System Dynamics


Volume 20 Number 3          September 2007


Qifan Wang

Greetings from Shanghai. It was a pleasure to see so many people at the 50 th anniversary conference in Boston. Following the conference, I, along with several of my colleagues, had a very productive trip to the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. I will talk about this a little bit more in the next newsletter, but first I wanted to address a more pressing topic.

For a long time now there has been discussion about ways in which the Society can reach out to more people around the world. Certainly in China, the annual membership cost for the Society is a barrier to many individuals, and I am sure this is true in many other places around the world. Of course, balanced against this is the necessity to produce our journal and pay our professional staff for the membership services provided.

A committee was formed to look at ways of making membership possible for people with lower income and, during this summer’s meeting of the Policy Council, a motion was approved to implement a new dues structure. The dues structure adopted is tiered. Individuals with a personal income below the equivalent of US$8,000 per year will pay $15/year for Society membership including electronic access to the System Dynamics Review. Those at this income level also wishing to receive a printed copy of the System Dynamics Review will pay $30/year. This pricing is possible due to special concessions made by our publisher, John Wiley & Sons, in order to encourage this outreach.

The income level tiers are detailed in the table below.

Income Level

Print and Electronic SDR

Electronic SDR only

under $ 8,000



$ 8,000 - $20,000



$20,000 - $40,000



$40,000 - $70,000



$70,000 - $100,000



over $100,000



At the highest income level the annual membership fee will increase to $150/year or $140/year for electronic-only access to our journal. This fee, though an increase, reflects the average membership fees charged by the professional organizations in the USA and Europe that we surveyed.

When you renew, please select the appropriate tier. This selection is up to you. We do not require income documentation, nor are you asked to disclose the exact amount of your income. Income used in the determination should be your personal gross (before tax) income converted into US dollars at the prevailing rate of currency exchange. Income is intended as a proxy for ability to pay. If your income does not adequately reflect that, for example because your spouse has a significantly higher income, or your employer is paying for your membership fee, you may choose a different tier.

Of course, even with a lower annual fee, there remain barriers to membership for many people. In China, currency exchange and the mechanism for sending money abroad are difficult to deal with. To help with this, the China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society will be collecting money in the local currency, and sending it to the Society in one large transfer. The situation in every country is different, but I do hope that Chapters or other organizations will be able to do something similar in other countries.

If you have comments on the new dues structure please feel free to send them to the Society office. My special thanks to David Andersen, Deborah Campbell, Jim Lyneis, Agata Sawicka and Roberta Spencer for their work in developing the new dues structure.

Best Regards, Qifan Wang, President 2007


Society Officers and Policy Council Nominations

from Jim Lyneis

The Nominating Committee of the Society is soliciting nominations for the following open officer and Policy Council positions, terms beginning 1 st January 2009:

President Elect (2009, serves as President in 2010)
Secretary (2009 – 2010)
Vice President - Publications (2009 – 2011)
Vice President - Member Services (2009 – 2011)
Vice President - Electronic Presence (2009 – 2011)
Policy Council (2009 – 2011) (4 positions)

If you are interested in any of these positions, or know of someone who might be interested, please contact one of the members of the Nominating Committee (see list). The nominee will then be requested to fill out a brief biographical description, including information that demonstrates he/she 1) is actively committed to the System Dynamics Society and the field of system dynamics, and 2) will make a contribution to the Society and the field through his/her membership on the Policy Council. The Society is interested in achieving a broad and diverse governing body; we need your input to help us accomplish this.

This active solicitation for open positions is one of several changes in the Society’s nominating process that was discussed and approved at the 2007 Summer Policy Council meeting. Other changes include:

The current Nominating Committee consists of the following members (please note that terms run from August to July):

The Nominating Committee presents a slate which consists of one candidate per open position. We have found that this process works very effectively. However, after the slate is announced by the President, according to Society Bylaws and Policies members may submit other nominations for these offices and positions, provided that:

1) each such nomination is accompanied by a petition signed by twenty-five members in good standing or ten percent of the total membership, whichever is less

2) each nominee is a member in good standing

3) written evidence is submitted to the effect that each nominee has agreed to stand for election

4) such nominations reach the Secretary within five weeks after publication of nominations received from the Nominating Committee.

If no nominations are received by the Policy Council from the membership at large, the slate of candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Council will be deemed elected. If the Council has received any nominations from the membership at large, the Society business office will mail to all members a ballot, plus a brief biographical sketch of each nominee, during the second quarter of the fiscal year. To be counted, ballots must reach the Society business office on or before June 30 th. The Secretary will arrange to count the ballots after the close of the elections. A plurality is sufficient to elect.

Erasmus Curriculum Development Grant for a European Master in System Dynamics

from Jac Vennix

A consortium consisting of Nijmegen School of Management - Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, Department of Geography - University of Bergen, Department of Management - University of Palermo and Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies has succeeded in securing an Erasmus Curriculum Development Grant to develop a European Master in System Dynamics. This project aims at combining the strengths of each of the partners involved and enables the institutions to create a European Centre of Excellence in System Dynamics. The total amount of funding awarded amounts to about €300,000 for a three-year project. The project starts in October with a two year development phase, followed by the actual implementation of the program in September 2009.


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