The following includes recent news and news archive relevant to the System Dynamics Community. 

Society member Karl Rich is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to use participatory system dynamics modeling to identify prospective “win-win” solutions to benefit producers and consumers in Bihar, Ghana, and Bangladeesh (June 19)

MINI is a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and co-implemented by the University of London-SOAS and ILRI. The project seeks to analyse market and technical interventions in vegetable and poultry value chains in Bihar, Bangladesh, and Ghana. The work highlights ways of making value chains more nutritionally sensitive based on a case study of an aggregation system, dubbed ‘LOOP’, developed by the non-governmental organization Digital Green. Through the aggregation of supply on-farm, the LOOP intervention reduces market transport costs and allows farmers to reinvest the time and money into on-farm and non-farm activities.

In Memoriam; Bob May

From John Sterman:
"Sad to report the passing of Bob May, who made fundamental contributions to dynamic modeling, with applications to ecology, epidemiology, finance, and many other domains. Besides his amazing scientific career, he was also engaged in policy as chief science advisor to several British PMs.

He had a keen eye for what made for a great dynamic model. I highly recommend his 2004 paper, “Uses and abuses of mathematics in biology,” appended here.

My favorite passage from that paper reinforces system dynamics principles concerning the importance of balancing an appropriately broad model boundary, the level of detail, and the empirical foundations for critical parameters and assumptions:

"Perhaps most common among abuses, and not always easy to recognize, are situations where mathematical models are constructed with an  excruciating abundance of detail in some aspects, whilst other important facets of the problem are misty or a vital parameter is uncertain to within, at best, an order of magnitude. It makes no sense to convey a beguiling sense of “reality” with irrelevant detail, when other equally important factors can only be guessed at."

Robert May, an Uncontainable ‘Big Picture’ Scientist, Dies at 84

Society Member Hazhir Rahmandad promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure (13 May 2020)

From John Sterman:
"I am delighted to share the news that Hazhir Rahmandad has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in the System Dynamics Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Hazhir received his doctorate in system dynamics here at MIT Sloan, then joined the faculty at Virginia Tech. He earned tenure at VT, but then, in a courageous move, returned to MIT Sloan in an untenured position. So he is one of very few to have earned tenure twice!

Hazhir’s research spans organizational dynamics, corporate strategy, public health, epidemiology, simulation methodology, and many other domains. What unites them all is his creativity, rigor, and dedication to the highest standards in everything he does. Hazhir is also a recipient of the Jay W. Forrester Award for the best published work in the field of system dynamics over the prior five years (in 2015).

Please join me in congratulating Hazhir on this well-deserved honor!"

The Society joins in a call for transparency of COVID-19 simulation models

The System Dynamics Society is proud to join CoMSES and 29 other organizations in a call for transparency of COVID-19 simulation models that was released in ScienceMagazine by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"We strongly urge all scientists modeling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its consequences for health and society to rapidly and openly publish their code (along with specifying the type of data required, model parameterizations, and any available documentation) so that it is accessible to all scientists around the world. We offer sincere thanks to the many teams that are already sharing their models openly. Proprietary black boxes and code withheld for competitive motivations have no place in the global crisis we face today. As soon as possible, please place your code in a trusted digital repository so that it is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable."

COVID-19 favelas initiative, powered by isee Systems, is on the front page of the third biggest media outlet in Brazil,

Members Igor Czermainski De Oliveira and Vinícius Picanço have created a simulation (powered by isee systems) which recommends the adoption of a series of measures against COVID-19 in favelas. These include halving the population density of communities, creating emergency sanitation structures, and offering hygiene products. These measures could reduce the pressure on the health system and save up to 26,000 in São Paulo and up to 15,000 in Rio.

Read the article here.

Leading health policy journal publishes paper by ReThink Health’s Bobby Milstein & Jack Homer (February 21)

The Milbank Quarterly (a leading health policy journal) has published a paper by ReThink Health’s Bobby Milstein and Society Policy Council Member and Sponsor Jack Homer: “Which priorities for health and well-being stand out after accounting for tangled threats and costs? Simulating intervention portfolios in large urban counties.”  This paper reaches some unexpected conclusions based on simulating 12 potential interventions to improve social determinants of health across 39 US counties over a 20-year period.  Available in Early View at

3rd Annual System Dynamics Competition by the South Africa System Dynamics Chapter (February 16)

The South Africa System Dynamics Chapter (SASDC) aims to encourage system dynamics skills development, learning, and international collaboration so that complex global issues can be better understood and managed through suitable strategic plans. The SASDC is running the 3rd Annual System Dynamics Competition, now open to the global system dynamics fraternity on the 30th March 2020!!! What’s more is that this Challenge is FREE to enter, with fantastic sponsored prizes by isee systems and the South Africa System Dynamics Chapter!

