Community

Nanda Wijermans Member since: Monday, October 11, 2010 Full Member Reviewer

In my research I focus on understanding human behaviour in group(s) as a part of a complex (social) system. My research can be characterised by the overall question: ‘How does group or collective behaviour arise or change given its social and physical context?‘ More specifically, I have engaged with: ‘How is (individual) human behaviour affected by being in a crowd?’, ‘Why do some groups (cooperatively) use their resources sustainably, whereas others do not?‘, ‘What is the role of (often implicit simplistic) assumptions regarding human behaviour for science and/or management?’

To address these questions, I use computational simulations to integrate and reflect synthesised knowledge from literature, empirics and experts. Models, simulation and data analysis are my tools for gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying such systems. More specifically, I work with agent-based modelling (ABM), simulation experiments and data analysis of large datasets. Apart from crowd modelling and social-ecological modelling, I also develop methodological tools to analyse social simulation data and combining ABM with other methods, such as behavioural experiments.

Gul Deniz Salali Member since: Sunday, November 15, 2015 Full Member

PhD in Biological Anthropology, UCL

I studied Molecular Biology and Genetics at Istanbul Technical University. During my undergraduate studies I became interested in the field of Ecology and Evolution and did internships on animal behaviour in Switzerland and Ireland. I then went on to pursue a 2-year research Master’s in Evolutionary Biology (MEME) funded by the European Union. I worked on projects using computer simulations to investigate evolution of social complexity and human cooperation. I also did behavioural economics experiments on how children learn social norms by copying others. After my Master’s, I pursued my dream of doing fieldwork and investigating human societies. I did my PhD at UCL, researching cultural evolution and behavioural adaptations in Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo. During my PhD, I was part of an inter-disciplinary Hunter-Gatherer Resilience team funded by the Leverhulme Trust. I obtained a postdoctoral research fellowship from British Academy after my PhD. I am currently working as a British Academy research fellow and lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology and Evolutionary Medicine at UCL.

  • Social learning and cultural evolution
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Evolutionary medicine

Arika Ligmann-Zielinska Member since: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 Full Member Reviewer

PhD

I am a spatial (GIS) agent-based modeler i.e. modeler that simulates the impact of various individual decisions on the environment. My work is mainly methodological i.e. I develop tools that make agent-based modeling (ABM) easier to do. I especially focus on developing tools that allow for evaluating various uncertainties in ABM. One of these uncertainties are the ways of quantifying agent decisions (i.e. the algorithmic representation of agent decision rules) for example to address the question of “How do the agents decide whether to grow crops or rather put land to fallow?”. One of the methods I developed focuses on representing residential developers’ risk perception for example to answer the question: “to what extent is the developer risk-taking and would be willing to build new houses targeted at high-income families (small market but big return on investment)?”. Other ABM uncertainties that I evaluate are various spatial inputs (e.g. different representations of soil erosion, different maps of environmental benefits from land conservation) and various demographics (i.e. are retired farmers more willing to put land to conservation?). The tools I develop are mostly used in (spatial) sensitivity analysis of ABM (quantitative, qualitative, and visual).

Inês Boavida-Portugal Member since: Monday, October 24, 2016

PhD in Geography, research area GIScience, MsC in Territorial Managgement, Bachelor in Geography and Regional Planning

I am a geographer interested in exploring tourism system dynamics and assessing tourism’s role in environmental sustainability using agent-based modelling (ABM). My current work focus is on human complex systems interactions with the environment and on the application of tools (such as scenario analysis, network analysis and ABM) to explore topics systems adaptation, vulnerability and resilience to global change. I am also interested in looking into my PhD future research directions which pointed the potential of Big Data, social media and Volunteer Geographical Information to increase destination awareness.
I have extensive experience in GIS, quantitative and qualitative methods of research. My master thesis assessed the potential for automatic feature extraction from QuickBird imagery for municipal management purposes. During my PhD I have published and submitted several scientific papers in ISI indexed journals. I have a good research network in Portugal and I integrate an international research network on the topic “ABM meets tourism”. I am a collaborator in a recently awarded USA NCRCRD grant project “Using Agent Based Modelling to Understand and Enhance Rural Tourism Industry Collaboration” and applied for NSF funding with the project “Understanding and Enhancing the Resilience of Recreation and Tourism Dependent Communities in the Gulf”.

