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

Professor Birgit Kopainsky

Birgit Kopainsky is a professor in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen, Norway. She holds a PhD in agricultural economics from ETH Zurich and a master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Zurich. 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 the Global North and South and works with a wide range of stakeholders at local, national and international level.

Professor Ali Kerem Saysel

Ali Kerem Saysel is a professor in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen, Norway. He holds a master’s and a PhD degree in Environmental Sciences and Technology from Boğaziçi University. Dr. Saysel is an interdisciplinary scholar in environmental resources management and sustainability transformations with a specialty in the field of system dynamics. Over the last five years his work has focused on agricultural water and soil management in the Mediterranean through several international research collaborations.

Associate Professor Saeed Langarudi

Saeed Langarudi is an associate professor of System Dynamics at the University of Bergen, Norway. He holds a PhD in System Dynamics and economics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in economics from Isfahan University of Technology. His research focuses on the dynamics of natural resource (over)extraction and its interconnections with local, regional, and national socioeconomic development.


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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