Aniruddha Belsare is a disease ecologist with a background in veterinary medicine, interspecific transmission, pathogen modeling and conservation research. Aniruddha received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science (Focus: Disease Ecology) from the University of Missouri in 2013 and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship there (University of Missouri, May 2014 – June 2017). He then was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Modeling Complex Interactions at the University of Idaho (June 2017 - March 2019) and later a Research Associate with the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center, Michigan State University (March 2019 - Jan 2021). He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Emory University.
My research interests primarily lie at the interface of ecology and epidemiology, and include host-pathogen systems that are of public health or conservation concern. I use ecologic, epidemiologic and model-based investigations to understand how pathogens spread through, persist in, and impact host populations. Animal disease systems that I am currently working on include canine rabies, leptospirosis, chronic wasting disease, big horn sheep pneumonia, raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), and Lyme disease.
My core research interest is to understand how humans and other living creature perceive and behave; respond and act upon their environment and how this dynamic interplay shapes us into who we are. In recognition of the broad scope of this question I am a strong believer in the need for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches and have worked at research groups in a wide range of departments and institutions, including university departments of Physics as well as Psychology, a bio-medical research lab, a robotics research laboratory and most recently the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Though my work has primarily taken the form of computational neuroscience I have also performed psychophysical experiments with healthy human subjects, been involved in neural imaging experiments and contributed towards the development of a humanoid robot.
Based on the philosophy of ‘understanding through creating’ I believe that bio-mimetic and biologically inspired computational and robotic engineering can teach us not only how to build more flexible and robust tools but also how actual living creatures deal with their environment. I am therefore a strong believer in the fertile information exchange between scientific as well as engineering research disciplines.
Two themes unite my research: a commitment to methodological creativity and innovation as expressed in my work with computational social sciences, and an interest in the political economy of “globalization,” particularly its implications for the ontological claims of international relations theory.
I have demonstrated how the methods of computational social sciences can model bargaining and social choice problems for which traditional game theory has found only indeterminate and multiple equilibria. My June 2008 article in International Studies Quarterly (“Coordination in Large Numbers,” vol. 52, no. 2) illustrates that, contrary to the expectation of collective action theory, large groups may enjoy informational advantages that allow players with incomplete information to solve difficult three-choice coordination games. I extend this analysis in my 2009 paper at the International Studies Association annual convention, in which I apply ideas from evolutionary game theory to model learning processes among players faced with coordination and commitment problems. Currently I am extending this research to include social network theory as a means of modeling explicitly the patterns of interaction in large-n (i.e. greater than two) player coordination and cooperation games. I argue in my paper at the 2009 American Political Science Association annual convention that computational social science—the synthesis of agent-based modeling, social network analysis and evolutionary game theory—empowers scholars to analyze a broad range of previously indeterminate bargaining problems. I also argue this synthesis gives researchers purchase on two of the central debates in international political economy scholarship. By modeling explicitly processes of preference formation, computational social science moves beyond the rational actor model and endogenizes the processes of learning that constructivists have identified as essential to understanding change in the international system. This focus on the micro foundations of international political economy in turn allows researchers to understand how social structural features emerge and constrain actor choices. Computational social science thus allows IPE to formalize and generalize our understandings of mutual constitution and systemic change, an observation that explains the paradoxical interest of constructivists like Ian Lustick and Matthew Hoffmann in the formal methods of computational social science. Currently I am writing a manuscript that develops these ideas and applies them to several challenges of globalization: developing institutions to manage common pool resources; reforming capital adequacy standards for banks; and understanding cascading failures in global networks.
While computational social science increasingly informs my research, I have also contributed to debates about the epistemological claims of computational social science. My chapter with James N. Rosenau in Complexity in World Politics (ed. by Neil E. Harrison, SUNY Press 2006) argues that agent-based modeling suffers from underdeveloped and hidden epistemological and ontological commitments. On a more light-hearted note, my article in PS: Political Science and Politics (“Clocks, Not Dartboards,” vol. 39, no. 3, July 2006) discusses problems with pseudo-random number generators and illustrates how they can surprise unsuspecting teachers and researchers.
The Global Resource Observatory (GRO)
The Global Resource Observatory is largest single research project being undertaken at the GSI, it investigates how the scarcity of finite resources will impact global social and political fragility in the short term. The ambitious three year project, funded by the Dawe Charitable Trust, will enable short term decision making to account for ecological and financial constraints of a finite planet.
GRO will include an open source multidimensional model able to quantify the likely short term interactions of the human economy with the carrying capacity of the planet and key scarce resources. The model will enable exploration of the complex interconnections between the resource availability and human development, and provides projections over the next 5 years.
