Job Opportunity
Information on System Dynamics related opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Organization Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC:
Contact person

Brian Beckage, Ph.D. ([email protected])
Department of Plant Biology
Department of Computer Science

Position Title Postdoctoral Fellowship


We recently had a working group (‘Pursuit') funded by the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC:, a NSF-funded synthesis center. As part of our award, SESYNC has agreed to consider a separate proposal for a postdoctoral fellow who would collaborate with our team. Specifically, the postdoctoral candidate and collaborating mentor (myself perhaps with another member of our working group) must submit a proposal following SESYNC’s regular criteria for postdoctoral fellowships. We are thus looking for a prospective candidate to collaborate with on developing a proposal for this postdoctoral position: This proposal must be related to our project but include additional research components developed by the postdoc. From our award letter: “The proposal would be peer reviewed and if the review is favorable, the candidate would be interviewed by SESYNC to determine suitability for a fellowship. If the results of this process are all positive, the postdoc would be a SESYNC Postdoctoral Fellow in residence, participate fully in SESYNC’s Immersion Program, and be subject to all the usual requirements and benefits."

We are looking for a graduating or recently (broadly defined) graduated Ph.D. student who would be interested in collaborating on our project.  A project summary is below.  This position would involve extensive system dynamics modeling using Vensim or Stella.  Experience in system dynamics modeling is not required, although a background in some form of computational/mathematical modeling is needed. In addition, the person should have expertise in either environmental science, climate science, psychology, economics, governance, social science or some other related field.

If funded, we expect the position would last for 2 years and, ideally, would begin in August but there is some flexibility with the start date.

Position Description

Earth system models lack dynamic representations of human emissions behavior but instead rely on static projections of future emissions. This approach ignores feedbacks between the social and climate systems: The impacts of climate change are likely to alter human perceptions of climate change and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission behaviors that, in turn, influence the magnitude of climate change. Our past Pursuit made progress with the integration of climate and human behavioral models. Our coupled climate-social model (CSM) implemented a single behavioral model and focused specifically on how the physical impacts of climate change (extreme events) would alter human risk-perceptions and subsequent GHG emissions behavior. We propose three new activities to build on this progress. 1. We will incorporate a set of alternative models of human behavior with a climate model to examine the robustness of our initial CSM results. 2. We will broaden the feedbacks between the human and climate systems by including economic impacts in addition to physical impacts of extreme events. 3. We will integrate our CSM model with a system dynamics representation of an Earth system model that includes a wider set of state variables/processes including energy, water, agriculture, and demographic change in addition to GHG emissions and temperature change. These proposed activities will examine the robustness of previous results to choice of human behavioral model, will strengthen the links between climate and human systems, and will expand our examination of the impacts that can emerge from these linkages.


Appointments will be through the University of Maryland, and fellowship awardees must be based full-time at SESYNC’s facilities in Annapolis unless a prior arrangement has been approved. The fellowship provides an annual stipend, full University of Maryland employee benefits, and a small annual travel allowance to attend meetings or to meet with collaborators. Postdoctoral fellowships are awarded for a maximum of two years and include structured mentoring programs through and beyond the Immersion Program, as well as opportunities to participate in ongoing Center activities. SESYNC Collaborating Mentors will also receive support to travel to SESYNC to work with the Fellow.

More Information

More information on the SESYNC postdoctoral fellows program can be found here:

 Edited by BB 05-29-19