My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
I received a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Namur (Belgium) in June 2012 with a thesis titled “Essays in Information Aggregation and Political Economics”.
After two years at the Research Center for Educational and Network Studies (Recens) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, I joined the Department of Economics “Marco Biagi” of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in January 2015 and then the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna.
I am currently a Lecturer in Financial Computing at the Department Computer Science (Financial Computing and Analytics group) - University College London. Moreover I am an affiliated researcher of the DYNAMETS - Dynamic Systems Analysis for Economic Theory and Society research group and an affiliate member of the Namur Center for Complex Systems (Naxys).
My research interests concern the computational study of financial markets (microstructure, systemic properties and behavioral bias), of social Interactions on complex networks (theory and experiments), the evolution of cooperation in networks (theory and experiments) and the study of companies strategies in the digital economy.
Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.
How to model it: Ecological models, in particular simulation models, often seem to be formulated ad hoc and only poorly analysed. I am therefore interested in strategies and methods for making ecological modelling more coherent and efficient. The ultimate aim is to develop preditive models that provide mechanstic understanding of ecological systems and that are transparent and structurally realistic enough to support environmental decision making.
Pattern-oriented modelling: This is a general strategy of using multiple patterns observed in real systems as multiple criteria for chosing model structure, selecting among alternative submodels, and inversely determining entire sets of unknown model parameters.
Individual-based and agent-based modelling: For many, if not most, ecological questions individual-level aspects can be decisive for explaining system-level behavior. IBM/ABMs allow to represent individual heterogeneity, local interactions, and/or adaptive behaviour
Ecological theory and concepts: I am particularly interested in exploring stability properties like resilience and persistence.
Modelling for ecological applications: Pattern-oriented modelling allows to develop structurally realistic models, which can be used to support decision making and the management of biodiversity and natural resources. Currently, I am involved in the EU project CREAM, where a suite of population models is developed for pesticide risk assessment.
Standards for model communication and formulation: In 2006, we published a general protocol for describing individual- and agent-based models, called the ODD protocol (Overview, Design concepts, details). ODD turned out to be more useful (and needed) than we expected.
Raquel Guimaraes is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at IIASA with support from the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). She is hosted by the Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA), Risk and Vulnerability (RISK), and World Population (POP) programs. Dr. Guimaraes is currently on sabbatical leave from her appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Economics Department at the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil), where she carries out research on, as well as teaching, economic demography, development microeconomics and applied microeconometrics.
In her research at IIASA, Dr. Guimaraes aims to contribute to the extant literature and to policy-making by offering a case study from Brazil, examining whether and how individual exposure to floods did or not induce affected migration in a setting with intense urbanization, the city of Governador Valadares, in the State of Minas Gerais. To elucidate the role of vulnerability at the household-level in mediating the relationship between mobility and floods, she will rely on causal models and simulation analysis. Her study is aligned with and will have support from, the Brazilian Network for Research on Global Climate Change (Rede Clima), which is an important pillar in support of R&D activities of the Brazilian National Climate Change Plan.
Dr. Guimaraes graduated from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2007 with degrees in economics. She completed an MA degree in International Comparative Education at Stanford University (2011) and earned a doctorate in demography from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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