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Centre for Systems Studies

Today's world presents challenges and opportunities for society. Our challenge is to develop concepts and approaches to address that complexity.

The Challenge

Today’s interconnected world presents novel challenges and opportunities for business and society. The interplay of social, technological, environmental and geo-political factors confronts decision makers with unprecedented complexity. Our challenge is to develop the new concepts and methodological approaches needed to address that complexity.

The Approach

We work in trans-disciplinary teams, collaborating with practitioners in public, private and third-sector organisations to develop ways of addressing complexity.

Our fundamental research in critical systems thinking, cybernetics, information systems and complex systems science, focuses on developing concepts, theories and methodologies to identify and define systemic properties and behaviours, and to explain how and why these arise.

Our ideas and methods are tested and refined in a broad range of application areas including health, policy analysis, development, resilience and sustainability of socio-economic systems and the environment, digital economy and society, organisational transformation, food security, cybersecurity, sustainable tourism, low-carbon economy, evaluation, stakeholder engagement, radicalisation and marginalisation, innovation, conflict management and community operational research.

Aims

Aims

  • Our work is critical for addressing complex problem situations and anticipating the (often unintended) consequences of interventions, and for designing structures, actions and strategies for innovation, resilience and sustainability
  • We are concerned with understanding, explaining and engaging with systems and systemic phenomena in complex socio-economic systems at all scales, from the emergence of local community action and business ecosystems through to the impact of global policy interventions

Projects

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Scuba Diver in Deep Blue Sea
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Knowledge Factory Lecture
  • Projects

    Health

    Evaluation of the Wales 1000 Lives Patient Flow Programme, funded by The Health Foundation (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Reducing Inequalities in Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire: Realising our potential for innovation in Diagnosis, Patient Management, Survivorship and Palliative Care Research, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Systems Thinking for General Practice, pro bono (CSS Contact: Merali)

    The Future of the Health Service System in East Yorkshire, funded by East Yorkshire Council: (CSS Contact: Midgley)

    Pathways to Colorectal Cancer Screening in Hull: A Complexity Informed Configurational Approach, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Gardening for Health, funded by Hull UK City of Culture and Wellcome Trust Development Grants (CSS Contact: Black)

    Understanding the outcomes of nature-based interventions for health and wellbeing: case studies from the City of Hull, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contacts: Merali, Correia)

    Food security

    Voluntary Compliance in Antimicrobial Stewardship, funded by United States Department of Agriculture (CSS Contact: Midgley)

    Understanding Boundary Judgment Dilemmas in Global Food Security, funded by Research Council, UK (CSS Contact: Midgley)

    Creating Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains, funded by British Council (CSS Contacts: Dwivedi)

    Building sustainable agricultural supply chains in India, funded by British Council (CSS Contacts: Dwivedi, Merali and Midgley)

    Communication and dissemination mechanisms to further facilitate discussions amongst practitioners, service users and academia on Creating Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains, funded by British Council (CSS Contact: Dwivedi)

    Resilient farming in a changing world: investigating farmer experimentation in regenerative grazing practices in Wales, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship and Welsh Department for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs (CSS Contacts: Merali, Correia)

    Sustainable Supply Chains in Developing Countries: Is it Possible? A Case Study of India, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contact: Dwivedi, Merali)

    Socio-economic development, resilience and sustainability

    Research Cluster on Resilience of Complex Socio-Economic Systems, funded through Hull University Doctoral Scholarship Competition (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Systems Thinking for Positive Peace in the Context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, funded through University of Hull Grand Challenges Research Fund (CSS Contact: Midgley)

    Reframing the Discourse on Violent Extremism, funded through University of Hull Grand Challenges Research Fund (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Social Enterprise Education, funded by British Council (CSS Contact Dwivedi)

    Risk in Ministry of Defence Procurements, funded by Defence Science Technology Labs: (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Sustainable Tourism: Training for Tomorrow, funded by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships (CSS Contact: Correia)

    Review of the Welsh Audit Office Good Practice Exchange, funded by Welsh Audit Office: (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Research Evaluation and Programme Design, funded by Defence Science and Technology Labs (CSS Contacts: Merali and Midgley)

    Systemic Identity Issues associated with Face-Veiling in Bulgaria, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contacts: Merali, Midgley)

    The Impacts of Teaching British Values in Schools, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contacts: Merali, Midgley)