If you are new to the field, this is a great opportunity to use and further develop your valuable system dynamics skillset! If you are already a well-seasoned system dynamics modeler, you can still showcase your skills by tackling, what will be a real world challenge. As system dynamicists we look forward to listening and learning from the insights gained through tackling this challenge head on, thus enriching future growth and stimulation in the field of system dynamics.

The top rated submissions, will be presenting their work to the country’s system dynamics network at the 8th South African System Dynamics Conference on the 18th November 2020, where the winner will be announced.


Updated Conflict, Defense and Security Special Interest Group website goes live

From Sander Zeijlemaker:
"I am proud to announce as the president of the Conflict, Defense and Security Special Interest Group that as of today our website is live. Thanks to Anne Johnson  and Asmeret Bier Naugle  for helping me build this website. Our website contains an Airtable repository. I hope that it stimulates knowledge sharing within academics and practitioners in the field of system dynamics."

System Dynamics Review EARLY VIEW - "Do you bend or break? System dynamics in resilience planning for food security"

Click here for early access

"This paper discusses our experience in using system dynamics to facilitate resilience planning for food security in rural communities that are exposed to ever‐increasing climatic pressures in Guatemala. The social–ecological systems literature is rich in examples where policies to enhance resilience are deduced from factors generally accepted to be present in resilient systems (e.g. redundancy, connectivity and polycentrism). This deductive approach risks being overly simplistic. As an alternative, this paper explores how insights from analysing the structure–behaviour relationship of complex dynamic systems can be used to generate tailored policies. The results show that stability in food systems is mainly driven by key strategic resources that moderate the effects of environmental changes on food availability and affordability. Moreover, our experience highlights the importance of analysing mechanisms that determine a system's behaviour while and after the system is affected by a disturbance to formulate effective resilience policies."

The authors are Hugo Jose and Society President, Birgit Kopainsky.

CALL FOR PAPERS - Special Issue of System Dynamics Review - Bio-Medical Modeling

Guest Editors: Jim Duggan (National University of Ireland Galway), Niyousha Hosseinichimeh (Virginia Tech), Özge Karanfil (Koç University)

The application of system dynamics to health and medical issues has increased substantially over the past decades. Recent advances in computing powers, calibration methods, and data availability made it possible to develop disaggregated models in addition to aggregate models, and it has created new opportunities for modelers to tackle complex and pressing medical issues.

For this special issue, we seek articles that focus on bio-medical modeling. This encompasses a wide range of applications such as modeling physiological problems (e.g., human energy regulation, HPA axis dynamics), chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, cancer, kidney and, cardiovascular diseases) and infectious diseases (e.g., Polio, HIV). Application areas may vary from modeling of immunodynamics, pharmacokinetics, antimicrobial resistance, addiction physiology, weight dynamics, body fluid electrolytes, food borne pathogens, and chronic disease progression, to pain management, sleep disorders or stress response. We are receptive to both aggregate population-level and individual-level modeling (agent-based modeling).

Inquiries about proposed papers are welcome; the guest editors will provide feedback on proposals. A 2-stage procedure will be followed: Initially authors are requested to submit by email an extended abstract (3 pages maximum). These will be reviewed by the editors and selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper, which will go through standard double-blind peer review. Papers should follow the journal’s reporting guidelines for main articles and other categories of contribution. Inquiries and extended abstracts should be directed to the editors for the special issue, Jim Duggan ([email protected]), Niyousha Hosseinichimeh ([email protected]), Özge Karanfil ([email protected]). Final papers should be transmitted via
the online submission system. 

Timetable: Extended abstracts due February 16th 2020,
Full Paper deadline: May 31st 2020.

National Academy of Engineering Memorial Tributes publishes memorial piece celebrating Jay Forrester

A short memorial piece celebrating Jay Forrester's contribution to the world of engineering has just been published in the (U.S.) National Academy of Engineering Memorial Tributes. It can be found here:

A link to this article will have a permanent home on the Society website on the Jay W. Forrester page.

The piece records that Jay was elected to the Academy in in 1967 for “Design and development of magnetic core memory devices.”The piece covers the whole of Jay's career, including System Dynamics. The full reference is:
Lane, D. C. & Sterman, J. D. (2019). Jay Wright Forrester. National Academy of Engineering Memorial Tributes, 22, 114-120.

For analysis of Jay’s SAGE air defence system work see:
Lane, D. C. (2010). High Leverage Interventions: Three cases of defensive action and their lessons for OR/MS today. Operations Research, 58, 1535–1547.

