A Research Program for Global Systems Science

The first open global systems science conference last November in Brussels made it quite clear that we have key elements for a research program for global systems science in our hands.

Since then, a whole range of conversations around this topic has developed, in workshops, informal exchanges and on-going research. Some of us have been busy developing proposals for research projects in a GSS perspective, and more will do so in the years to come. Now it’s time to develop an orientation paper that begins to delineate our research program, a paper that shall help orienting both the activities of researchers and those of funding agencies. Here you find a seed, aka version 01, for this orientation paper, as pdf and rtf.

Input for version 02 is warmly welcome!


One thought on “A Research Program for Global Systems Science”

  1. First of all, halfway my comment the system went down and I had to restart again – maybe there is an instability?

    I like the text and think it is an excellent starting point for the report we have to prepare. It is well-structured and well-written, and on the one hand gives space for others to contribute, while on the other it limits the scope of the project.

    I will write a more extensive set of text vignettes later, in the next couple of weeks, but would like to highlight a few comments.

    The introduction is good, but could use one or two examples of how ICT impacts the modern world. Among the questions that follow it, I think one could add one about how ICT may contribute to our understanding of the complex dynamics that drive the modern world, and may provide early warning signs of potential instabilities in the global system. This could ultimately allow us to avoid certain crises. BTW: I don’t think Europe can contribute much to the shift from a western to a global knowledge base – that is happening (and should happen) in other countries (e.g. China, India, Africa etc.)

    It is not up to me to comment much on the Global Financial domain, except that I remember a lecture that pointed out how the financial crisis was in part caused by the fact that too few people at the core had too much leverage, and also showed a degree of herd behavior. Rules that promote diversity in roles, behaviors and degrees of leverage might therefore be added.

    On the other hand, I propose that we rebaptise the next topic: Climate policy and impact. Much of the policy has to do with adaptation alongside mitigation, and we should include this, even though adaptation necessarily changes the scale at which we look at the challenges, from global to regional or even local. This multiscalarity should be made explicit in the methodological section.

    Throughout the document we should not only emphasize the co-creation of knowledge between scientists, politicians and decision-makers, and stakeholders, but also emphasize that this effort is explicitly use-driven – working towards gathering the information and ideas needed for meeting challenges.

    On globalization and urbanization, the case could be made even stronger, among other things by adding some specific questions, like you have done for the other topics, but also by going more into detail about the role of urban systems in controlling our current world, and of ICT in controlling our urban systems.

    More later

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