Event: System Dynamics in Climate Change Mitigation

Event: System Dynamics in Climate Change Mitigation

The UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society invites you to a network meeting on the theme of system dynamics in climate change mitigation Climate change mitigation and sustainability in general are systemic, multi-layered and wicked problems. Progress towards reducing global environmental impacts is far too slow and world greenhouse gas emissions rose unexpectedly last year. System dynamics has played a role in sustainability for decades, starting with the Limits to Growth study in the 1970s and more recently with the Climate Interactive project. While the characteristics of the mitigation problem in terms of physical stocks and flows are critical, this meeting will approach the subject from a more theoretical and higher level, exploring examples of real and perceived tensions that exist between human well-being and the health of natural systems. We will bring in concepts from critical systems thinking and social science to ask wider questions about causation.

The meeting will begin with four speakers: Prof Frank Boons will be talking on the relationship of circular economy and climate change, Dr John Broderick will be talking about his experiences in running the C-ROADS climate model, Dr Martin Reynolds from the OU will be talking about critical systems thinking and sustainability, and Dr Danial Schien will be presenting work on modelling of the carbon footprint of digital media.

There will be a plenary session in which examples of mitigation (both successful and otherwise) that are of interest to participants are identified. Groups will then explore their chosen example through causal loop diagramming and other SD related methods.

The meeting will be held on December 5th, from 1pm to 5pm, at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, Pariser Building, Room H18.

Attendance is free but advance booking is requested: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/system-dynamics-in-climate-change-mitigation-tickets-39880114496.

We hope to see you there.

Towards Smart Model-based Governance by Systems Thinking – Call for Papers

The aim of this Special Issue (SI) is to connect the two main topics towards which Kybernetes is currently steering its focus, Systems Thinking and Cybernetics, exploring their potential impacts in addressing and analysing complex issues in Social, Environmental and Economic domains,

The expected contributions to this Special Issue are related, but not limited, to the BSLab-SYDIC Workshop 2017 (http://bslab-symposium.net/BSLab-Sydic-2017/BSLAB-SYDIC-WS-Rome-2017.htm) whose attempt was to aggregate various issues from the wide topic of Smart Model-based Governance and its perspective of applications to the present and the future complex organisations.

The journal in which it will be published is KYBERNETES, Emerald Pub. (ISSN: 0368-492X)

Read more here.

2017 Annual Conference News and Booking

Each year the chapter organises the Annual Conference, a series of presentations from eminent practitioners and the opportunity to meet and discuss issues.  2017 will be the 19th annual conference.

THEME : 60 Years On, Still Looking Forward Seriously Modelling what Matters and Building Up the Field
VENUE: London South Bank University
DATE: Wednesday 5th April and Thursday 6th April

This is the 60th anniversary of the founding of System Dynamics by Jay Forrester, who died in November 2016, leaving behind a unique and precious legacy. Our tribute, this conference, covers contemporary examples of the classic themes he first developed:

  • World Dynamics
  • Urban Dynamics
  • Industrial Dynamics

We also cover Health Policy, which has become one of the most significant domains modelled using SD. The conference is open to all, whether or not you work in System Dynamics.

Conference page and booking

Report on “Developing Mathematical Models in Healthcare: Special Workshop on System Dynamics”

On Wednesday 27th January 2016 a special seminar on System Dynamics applied to healthcare was held at the School of Mathematics, Cardiff University. This was part of their regular Developing Mathematical Models in Healthcare seminar series. The event brought together experts in the field to talk about a selection of System Dynamics based projects in health and social care.

The seminar opened with a short introduction to System Dynamics, demonstrating the core concepts of accumulation and feedback when modelling a complex health system.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Siôn Cave, a consultant with Decision Analysis Services Ltd. Siôn gave a short overview of a number of projects (population behaviour, disease transmission, public health intervention and disease modelling) to reflect the variety of contexts where he has used System Dynamics. Siôn then focused on two high impact national projects (national workforce planning and Horizon 2035: modelling the future of health and social care) to highlight the value of the method.

Finally, Douglas McKelvie, a partner at The Symmetric Partnership, discussed using System Dynamics to improve strategic decision making. The presentation focused on two projects: modelling winter pressures on a healthcare system and modelling (health) service integration to examine whether (and when) the cost of an intervention will be offset by savings.

The speakers kindly agreed to make their slides available. Please find them here:

Some useful resources mentioned in the seminar:

Finally, echoing the final remarks of Professor Paul Harper at the event, please get in touch with Jo Emery (EmeryJL4@cardiff.ac.uk) if you would like further details regarding hosting an MSc project.