For a more extensive account of Jay’s life and a particular emphasis on the emergence of System Dynamics, SDS members can easily access a System Dynamics Review article:
Lane, D. C. (2007). The Power of the Bond Between Cause and Effect: Jay Wright Forrester and the field of system dynamics. System Dynamics Review, 23, 95-118.

Special theme in System Dynamics at the European Transport Conference: October 9 – 11th 2020, Milan, Italy (January 9)

Simulation models are well established in transport-related research, with system dynamics (SD) being increasingly utilised. Transport systems and policies are complex, involving multiple agents or stakeholders, and there are many different feedbacks involved with different time lags between responses of users, developers, operators and policy makers. SD not only offers a different perspective to transport planning but also can demonstrate to policy makers the importance of these feedbacks and lagged responses. Further to this, SD also offers specialised tools and approaches for hybridisation with other simulation techniques, which aid in the understanding of the whole underlying system, calibration of models, optimisation of policies and ease of use through flight simulators. 

Abstracts are now invited which demonstrate the success of system dynamics in transport related research. Innovative approaches and cross-fertilisation with alternative forms of modelling/impact assessment tools, or new and emerging forms of data are encouraged. Topics can cover any aspect of transportation, such as:

  • Freight and logistics,
  • Development of new technologies or business models,
  • Smart transportation systems,
  • Reduction of transport's carbon footprint,
  • Transport and urban planning policies,
  • Performance measurement in transport operations,
  • Stakeholder engagement in transportation governance,
  • Transport and health,
  • Sustainable and equitable policy analysis.

Important notice:
If you submit an abstract, this will go through a selection process. Each year we receive more abstracts than can be accommodated in the programme. If your abstract is selected, please be aware that others have been rejected, that the ETC organisation has invested time in devising an attractive and coherent programme and that delegates have used this programme to decide to come to the conference.

Before submitting your abstract, please make sure there is time and funding to have at least one of the authors come to the conference to present the paper and that you have/will obtain the approval needed (from management or client) to present the work in public at the time of the conference.

We do understand that sometimes circumstances change, forcing authors to withdraw. You would help us by informing us as soon as possible, preferable ample time before the conference. Last minute withdrawals or no-shows negatively affect the conference experience of your fellow transport professionals. If you need any assistance, please contact Sally Scarlett: [email protected]

3rd Annual Workshop on System Dynamics in Transportation Modelling will take place in Palermo (Italy) on April 16th – 17th 2020 (December 20)

Following from our two previous successful events, this free workshop will consist of a mix of presentations, practical sessions and network / sharing / collaboration building opportunities as well as the SDS T-SIG Annual Meeting. Participants do not need to be a SDS T-SIG member to present or
attend. The intention of the workshop is to showcase the range of research and practise being carried out in transport studies and planning using system dynamics (SD) as a modelling method. Click here for the Call for Papers.

Abstract submission deadline (250-300 words): February 7th 2020
Confirmation of acceptance by: February 14th 2020
Speaker registration deadline: March 1st 2020
General registration deadline: March 31st 2020

For further information, or to submit abstracts please contact: [email protected]


The Sax Institute now hiring for Director, Decision Analytics (December 18)

The Sax Institute is a leading Australian expert body in helping decision makers find and make best use of research to solve real-world health and social problems.

The Director, Decision Analytics reports to the Head, Evidence for Action Division. The Director works closely with government and non-government organisations to scope their requirements and to provide advice on dynamic simulation modelling that will support their work. S/he will be the lead in developing and implementing the strategy of the Program of the Sax. S/he will coordinate teams both within and external to the Sax Institute bringing together relevant expertise in dynamic simulation modelling and policy and program knowledge.

Description and application instructions are here.

Call for Papers - Special Issue of Mind & Society on Advanced Modelling of Organizational Behaviour (December 18)

Over the last decades, psychological research has often highlighted that the theory of “rational” decision-making eventually prescribes choices from which humans systematically deviate. Remarkably, several Nobel laureates including Herbert Simon (1978), Daniel Kahneman (2002) and Richard Thaler (2017) have been prized for developing more realistic theories of human behavior and interaction.

In line with these theoretical developments, novel modelling methods have been proposed that allow more realistic descriptions of actual organizational behaviour. In particular, computational methods and statistical techniques allow nowadays to capture dynamics of latent psychological constructs and reproduce the emergence of novel organizational features. Ideally, these methods strive for recreating the complexity of macroscopic organizational structures without losing sight of individual human behavior.

The present call for special issue aims to collect a series of contributions (including original research articles, reports, or reviews) where such methods are employed in order to capture organizational dynamics. Potential methods to be applied to organizational studies include, but are not limited, to the following list: Agent-based modeling, Latent Class Growth Analysis, Hidden Markov chains, Pattern analysis, Nonlinear dynamical processes, Network analysis, Nonlinear regression, Growth curve modeling, Recurrence quantification analysis.

