System Dynamics


Volume 18 – Number 1       March 2005










Notes from the Policy Council



Dana Meadows Award



Membership Renewals


Conference in Boston



Bibliography Update



Request for News


New Listserve Addresses






Contact Us



FROM THE PRESIDENT     Graham W. Winch

Greetings! It is my privilege and also a great pleasure to be writing to all Society members for the first time in my capacity as President. Bob Eberlein has done a great job for the Society during 2004, expertly handling a number of critical issues, and we all owe him a real debt of gratitude; I can only hope that I can be as effective as he with the issues that will arise during my tenure.

Of course, just as Bob steps down and I take over, there have been other changes in the leadership of the Society. Andreas Größler, Taehoon Moon, Kevin O’Neill and Qingrui Xu step down as Policy Council (PC) members and Pål Davidsen’s term as Past President has ended. Our thanks go to them. We welcome Henk Akkermans, Scott Johnson, Brad Morrison and Jim Thompson as new Policy Council members and Michael Radzicki as President Elect. We look forward to their contributions over their three-year cycle of service.

The recent Policy Council Winter Meeting, reported elsewhere in this Newsletter, was well attended despite the problems of travelling at this time of year and the threat of yet more snow. We were fortunate enough to hear predominantly good news from the officers’ reports and other matters raised. The Society had a very successful year financially:  our membership continues to grow, sales of the beer game are spiralling (a good sign of engagement with system dynamics as well as the positive revenue stream), the Oxford Conference seems to have over-performed on just about all measures, excellent conferences seem in the making for 2005 in Boston and 2006 in Nijmegen, and the Dana Meadows Student Award fund has already all but reached its target. These are all achievements of which those involved can be justifiably proud.

A major landmark in 2004 was the implementation of the new arrangement with John Wiley & Sons over the System Dynamics Review. The continued success of the Review compared with other academic/professional titles has enabled us to reach a new agreement that will significantly increase the monies the Society receives from its flagship publication.

The main issue facing the President this year will be the renegotiation of the contract with the University at Albany for providing the central office. The old contract has simply run its course, and we do not foresee any major issues emerging at this time. We do have an excellent relationship with the University, the contract has worked well for us, and we hope therefore that the new contract will be as similar as possible to the old one.

There is the likelihood of a significant improvement in both the space and the quality of the Albany central office during building refurbishments scheduled for this spring. The Policy Council approved the modest contribution the Society will make to the refurbishment costs. This should enable the office to work more efficiently as the scope of its activities expand on taking over membership management, handling increased beer game and other product sales, and so on. It will also be a long overdue boost to the general working environment of our central office staff.

Other innovations we look forward to in the near future include the possibility that Wiley will take on the task of digitising the earlier issues of the Review so that all issues will be accessible electronically.

The three presidents in post – the Immediate Past President, the President, and President Elect, along with Roberta, met for a long but fruitful discussion on what we see as the key longer term issues for the Society and field, and how to maintain momentum and continuity. We hope that this will be a continuing activity.

We decided that important issues are the scope and role of each Vice President as the Society has grown in membership and complexity of activities, and the notion of inviting Policy Council members to work with Vice Presidents, both to spread the load and also to introduce new members to the tasks undertaken. We also envisage a new role for the President Elect in following up action items from Policy Council meetings to ensure that agreed initiatives are implemented as fully and quickly as possible.

I do not expect 2005 will be quite as exciting for me as 2004 was for Bob, but I do still look forward to further changes to improve the services the Society provides for its members, and that continue to support the expansion of high quality research, teaching and best practice applications in the field. I look forward to working with everyone to achieve these ideals.Back to Table of Contents

Policy Council Notes

The System Dynamics Society is governed by a Policy Council which meets twice a year, during the conference and again in the winter. A meeting of the Policy Council was held on January 31st, at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Discussion at the meeting including the following items:

A slate of officers was nominated to take office in 2006 – see “Policy Council Nominations” elsewhere in the newsletter.

As most of you probably know, we will have a conference in July in Boston, Massachusetts, and the 2006 conference will be held in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Even though a site for 2007 has not yet been selected, the consensus at the meeting was that the theme for the 2007 conference should be the 50th anniversary of the field. In keeping with our traditional rotation, the 2007 conference should be held in North America and I hope that we will pick the site during the conference this summer.

Reports about the System Dynamics Review discussed the possibility of a 50th anniversary double issue and noted that online access of Review articles is significantly increasing.

Budgets were also discussed. The 2004 conference in Oxford was a great success and had a positive effect on the Society’s profit. Additionally, product sales were higher than anticipated. Core operations are subsidized by these other income sources. The influx of Dana Meadows Best Student Prize award endowment monies has been invested to fund the award in perpetuity.

The level of interest and activity in Chapters and Special Interest Groups remains very healthy. We have received formal proposals for a new Special Interest Group and a new Chapter. An electronic vote of the Policy Council will be held on these in the very near future. We also have members interested in forming three more new SIG’s. The Economic Dynamics Chapter reported that they have a new website:

For a list of all Chapters and SIG’s, please visit the Society website and click on “Society Activities.”

The Policy Council endorsed the idea of a Business Applications Award for applications of system dynamics. The award may initially be biannual, with the intention of awarding it at the 2007 conference and thereafter.

All the reports given, and more detailed notes on the discussion at this meeting and previous meetings, are available on the Society website. Just click on “Governance.”                                                                                    Back to Table of Contents

Policy Council Nominations for 2006

During the January 31st meeting of the Policy Council the following people were nominated as officers and members of the Policy Council, to take office in 2006.