Making an impact in the health and social care system with SD

The Steer Davies Gleave prize was awarded between 2008 and 2014 for the best application of System Dynamics modelling to a topic of wide public interest. Over this period it was awarded four times, and in each case the work was related to projects which had a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare, social care and public health in the UK.

Case studies for each of these award winning projects have been brought together in a single document. They demonstrate the breadth of the application of System Dynamics to critical issues affecting the national health and social care system. In short, these case studies demonstrate how System Dynamics has been used to save the health and care system millions of pounds whilst improving care outcomes.

The document can be downloaded from Here

More information about each of the case studies can be viewed Here

Festival of Evidence, 20-24 October 2014

Festival of Evidence

promoting the use of modelling and simulation in healthcare.

20-24 October 2014

Runnymede Hotel, Runnymede-on-Thames, Windsor Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 0AG

Unlike Evidence Based Medicine, with decades of development and investment, care process engineering is still in its early stages. This might be surprising, given the sophistication of modern medicine and the systems used elsewhere in the economy. However, even the concept of evidence varies, quite apart from having agreed standards to integrate outcomes and operational measures, financial analyses and indicators of patient satisfaction. Thus, using evidence reproducibly to deliver higher quality care with greater efficiency at scale remains a major challenge. Moreover, the literature is fragmented with various ways of presenting different types of evidence, spread across journals, websites, Annual Reports, guidance documentation and held in people’s memories.

This is an opportunity to identify what evidence there is, how it is being generated, and what should be done to make it more systematic.

More Details

ESRC/ Scottish Government PhD studentship at the University of Strathclyde

Since 2007 public service delivery and reform in Scotland has been aligned with a set of National Outcomes and a single Purpose: “To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.”  Over time, the Scottish Government, working with its partners in the public, third and private sectors, has developed a distinctive approach to public service delivery and reform to deliver the Purpose and National Outcomes set out in Scotland’s National Performance Framework (www.scotland.gov.uk/about/performance/scotperforms).  That approach responds to particular strengths and challenges in Scotland seeking to reduce inequalities and to help ensure the long term sustainability of public finances.  The distinctive Scottish approach is committed to protecting and improving public services through reform and efficiency, and in these tough times, the power of public services to enhance quality of life and improve economic opportunities has never been more important.  To successfully reform our services and ensure they improve outcomes, reduce future demand for services and are financially sustainable, innovative approaches to reform are required to understand the needs and capabilities of communities, and through the implementation of the Government’s reform principles; the four pillars of prevention, performance, people and partnership, a recognition of the importance of place and utilising co-production and assets-based methodology to deliver improvement in practice.


Innovative participatory systems-based methods which can help address the challenges of public service reform exist but have not yet been applied in this context.   In this project, the student will draw on three system-based methods (SBMs): Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA), Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), and System Dynamics (SD).  The aim is to develop concrete accounts of how these SBMs, SODA, SSM and SD, can be used (in isolation or combination) to help service providers and communities to reform their services in a thoughtful and participative manner.  We envisage the student will undertake a small number of  action research case studies, where we will actively seek to deploy the SBMs in question to help service managers and key stakeholders (e.g. community planning partnerships, third sector) discuss and agree system reforms following the principles of the Scottish approach and the 4 pillars of reform.   The development of the case studies will be informed by insights from What Works Scotland which is expected to be launched in June 2014.


The student will be supervised by Professors Alec Morton and Susan Howick and will be expected to interact regularly with the Scottish Government as the sponsor and part-funder of this proposal.


The studentship covers home tuition fees and a stipend of £13,863 pa for 3 years.  Candidates are required to have an excellent Honours (Undergraduate) degree in a relevant business, scientific or social science subject, and a Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred.   An understanding of the Scottish approach to public service delivery and reform would also be desirable.  Interested applicants should send a CV and a short statement of research interest to Professor Alec Morton (alec.morton@strath.ac.uk) by 31st May.  Applicants need to be eligible for UK/EU fees and should also read and confirm that they are eligible for funding according to the ESRC academic and residential criteria, summarised here: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/postgraduates/prospective-students/eligibility/index.aspx.  The selected candidate will also need to be approved by the Scottish Graduate School-Doctoral Training Centre (http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/).

Beyond connecting the dots: a new kind of book on systems thinking and modelling

‘Beyond Connecting the Dots’ is a new kind of book on systems thinking and modelling which provides an exciting experience that goes beyond the printed word. The book contains living models you can interact with right in the book, by unfolding the model story, and in many cases adjusting the model parameters on-the-fly to see the results. ‘Beyond Connecting the Dots’ is written by renowned systems thinkers, Gene Bellinger and Scott Fortmann-Roe and is available here.

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