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CECAN Webinar: How can System Dynamics Support Policy Evaluation?

Online, 9 Sep 2020, 1pm
Jonathan Nichols

Wednesday 9th September 2020, 13:00 – 14:00 BST

Presenter: Jonathan Nichols, Environmental Consultant

Webinar Overview:

System Dynamics is a mature, model-based policy design and evaluation method which has been used to harness the power of complexity on a wide range of policy issues, both in the UK and elsewhere, over the past 60 years. This webinar will introduce the basic concepts and tools which underly the method and will make the case that it presents evaluators with a “ready to go” complexity-appropriate toolkit. The webinar will illustrate the kind of policy insights the method can generate by presenting the results of a CECAN Fellowship project conducted in partnership with the European Master in System Dynamics programme. In this project a System Dynamics simulation model was built to identify risks and opportunities for using natural capital investment initiatives to achieve DEFRA’s 25 Year Environmental Plan ambition of ensuring all soils in England are managed sustainably by 2030. The webinar will conclude with suggestions for how the rich history and vibrant contemporary practice of System Dynamics can be drawn on to support methodological innovation in complexity evaluation and tackle the practical challenges of applying complexity-appropriate methods in policy practice, and thus contribute to the broader CECAN agenda.

Session Objectives:

The webinar aims to address the following key questions:

  1. What is System Dynamics?
  2. How can System Dynamics help tackle some of the challenges of policy evaluation in complex systems?
  3. What insights has CECAN’s research using System Dynamics generated so far?

Presenter Biography:

Jonathan is an environmental consultant with experience in the engineering, water and financial sectors, specialising in natural capital and soil science. As a graduate of the European Master in System Dynamics programme he holds a joint MPhil-MSc in System Dynamics from the University of Bergen (Norway) and the New University of Lisbon (Portugal) and an MSc in Business Administration from Radboud University (Netherlands). In 2019 he completed a CECAN Fellowship and Master’s thesis project which used System Dynamics to explore the potential for public policies focused on natural capital investment to tackle soil degradation. Jonathan’s enthusiasm for systems thinking and simulation modelling also extends to the commercial realm, having run a small business in the Netherlands using System Dynamics to help SMEs design their business growth strategies. He is now based in London, currently between roles, and will soon be joining a leading engineering and management consultancy to support decision makers at the creative frontier of the natural capital approach.

How to Join:

This talk will take place via a Zoom Webinar – please click here to register for a place.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. In case you are unable to attend, a recording of the webinar will be uploaded to our website following the event.


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