President Elect (2006):  Qifan Wang (China)

VP Publications (2006 – 2008)Deborah Andersen (USA)

Policy Council Members (2006-2008)Gloria Pérez (Mexico), Santanu Roy (India), Ali Kerem Saysel (Turkey), and Krys Stave (USA)

As we have traditionally done, rather than holding elections, these nominations are made uncontested. However, 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;

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; and

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 recognized and accepted by the Council, will be deemed elected. For more information on Nominations and Elections, please see the Policies of the System Dynamics Society under “Governance.”

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2005 Conference
Boston, Massachusetts

The Society is already working attentively towards the upcoming conference in Boston. The conference promises yet again to break participation records and to have a very full programme of high quality contributions. As always, there will also be a PhD colloquium and other associated events. Please note that the conference and related deadlines are a little earlier than last year. A fantastic variety of papers are already streaming in for what promises to be a great meeting! Some quick reminders:

·         March 18th is the deadline for paper submissions and workshop and session proposals.

·         June 17th is the deadline for both early conference registration and hotel room reservation. Please register early. Space is limited. Conference registration and hotel reservation forms can be found on the conference website.

·         A limited number of partial scholarships for accepted authors are available this year. To apply, please use the conference paper submission system to send a personal statement (250 words) describing scholarship need.

·         CD-Proceedings this year will again be distributed by mail after the conference. This will allow insightful comments obtained at the conference to be incorporated into the final version of the paper for publication on the CD.

·         To submit your paper for review, use the improved web-based submission system.

Please visit the conference website for updated details                                                                       Back to Table of Contents

New System Dynamics Listserve Address

The sign-up address and posting address for the system dynamics listserve have changed. To join the listserve, send an e-mail message to [email protected] containing the following text in the body (the subject line is ignored):  “subscribe sdmail your full name” Please do not include your email address - the address contained in the “From:” or “Reply-to:” heading will be used. This will put you on the mailing list.

The purpose of the list is to promote discussion around issues in building and using system dynamics models. Examples of topics that are of interest include:

·         Issues in conceptualization of a problem into a feedback structure including identification of reference modes and the creation of dynamics hypotheses.

·         Ideas and questions about how to formulate a particular type of structure (hiring policy, price adjustment, fertility determination and so on).

·         Interesting models you have built and the results.

·         Questions to others about examples of models for certain types of problems.

·         Validation of system dynamics models.

·         Implementation issues.

·         And other topics directly related to the development and use of system dynamics models.

To post a message to the list simply send an e-mail message to [email protected]. The message will automatically be sent to everyone subscribing to the list. Please be sure to include a subject line, as this will make it easier for readers to search for messages that are of special interest to them.

You can remove yourself from the listserve by sending the message:  “signoff sdmail” to [email protected]

The messages posted to the list are archived in a mail log that most mail programs can read. This is available at

Dana Meadows Award

The endowment fund is within $2,600 of the $60,000 goal! We expect to be able to announce that we have reached our goal during the award presentation at the Boston conference. To date fifty-four individuals have contributed. Additionally we have had two organizations donate:  the UK-based Operational Research Society and the Sustainability Institute. Special thanks to Allen and Jane Boorstein who generously helped establish the award in 2001.

To learn more about the award, find out how to contribute, and see the list of donors, please visit the website:

For a list of previous winners please click on the “Awards” button on the Society website.                   Back to Table of Contents

Bibliography Update

The System Dynamics Bibliography is updated every six months. Please send your new references to the Society office. Also, we are asking your help in improving the accuracy and usefulness of the Bibliography. Please check your entries for correctness; send any edits (including deletions of entries that have been superseded) to the Society office.


Membership Renewals

If you have not yet renewed, please do so now to ensure uninterrupted member services! As you know, the Society central office is now managing all membership issues.

It’s simple to renew. Please visit the Society website and click on the button “How to Join or Renew.” There are downloadable membership forms. Or, just call!

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The Systems Science European Union (U.E.S) proudly announces the 6th Systems Science European Congress in Paris, France, September 19 - 22, 2005. The congress will take place at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM). Its chairman will be the Afscet (French Systems Science Society) President, Pr Emmanuel Nunez. The congress aims at bringing together European Systems Science practitioners and theoreticians, and wishes to improve both Systems Science approaches and practice. Papers must be submitted before May 1, 2005. For more information contact Michel Karsky at [email protected]

The China Chapter of the Society will be holding a multi-conference on Applications of System Dynamics and the Disciplines of Management, November 4 - 6, 2005, Tongji University, Shanghai, China. The conference theme is “The Sustainable Development of Asia Pacific.” Papers will be accepted from April 12 - July 22, 2005. For more information please visit

The National Symposium on System Dynamics was held on August 20 - 22, 2004. It was sponsored by the China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society and University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST) and supported by Shanghai Jiaotong University and Tongji University. More than 60 experts, scholars, formal representatives and 30 informal representatives attended the Symposium.                                                                                          Back to Table of Contents

Request for News

This year we will once again publish four issues of the System Dynamics Newsletter. In the next issue, we will include “News and Notes” (about new books by members, promotions, awards, completed degrees, new products, notable projects, etc.), and “News from our Sponsors.”

Please send us your news!

Additionally, if you would like to contribute an article of interest to our community, please send your suggestion to the Society office.

All past newsletters, back to 1988, are available on the Publications page of the Society website.

Publication and Contact Information

The System Dynamics Newsletter is published four times a year by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Graham W. Winch, Roberta L. Spencer, Robin S. Langer, and Jennifer I. Rowe

How to Contact Us

System Dynamics Society

Milne 300, Rockefeller College
University at Albany
Albany, New York 12222 USA
Phone:  +1 518 442 3865
Fax:  +1 518 442 3398
Email:  [email protected]

The End

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