Data and scenarios will be geographically mapped to show the current and future balance and distribution of resources across and within countries. The GRO tool will, for the first time, enable the widespread integration of the implications of depleting key resource into all levels of policy and business decision-making.
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
Dr. Lilian Alessa, University of Idaho President’s Professor of Resilient Landscapes in the Landscape Architecture program, is also Co-Director of the University of Idaho Center for Resilient Communities. She conducts extensive research on human adaptation to environmental change through resilient design at landscape scales. Much of her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, including projects awarded the Arctic Observing Network, Intersections of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems programs. Canadian-born and raised, Alessa received her degrees from the University of British Columbia. She also uses her expertise in social-ecological and technological systems science to develop ways to improve domestic resource security for community well-being, particularly through the incorporation of place-based knowledge. Her work through the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, involves developing social-technological methods to monitor and respond to critical environmental changes. Lil is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education and is on the Science, Technology and Education Advisory Committee for the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON). Professor Alessa also teaches a university landscape architecture capstone course: Resilient Landscapes with Professor Andrew Kliskey. Professor Alessa’s collaborative grant activity with Professor Andrew Kliskey, since coming to the university in 2013, exceeds 7 million USD to date. She has authored over a 100 publications and reports and has led the development of 2 federal climate resilience toolbox assessments, the Arctic Water Resources Vulnerability Index (AWRVI) and the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal (AAEP).
Dr. Kimberly G. Rogers studies the coupled human-natural processes shaping coastal environments. She obtained a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and began her graduate studies on Long Island at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rogers completed her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, where she specialized in nearshore and coastal sediment transport. She was a postdoctoral scholar and research associate at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2014, her foundation in the physical sciences was augmented by training in Environmental Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington through an NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship.
Rogers’s research is broadly interdisciplinary and examines evolving sediment dynamics at the land-sea boundary, principally within the rapidly developing river deltas of South Asia. As deltas are some of the most densely populated coastal regions on earth, she incorporates social science methods to examine how institutions — particularly those governing land use and built infrastructure — influence the flow of water and sediment in coastal areas. She integrates quantitative and qualitative approaches in her work, such as direct measurement and geochemical fingerprinting of sediment transport phenomena, agent-based modeling, institutional and geospatial analyses, and ethnographic survey techniques. Risk holder collaboration is an integral part of her research philosophy and she is committed to co-production and capacity building in her projects. Her work has gained recognition from policy influencers such as the World Bank, USAID, and the US Embassy Bangladesh and has been featured in popular media outlets such as Slate and Environmental Health Perspectives.
Dr. William G. Kennedy, “Bill,” is continuing to learn in a third career, this time as an academic, a computational social scientist.
His first a career was in military service as a Naval Officer, starting with the Naval Academy, Naval PostGraduate School (as the first computer science student from the Naval Academy), and serving during the Cold War as part of the successful submarine-based nuclear deterrent. After six years of active duty service, he served over two decades in the Naval Reserves commanding three submarine and submarine-related reserve units and retiring after 30 years as a Navy Captain with several personal honors and awards.
His second career was in civilian public service: 10 years at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and 15 years with the Department of Energy. At the NRC he rose to be an advisor to the Executive Director for Operations and the authority on issues concerning the reliance on human operators for reactor safety, participating in two fly-away accident response teams. He left the NRC for a promotion and to lead, as technical director, the entrepreneurial effort to explore the use of light-water and accelerator technologies for the production of nuclear weapons materials. That work led to him becoming the senior policy officer responsible for strategic planning and Departmental performance commitments, leading development of the first several DOE strategic plans and formal performance agreements between the Secretary of Energy and the President.
Upon completion of doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence outside of his DOE work, he began his third career as a scientist. That started with a fully funded, three-year post-doctoral research position in cognitive robotics at the Naval Research Laboratory sponsored by the National Academy of Science and expanding his AI background with research in experimental Cognitive Science. Upon completion, he joined the Center for Social Complexity, part of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University in 2008 where he is now the Senior Scientific Advisor. His research interests range from cognition at the individual level to models of millions of agents representing individual people. He is currently leading a multi-year project to characterize the reaction of the population of a mega-city to a nuclear WMD (weapon of mass destruction) event.
Dr. Kennedy holds a B.S. in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master of Science in Computer Science from the Naval PostGraduate School, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology from George Mason University and has a current security clearance. Dr. Kennedy is a member of Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and a life member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a STEM volunteer with the Senior Scientists and Engineers/AAAS Volunteer Program for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the DC-area schools.
Cognitive Science, Computational Social Science, Social Cognition, Autonomy, Cognitive Robotics