speakers, up and coming student contributions and opportunities to engage in discussions that are aimed to further the field. There is an optional session on the evening of Tuesday the 25th May for those new to System Dynamics and who want to learn the basics of stock and flow modelling, with a full programme of events on Wednesday 26th May. We look forward to seeing you…
Students may apply for the annual student prize for 2021. Spaces will be limited. To be considered, please submit an abstract of your work (max 500 words). Completed and ongoing work is welcome
After the abstract selection, successful students will be asked to submit a full paper of up to 20 pages, which will be judged by an esteemed panel of experts, and a 5 minute pre-recorded presentation. The prize is open to students based in the UK. (If unsuccessful, you will automatically be considered for a poster presentation as an alternative.)
Submission Deadlines: 19th April for an abstract 17th May for either a full paper, if short-listed, or a poster submission
The “Getting Started with System Dynamics” session, led by Kim Warren, will take place 4:00–6:30pm on the 25th May, the day before the conference. This is ideal for people new to system dynamics. Please register beforehand as numbers are limited.
This years’s annual conference will be a one-day online meeting. It will include presentations from invited speakers and student work. There will also be opportunities for participants to present posters. A “Getting Started with System Dynamics” workshop will run on the evening of the 25th.
The COVID pandemic has provided an opportunity for those in the System Dynamics community to apply their skills. Whilst there may be general lessons from the pandemic about the wider use of modelling the suitability of SD in such a situation is clear. The dynamic nature of the situation and the need to be build and refine models at pace and sometimes in the absence, or in advance or hard facts, lends itself to SD. One such example has been the work undertaken in the Kent & Medway system by the Whole Systems Partnership. Read more …
Are you a system dynamics practitioner? Or have you used system dynamics in a project? Do you have a success story to tell?
System Dynamics has been used successfully in a wide range of situations, in efforts that range from a few days’ work up to very large projects. All kinds of organisation have benefited, including businesses, Government departments and voluntary groups. We are keen to highlight more such cases, so if you have a story you would like to tell, please consider submitting it for inclusions in our success stories. Please visit our success stories webpage
Every system dynamics modeller likes an output that tells a story, and when this matches closely to what’s actually happening there’s an additional sense of satisfaction, and confidence in the forecasts that the model generates. The simple blue line in the illustration below has been generated by an SD model that has been constantly refreshed for the Kent & Medway system since March last year. It is based on a standard SIR structure with stocks of Susceptible, Infected and Recovered people that flow through the system based on infection rates and the timing between infection, symptoms emerging and any subsequent needs for service interventions.
The model factors in underlying demographics, national lockdowns, Tiered restrictions, new variants, school opening and Christmas festivities followed by the new Lockdown in England that started on the 4thJanuary. And it matches the actuals! It then goes on to estimate the impact on hospital admissions, bed capacity, deaths management and discharge planning. And because it is fundamentally a population health model it is contributing to our understanding of the impact of COVID on subsequent health needs including Long-COVID and associated Mental Health challenges.
The system dynamic model’s ability to factor in the new COVID variant has been recognised as critical to understanding the Autumn and early Winter surge in cases and subsequent pressure on the health and care system. It has also been informative as to when, at what levels and under what circumstances this surge would run out of steam – the inevitable balancing loops that put the brakes on otherwise exponentially increases cause by reinforcing loops. This is illustrated in the diagram where the opportunity and ability of the virus to spread during the Autumn brings about a strong reinforcing cycle that even the November lockdown fails to do more than dent. The more strict lockdown from the 5thJanuary does turn things around, but we retain the risk of a resurgence given the remaining susceptible population despite the progress of the vaccination programme.
The success of the model in helping people to understand the impact of the new COVID variant in the Kent & Medway system has led to the underlying epidemiological outputs now being developed to inform plans for COVID-19 demand and capacity requirements in the NHS across the South East Region of England.
Combatting COVID-19 has moved on. Now is the pleasant task of planning to roll out the vaccines! Thousands of analysts are struggling right now to solve this with spreadsheets, but this is another local challenge best-handled with a dynamic model, like the one offered by Strategy Dynamics at http://sdl.re/VaccineRolloutDemo. This demo explains the purpose of the local COVID-19 vaccine roll-out model and how it works. Give it a try and share it with anyone who could use it
Just launched! … a 4-week competition – yes, with prizes! – for any upper-school or University teams to answer for their chosen area – city, town, region – “Lockdown-2 – how deep, how long?”
Teams will follow the simple classes in the COVID-19 modelling course then use the localisable COVID-19 model to explain how the outbreak has progressed in their area, assess the impact lockdown-2 needs to have on contact-rates, then estimate how the outbreak may progress from there – trying to avoid a 3rd wave.
