Well-Received Systems Science Summer Institute Back In-Person for its Third Year | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Well-Received Systems Science Summer Institute Back In-Person for its Third Year

Faculty; Research; Public Health; Policy

Applications are now open for all tracks in the upcoming 3rd annual Systems Science for Social Impact Summer Training Institute, held in person from July 25-29. In this five-day training, participants will get a hands-on introduction to systems science methods focusing on five main tracks: Agent-based Modeling, Group Model Building, Social Network Analysis, System Dynamics, and new for this year, Systems Thinking.

"We're excited about the new Systems Thinking track because it will help students apply foundational systems principles to complex social and health problems," said Ginger McKay. She is an assistant professor at the Brown School and leader of the track. "Our hope is this will provide students a fresh way of thinking about and tackling their diverse areas of interest." Participants in the track will learn about complex systems fundamentals through instruction and hands-on activities applying systems thinking to social and public health problems. 

In all tracks, instructors will demonstrate how to incorporate systems science methods to examine complex problems through interactive examples and scenarios. Participants will review the major concepts of their chosen track/method, learn analytic best practices, and apply the methods to real-world data.

"The expanding scope of SSSI and the diversity of backgrounds among our wonderful students are a testimony to the growing importance of systems science – not only as an approach to research but as a set of practical tools for tackling some of the most significant problems we face as a society," said Ross Hammond, Betty Bofinger Brown Associate Professor at the Brown School. "Teaching at SSSI is always fulfilling, and I always learn something new."

The application process is open; candidates will be accepted monthly through July 10, 2022. Visit the website or view the handout for more information.

A large majority of the participants in the 2021 Institute who answered a survey following the workshops agreed that they completed the following key outcomes: 

  • Learned the fundamental concepts of their track
  • Identified problems that benefit from systems science methods
  • Integrated systems science methods into their work
  • Identified potential collaborators who want to integrate systems science into their work

One participant called SSSI "one of the best workshops I have been to in a while. Professors are available for collaborations and also to answer my questions." The best thing about the institute, another said, was "The practical information and the style and openness of the experts." Agreed another: "The course instructors went out of their way to make sure that we understood the content and had the chance to try to apply it."

In addition to McKay and Hammond, the co-organizers and Brown School faculty are Douglas Luke, Ellis Ballard, Todd Combs, Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Matt Kasman, Alexandra Morshed, Nasim Sabounchi, and Kelsey Werner.