University of Bergen

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The University of Bergen (in Norwegian: Universitetet i Bergen) is located in Bergen, Norway. Although founded as late as 1946, academic activity had taken place at Bergen Museum as far back as 1825. The university today serves more than 16,500 students.

Our people

Prof. dr. P.I. Davidsen

Prof. dr. Pål Ingebrigt Davidsen received his academic degree from the University of Bergen in 1983. His professional career started at the same university. From 1983 until 1991 Professor Davidsen was employed as an associate Professor, from 1991 onwards he served as a professor for the Department of Information Science and for the Department of Geography. He guest lectured at Chalmers Technical University, Gothenburg Sweden, the University of Minnesota and the Mikkeli Polytechnic Institute in Finland. For the Erasmus program he gave seminars at the University of Palermo, Seville, Brandenburg and Goteborg.

Prof. dr. E. Moxnes

Prof dr. Erling Moxnes is a professor at the Department of Geography at the University of Bergen. In 1982 he completed his PhD in Engineering Sciences from the Resource Policy Center at Dartmouth College which is located in the United States. His main interest lies in understanding why the presumably best policies are often ignored in practical decision-making. By using laboratory experiments among students and professionals he has contributed to the emerging literature on misperceptions of dynamic systems (MODS). For his article on fishery management in Management Science he received the Jay W. Forrester Award.

Prof. dr. B. Kopainsky

Prof. dr. Birgit Kopainsky is professor in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen, Norway. She holds a PhD in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her research explores the role that system dynamics can play in facilitating transformation processes in social-ecological systems such as the transformation towards sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. She conducts and supervises research both in Europe and in developing countries and works with a wide range of stakeholders at local, national and international level.


GEO-SD 302 Fundamentals of Dynamic Social Systems (10 ECTS)
This course teaches the basics of the System Dynamics method. System Dynamics helps explain how change takes place, why people misunderstand change, and why so many policies fail to solve problems. The method builds on a systems perspective where system parts influence each other and where knowledge from different fields of study may be needed. Students learn to recognize typical problem behaviors of dynamic systems, exemplified by global warming, over-utilization of natural resources, epidemics, price fluctuations. These are all problems of importance for sustainable development goals. Students learn to formulate hypotheses for why problems develop, and they learn to represent their hypotheses in simulation models and use the models to test their hypotheses. For models that give likely explanations of problem developments, students learn to formulate and test alternative policies in the very same models. At a more general level, the course gives training in applying the scientific method to socio-economic problems, it provides a common language for interdisciplinary research, and it gives training in project formulations and reporting.

GEO-SD 303 Model-Based Analysis and Policy Design
This is an introduction to System Dynamics analysis of non-linear, dynamic systems with emphasis on the relationship between system structure and behaviors, and on policy design and implementation. Students learn to build, simulate, and test models of social, natural and hybrid systems, to analyze the structural causes of problem behavior and to develop and evaluate policies aimed at addressing such problems. The students gain a deep understanding of the intimate relationship between structure and behavior in complex, dynamic systems; how structure gives rise to behavior and how the resulting behaviors may feedback to change the relative significance of the structural components of the system. This enables the students to analyze problems and to develop and evaluate policies of their own choice. The students also learn to distil the essence of a modelling experience and to communicate their analysis and design conclusions in the form of a compact executive summary.

GEO-SD 304 System Dynamics Modeling Process
In this course, students apply the System Dynamics method to problems in both the public and private sectors. Students will apply and gain reinforcement of skills learned in other system dynamics courses as they follow a structured process for modelling and simulation of dynamic problems in both social and natural systems. Emphasis is on the design of simulation models to explain problem behavior in dynamic systems, and on the re-design of such models to represent the implementation of policies aimed at improving their behavior. Students learn to use the system dynamics modelling process: define the dynamics of problems, develop hypotheses regarding the structure underlying problem behavior, analyze and validate computer simulation models, and design policies to improve systemic behavior. In addition to learning from the lectures and materials, students gain hands-on experience through in-class exercises, assignments, and an in-depth project. The reading list includes a primary textbook and supplemental material.

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Systems Education in Bergen
You can find an academic article on how it is like to study System Dynamics in Bergen hereThis article is written by Pål Davidsen, Birgit Kopainsky, Erling Moxnes, Matteo Pedercini and David Wheat. In this article the authors how System Dynamics and the EMSD program has evolved over the years and how it has impacted system think on a global level.