Doug Salt Member since: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Full Member Reviewer

PhD, BSc (Hons)

I obtained a PhD in database information theory from the University of the West of Scotland in 2015, and have been a researcher at the James Hutton Institute ever since. My areas of research are agent-based-modelling (ABM), data curation, effective use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and semantic information representation and extraction using formal structures such as computerised ontologies, relational databases and any other structured or semi-structured data representations. I primarily deal with social and agricultural models and was originally taken on in the role of knowledge engineer in order to create the ontology for the H2020 project, Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability (GLAMURS). Subsequent work, for the Scottish Government has involved the use of IaaS, more commonly referred to as the “cloud” to create rapidly deployable and cheap alternatives to in-house high-performance computing for both ABM and Geographical Information System models.

It is the mixture of skills and interests involving modelling, data organisation and computing infrastructure expertise that I believe will be highly apposite in the duties associated with being a member of the CoMSES executive. Moreover, prior to joining academia, I spent about 25 years as a developer in commercial IT, in the agricultural, entertainment and banking sectors, and feel that such practical experience can only benefit the CoMSES network.

Kenneth Aiello Member since: Thursday, January 23, 2020 Full Member

Ph.D., Biology and Society, Arizona State University, B.S., Sociology, Arizona State University,, B.S., Biology, Arizona State University

Kenneth D. Aiello is a postdoctoral research scholar with the Global BioSocial Complexity Initiative at ASU. Kenneth’s research contributes to cross disciplinary conversations on how historical developments in biological, social, and cultural knowledge systems are governed by processes that transform the structure, dynamics, and function of complex systems. Applying computational historical analysis and epistemology to question what scientific knowledge is and how we can analyze changes in knowledge, he uses text analysis, social network analysis, and machine learning to measure similarities and differences between the knowledge claims of individual agents and groups. His work builds on how to assess contested knowledge claims and measure the evolution of knowledge across complex systems and multiple dimensions of scale. This approach also engages in dynamic new debates about global and local structures of knowledge shaped by technological innovation within microbiology related to public policy, shrinking resources given to biomedical ideas as opposed to “translation”, and the ethics of scientific discovery. Using interdisciplinary methods for understanding historical content and context rich narratives contributes to understanding new domains and major transitions in science and provides a richer understanding of how knowledge emerges.

Tatiana Filatova Member since: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 Full Member

PhD (Cum Laude), Department of Water Engineering and Management, University of Twente, The Netherlands

I am Professor in Computational Resilience Economics at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), which I joined in 2010. In September 2017 I also joined University of Technology Sydney (Australia) as Professor of Computational Economic Modeling working with spatial simulation models to study socioeconomic impacts of disasters and emergence of resilience across scales. I was honored to be elected as a Member of the De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (DJA/ KNAW in 2016) and of Social Sciences Council (SWR/KNAW in 2017). From 2009 to 2015 I have been working part-time as an economist at Deltares – the leading Dutch knowledge institute in the field of water management – specializing in economics of climate change, with focus on floods and droughts management.

I am interested in the feedbacks between policies and aggregated outcomes of individual decisions in the context of spatial and environmental policy-making. The issue of social interactions and information diffusion through networks to affect economic behavior is highly relevant here. My research line focuses on exploring how behavioral changes at micro level may lead to critical transitions (tipping points/regime shifts) on macro level in complex adaptive human-environment systems in application to climate change economics. I use agent-based modelling (ABM) combined with social science methods of behavioral data collection on individual decisions and social networks. This research line has been distinguished by the NWO VENI and ERC Starting grants and the Early Career Excellence award of the International Environmental Modeling Society (iEMSs). In 2018 I was invited to serve as the Associate Editor of the Environmental Modelling & Software journal, where I have been a regular Member of the Editorial Board since 2013.

Francesc Bellaubi Member since: Thursday, June 27, 2013

PhD candidate

performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.

This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).

Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.

The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.

To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.

In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.

The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.

Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation

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