    Environmental sustainability

    Creative Circular Plastics Economy, funded by EPSRC (CSS Contacts: Atkins, Midgley)

    Resource Recovery and Remediation for Alkaline Wastes, funded by NERC/ESRC/DEFRA (CSS Contacts: Atkins, Gregory, Midgley)

    Inland Waterway Transport Solutions, funded by European Regional Development Fund (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Digital economy and cyber-social systems

    Organisational and Information Systems Complexity, funded by British Telecom (CSS Contact: Merali)

    The Internet of Things Ecosystem, funded by British Telecom (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Developing the theory and practice of Systemic Innovation, funded by the Swedish Knowledge Foundation: (CSS Contact: Midgley)

    Developing a Model for Place Based Public Safety, funded by Humberside Fire and Rescue Services (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Network of Excellence for European InterNet Science, funded by European FP7 (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Satisficing in complex problems: relatedness of environmental characteristics and emergent patterns in network behaviour, Defence Science and Technology Labs Sponsored Studentship (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Complex systems and information sharing in innovation, supported by University of Hull sponsored studentship (CSS Contacts: Merali, Dwivedi)

    Community projects

    Social Enterprise Education, funded by British Council (CSS Contacts Dwivedi, Merali) )

    The Beverley Road Corridor Pilot Project for Improving Community Outcomes, Humberside Police pro bono, (CSS Contact: Merali)

    Pocklington School Foundation Strategy: Strategy Development Workshops (CSS Contacts: Gregory, Atkins)

    Strategy for community and stakeholder engagement, Action for ME pro bono (CSS Contact Midgley)

  • Lectures
    • 2020: The 2020 Lecture by Dr Peter Senge has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will announce a new date to celebrate a return to more propitious times. This Lecture series is endowed by Dr Andrew Chen, honorary graduate of The University of Hull.
    • 2019: General Systems Theory and its Relevance in Today's World: Tackling The Grand Challenges of Our Time, endowed by Dr A Chen.
    • 2018: The Systems View of Life delivered by the internationally celebrated award winning writer, scientist, educator and activist, Dr Fritjof Capra.
    • 2017: The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt’s New World delivered by the award-winning writer and television presenter Andrea Wulf.
Systems thinking providing sustainable solutions with a global reach
  • Members

    Professor Gerald Midgley

    Professor of Systems Thinking | Co-director

    Dr Amanda Gregory

    Senior Lecturer in Management Systems | Co-director

    Professor Jonathan Atkins

    Professor of Economics

    Gavin Betts

    Lecturer in Systems Thinking

    Dr Katherine Bloomfield

    Post Doctoral Research Associate

    Professor Joanne Cooke

    Reader in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resources Management

    Dr Fernando Correia

    Lecturer of Sustainable Business Management

    Dr Dionysis Demetis

    Lecturer in Management Systems

    Dr Ashish Dwivedi

    Lecturer in Management Systems

    Dr Giles Hindle

    Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for MSc Business Analytics

    Professor Mike Jackson

    Emeritus Professor

    Dr Jean Kellie

    Lecturer

    Professor Yasmin Merali

    Professor of Systems Thinking

    Professor Gunjan Saxena

    Professor 

    Professor Terry Williams

    Director of the Risk Institute

    Honorary Professors

    Professor Peter Allen

    Professor John Davies

    Professor John Friend

    Professor David Lane

    Dr Claudia Nagel

    Professor Jonathan Rosenhead

    Professor Luis Sambo

    Professor John Seddon

    Professor David Snowden

    Dr Nabeel Goheer

    Dr David Lowe

    Fellows

    Dr David Glenister

    Dr Ellen Lewis 

    David Lowe

    Dr Raghav Rajagopalan

    Dr Ian Newsome

    Associates

    Dr Lewis Holloway

    Reader in Human Geography 

    Professor Gerry Johnstone

    Professor of Law 

    Dr Fiona Walkley

    Lecturer in Marketing

  • Outputs and publications

    Bloomfield K, Williams T, Bovis C and Merali Y, ‘Systemic risk in major public contracts', International Journal of Forecasting (in press)

    Demetis D and Lee A, 'When Humans using the IT artifact becomes IT using the human artifact', Journal of the Association for Information Systems (in press)

    Demetis D, 'Fighting money laundering with technology: a case study of Bank X in the UK', Decision Support Systems, vol 106, pp 96-107 (2018)

