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System Dynamics and its Role in Contemporary Policy Analysis

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Wednesday 17 November 2010, 13:00
LT12, Management School

Professor Brian Dangerfield
Salford Business School

Abstract: This presentation is in two parts, both of which are intended to convey the nature of system dynamics (SD) models as a means to further the quality of policy analysis in two quite different domains. The first describes a research project undertaken for the government of the State of Sarawak in E. Malaysia. An SD model was constructed to inform the State’s future economic and social planning to 2020. Their ambition was a transformation of the State from a production (resource) based economy (pbe) to a knowledge-based one (kbe) in line with Vision 2020 for Malaysia as a whole. Positive engagement with State government officials at the highest levels was a feature of the successful completion of the work.

The second part covers ongoing work in public health and is concerned with a current dominant topic: obesity. There is a need for research to provide public health agencies with advice as to the most effective means of securing behavioural change. However, we find that in the UK certain specific methodologies dominate to the exclusion of a more pluralistic approach evident in public health work in the USA. The work reported here is in its early stages but nonetheless it is possible to portray the structure of a model of the energy intake and expenditure of a population of children aged 2-15 years. The approach to modelling behavioural change is derived from Ajzen’s ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’ which is attracting interest in the SD community. The role of social marketing in effecting behavioural change is also considered.

Biography: Brian is Professor of Systems Modelling in Salford Business School, University of Salford, UK. He was educated in the UK and holds a bachelor's degree in Economics, Statistics & Operational Research from Swansea University, a post-graduate diploma in Industrial Administration from Bradford University and a PhD from Salford University.

Following a short spell in industrial Operational Research, Brian joined the University of Liverpool, UK before moving to the University of Salford. He was promoted to a Chair in 2000.
Brian was awarded the UK Operational Research Society's President's Medal in 1991
and their Goodeve Medal in 2005. Since 2002 he has been Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review. His work using system dynamics has included models applied to the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS and to economies of scale and capacity management in the steel industry. In 2005 he completed a major SD-based economic modelling project for the government of the State of Sarawak in East Malaysia. Following that he was engaged in a research council funded project analyzing competitiveness in the UK construction industry. His current interests include SD projects in health care, particularly childhood obesity.

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