Submission Deadline - 01/04/2020

Climate Interactive is hiring! (December 17)

System Dynamics Modeler - full description here

Position summary: Climate Interactive (CI) seeks to hire a modeler with climate and/or energy system modeling experience. CI is currently engaged in modeling climate policy and related topics including the energy system, climate smart agriculture, and urban impacts.

Climate Interactive ( creates and uses system dynamics computer simulations to help decision-makers see what works to address complex social and environmental issues such as mitigating climate change, accelerating the transition to clean energy, and building climate resilience.

The Senior Modeler is responsible for developing and testing system dynamics computer simulations of climate and energy policy issues, carrying out analyses, and engaging clients and stakeholders in model simulations. Additional responsibilities include writing and editing media for CI.

System dynamics post-doc position at the intersection of qualitative research and system dynamics at University College London (December 12)

This is the link to the application area

This is the link to the more detailed job description 

Society Member JD Caddell, of the U.S. Military Academy, is featured in an article highlighting his research, "Using system dynamics to set strategic priorities to address human trafficking." (December 12)

"Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work to reduce human trafficking but often fail to understand the context and environment before taking action, resulting in ineffective and sometimes detrimental policies. JD Caddell, U.S. Military Academy, studied how girls were lured and trafficked by reframing the situation as a supply chain and looking at both supply and demand.

"Caddell's study, 'Using system dynamics to set strategic priorities to address human trafficking,' revealed that NGO's actions aimed solely at removing girls from the system yields few long-term benefits and creates more victims in the long run while raid and rescue operations only yields short-term gains."

Registrations for the 3rd Asia Pacific System Dynamics Conference are now open (December 12)

The conference will run from the 2nd to 4th of February 2020. The 2nd of February will feature two pre-conference workshops: Pre-conference workshops are limited to 20 places per workshop. The 3rd and 4th of February will feature over 70 paper and poster presentations, plus five workshop sessions.

To register, please visit the registrations page on the conference website:

Registrations close on the 31st of December 2019.

Society member Dr. Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung featured in article in The Korea Times (December 10)

Dr. Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung is featured in an article in The Korea Times where he discusses climate change.

'"Climate change is connected to politics, business, societal conflicts and inter-generational conflicts. It is the result of the most complex system and it is very hard to understand."

The games demonstrate difficulties in making decisions and communication among members of society.

"The games have two lessons: "One should not blame others, rather examine the structure that makes inevitable behavior. Another is (to realize) that today's problem comes from yesterday's solution," Chung said.'

Society member Bill Grace presents ‘Engineering the Transition to Sustainability’ at the World Engineers Convention (December 4)

Society member Bill Grace presented his paper entitled ‘Engineering the Transition to Sustainability’ at the recently held World Engineers Convention (WEC) in Melbourne, Australia. WEC is a four yearly event hosted by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations which operates under the auspices of UNESCO and brings together national engineering institutions from some 100 nations and represents more than 30 million engineers.

Bill’s paper uses system dynamics simulations and causal loop diagrams to critique the UN Sustainable Development Goals and explore the concept and limitations of the circular economy. The paper also explores the role of engineers in creating the climate and biodiversity crisis, and the criticality of their role in meeting the contemporary challenges.

The paper has been published in the Australian Journal of Multi-disciplinary Engineering and is available here. 

"A System Dynamics Glossary" is available for review and suggestion on the SDS website (December 3)

The Glossary has been posted to the System Dynamics Society website. Compiled by David Ford and published in System Dynamics Review, the Glossary is provided free for all to use if proper citation is given. The glossary can be downloaded HERE.

Suggestions for consideration in future revisions to the glossary can be provided by clicking HERE.

Center for the Ecological Civilization (CEC) at Peking University looking for two post-doc positions (December 2)

CEC will focus on issues that will help China accelerate its planned transition to sustainability in 2050 – or in Chinese language: The transition to the ecological civilization. Work will be done via problem-oriented, cross-disciplinary work with a dynamic perspective – ideally relying on system dynamics thinking and analyses.

Four initial projects are under consideration:

  1. Green transition strategy for China to 2050 – mapping consistent paths
  2. Tracking the human impact on the natural world – mapping the ecological footprint
  3. Financing the green transition – using wise central bank policy
  4. Replacing equilibrium with dynamic thinking in national planning – a new growth model.

To understand more about these projects, they will build on: 1) Earth3, 2) ESCIMO, 3) modern monetary theory, and 4) MODCAP.

Contact Jørgen Randers at [email protected] if interested.

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