In March in response to what seemed to be a big gap in the Government’s strategy. We founded The Covid 19 Localisation Modelling. We are a volunteer organisation with about 100 contributors with multidisciplinary expertise. We have created this course so young people can learn about Covid 19 and how to manage it in Local areas. We believe it is very important to get young people involved so we created a free online course to teach young people how to model the outbreak in local areas. Localisation is very important because living conditions and the progress of the viral outbreak are very different in every neighbourhood: St Johns Wood vs Hackney; Finchley is vs Chelsea; Ealing vs Marylebone — all different. And that extends across the UK: Bristol vs Manchester; Birmingham vs York, Brighton vs Hull, etc — all different. Because of this we believe each local can reap big benefits from having its own localised strategy.
The complication is while Government can declare lockdowns, the effectiveness is only as good as the compliance and here in the UK compliance is, well, bad. The most difficult cases are areas where people simply do not have the resources to stick to lockdowns, that is genuinely tragic because as we have seen the BAME communities have been most affected, partly because of the need to keep generating income and this puts them in harm’s way. Less upsetting but equally difficult is, frankly, people are getting weary of lockdowns and all the restrictions, especially young people. We have analysed this in detail in dozens of locations including London and young people circulating more freely is a major contributor to why we have surge in cases now and why we are in a lockdown.
What can be done about this? We believe engaging young people in the debate and the analysis instead of just dictating to them. The evidence is this is a very powerful lever for positive change: we have seen it happen. We have been working constantly on an initiative to help young people understand what is happening with Covid 19 in local areas and have had much success internationally.
We are working with 3 student interns at MIT in Cambridge Ma USA through the MISTI and IAP programs. They are currently evaluating Covid 19 management plans and the issue of coordinating term schedules with other universities using the migration structures in our model. They will be working on scale up and AI/Machine Learning later.
We have been working with other students in Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Greece, Dominican Republic, Haiti and many cities in the USA.
A notable exception has been in the UK. Although are engaged extensively with the NHS Analyst community and we have worked with a handful of students here in the UK we have not succeeded in scaling up the way we think would really make a big difference.
We want to try to change that so we have launched a UK Covid 19 Lockdown challenge for young people last weekend. The competition runs for 4 weeks in step with the lockdown and will be judged by a panel of experts. Prizes are being awarded for the best analysis in two age groups: Secondary school age and post-Secondary School age up to 24.
University of Glasgow – MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU)
Applications are invited for the above PhD studentship. SPHSU has a strong focus on developing and using cutting-edge methods to understand how social, behavioural, economic, political and environmental factors influence health and wellbeing. The studentship is aligned to the work of the multidisciplinary Systems science In Public Health and Health Economics Research Consortium (SIPHER), and will benefit from the academic and practice networks this brings. The Scottish Government, a SIPHER policy partner, is one of a group of Wellbeing Economy Governments, committed to create a robust, resilient wellbeing economy. This three-year PhD project will use participatory and system dynamics modelling to provide insight into the likely synergies and trade-offs involved with alternative political strategies designed to move towards that goal, with a particular focus on population health and health inequality outcomes.
You will have a first degree in a relevant, quantitative discipline, as well as a Masters degree (or equivalent experience) that has provided you with relevant technical modelling expertise (e.g. economics, operational research, computer science, transport, sustainability, infectious disease, population health science). Your primary supervisor will be Professor Petra Meier, with other SPHSU or SIPHER staff as appropriate to the successful candidate’s interests and skills.
Application deadline: 9 October 2020.
Further details: Advert for the studentship. Please carefully check eligibility criteria (only UK residents can get the stipend due to funders’ rules)
A team of simulation modellers, supported by disease experts, has created an easy-to-use model of COVID-19 outbreaks. It can be ‘localised’ to any defined region, to answer basic questions:
What is happening around here?
How might the outbreak play out?
How can the future be best-managed?
The developers want to ‘democratise’ COVID policy by putting this model in the hands of millions of citizens, especially young people, so that anyone can answer those questions. A short online course at
designed by young people who actually used the model for their communities – explains basic epidemic principles and how to use the model. Please take a look and if you think it could be useful, please share it, tweet it, Facebook it …
has been calibrated to a wide range of localities –
from cities like Jakarta and New York to smaller towns to city-slums and their surrounding regions.
is totally transparent – every item is shown as time charts and every element can be seen and checked.
The developers are working with Foundations, NGOs, Healthcare Organisations, Governments and Commercial organisations to complement other pandemic-strategy efforts and understand issues relating to local areas that national models can’t address.
Systems Thinking is the blog of the Systems Unit in the Cabinet Office. The Systems Unit wants to help people across the public sector apply systems thinking to complex problems. To find out more about how the team is exploring this approach to improve people’s lives visit https://systemsthinking.blog.gov.uk/