    Espinosa A, Duque C, 'Complexity management and multi-scale governance: A case study in an Amazonian Indigenous Association', European Journal of Operational Research, special issue on Community Operational Research, 268, pp 1006-1020 (2018)

    Fazey I, Schäpke N, Patterson J, Hultman J, van Mierlo B, Säwe F, Caniglia G, Wiek A, Wittmayer J, Paulina Aldunce J, Al Waer H, Battacharya N, Bradbury H, Carmen E, Colvin J, Cvitanovic C, D'Souza M, Göpel M, Goldstein B, Hämäläinen T, Harper G, Henfry T, Hodgson A, Howden M S, Kerr A, Klaes M, Lyon C, Midgley G, Moser S, Mukherjee N, Müller K, O'Brien K, O'Connell D A, Olsson P, Page G, Reed M S, Searle B, SilvestrI G, Spaiser V, Strasser T, Tschakert P, Uribe-Calvo N, Waddell S, Rao-Williams J, Wise R, Wolstenholme R, Woods M and Wyborn C, 'Ten Essentials for Action-Oriented and Second Order Energy Transitions, Transformations and Climate Change Research', Energy Research and Social Science, 40, pp 54-70 (2018)

    View all publications

  • Research students

    Yvonne Black

    Understanding the outcomes of nature-based interventions for health and wellbeing: case studies from the City of Hull

    Merali, Correia, Dyson

    Gerardo Isaac Campos Flores

    Characteristics of the learning environment in the online master's courses of Tecnológico de Monterrey's Virtual University: toward the construction of transformative learning

    Gregory, Midgley

    Oralia de la Pena de Torres

    Enhancing Leader-Member Exchange Theory with the Systems Theory of Marginalisation

    Gregory, Midgley

    Louis Gardiner

    Developing a New Methodology and Methods for Subjective Empiricism in Systemic Intervention

    Midgley, Wilby

    Helene Finidori

    How Can Pattern Language Enhance Systemic Intervention?

    Midgely, Merali

    Angela Hancock

    Cooperative knowledge production: Local collaborative research opportunities for academics and social care practitioners

    Gregory, Kapsali

    Lisa Hilder

    Social Enterprise Models of Funding for Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations

    Gregory, Midgley

    Lubaid Khan

    Sustainable Supply Chains in Developing Countries: Is it Possible? A Case Study of India

    Dwivedi, Merali

    Muhammad Naveed Khan

    Impact of Terrorism on Logistics Services Providers' Sustainability Performance

    Akhtar, Merali

    Yulia Kozak

    Does the Use of Counterfactuals in Management Education Enhance Systems Thinking?

    Espinosa, Midgley

    Liang Liang

    Complex systems and information sharing in innovation

    Merali, Dwivedi

    Delia MacNamara

    The Boundary Triage for Systemic Leadership in a Networked World

    Midgley, Wilby

    Esmaeil Khedmati Morasae

    Reasons behind people's narratives of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Hull: a complex systems and fuzzy logic informed configurational approach

    Merali, McLoed

    Francesca Moore

    Resilient farming in a changing world: investigating farmer experimentation in regenerative grazing practices in Wales

    Merali, Correia

    Salimeh Pour Mohammad

    A viable system perspective to knowledge sharing and network analysis

    Espinosa, Merali

    Ernesto Quider

    Evaluation of UKAS-ISO 15189 Accreditation on the Impact of Quality and Patient Safety in NHS Pathology Laboratory Services

    Prof Yasmin Merali, Prof Judith Dyson

    Ovalia Rukmana

    The Incorporation of Sustainability into Business Schools in Indonesia

    Allen, Correia

    Nadia Samara

    Evaluation of Information Security within the e-government programme in Jordan and its underlying role in citizens' online trust

    Demetis, Merali

    Vikash Sharma

    Machine Learning Techniques for Information Extraction from Invoices

    Merali, Mishra

    Alistair Smith

    The Impacts of Teaching British Values in Schools

    Merali, Midgley, O'Sullivan

    Pam Sydelko

    Interagency Collaboration to Address Wicked Problems

    Midgley, Espinosa

    Noemi Tambe

    A systems theoretical deconstruction of risk in the domain of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

    Demetis, Merali

    Maya Vachkova

    Systemic Identity Issues associated with Face-Veiling in Bulgaria

    Merali, Midgley, Johnston

    Nicholas Westbury

    Satisficing in complex problems: relatedness of environmental characteristics and emergent patterns in network behaviour

    Merali, Bovis

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