Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sharing news of an exciting initiative and postdoctoral fellowship opportunity at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore

As regular readers know, I will be spending the spring term in Singapore. I have been working with my new colleagues at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy to recruit a postdoctoral research fellow who would focus on System Dynamics modeling, systems thinking and public policy. I have written to a number of friends and colleagues about this new position and I decided I would share the information in this venue as well. My ltter follows.

Dear Dormgrandpop Readers,

I wanted to share news of an exciting postdoctoral fellowship opportunity that has recently been announced at the Institute of Water Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. You may have seen the position posted on the System Dynamics Society’s “Career Link” page, but I also wanted to write to you separately. Filling this position is a top priority for the Institute of Water Policy. The Institute is lead by Dr. K.E. Seetharam, who is on leave from a long-term affiliation with the Asian Development Bank, focusing on sustainable urban development and water resources issues. Recently, he was also named to head the newly created Global Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore. His MA studies included work in System Dynamics modeling with Khalid Saeed. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Seetharam during a two week stay in Singapore this October and was greatly impressed by his vision, leadership ability and commitment to systems thinking. The postdoctoral fellow will play a key role in initiatives that are intended to ramp up both teaching and research, emphasizing systems thinking and system Dynamics Modeling applied to sustainable development issues, at the Lee Kuan Yew School.

That one of the top public policy schools in the world, located at a hub of Asian Development, is taking such an initiative at this time should be good news for all members of the System Dynamics modeling community and for those concerned with broadening the impact of systems thinking more generally. However I also have a personal interest. I have been offered and have accepted a six month Visiting Professorship, beginning in January. The position will provide me an opportunity to help move this initiative forward, under Dr. Seetharam’s leadership. Playing a role in identifying candidates for the postdoctoral fellowship which, for an outstanding candidate, could be upgraded to a Visiting Assistant Professorship, is one way that I am seeking to help. I will also be seeking to draw lessons about sustainable development and sustainable poverty alleviation from Singapore’s long-term development experience, using System Dynamics modeling.

The fellow to be hired will be collaborating with me on this work and there will be additional support from graduate students, working part-time. I anticipate that the project will extend over a longer term than the upcoming six month period that I will be in residence. Eventually we hope to apply the lessons learned throughout Asia and, if appropriate, more widely. I full well realize, of course, that there are many, including yourself, who might well be better qualified to play this role. Fortunately for me, however it would appear that Seetharam and others saw my interest in deepening understanding of Singapore’s development, using System Dynamics modeling, during a sabbatical year, as a serendipitous target of opportunity.

The position description follows. I have also attached a copy as a separate document.

My best wishes to you and your families for the holidays.


Research Fellow (Systems Thinking for Public Policy) at the Institute of Water Policy (IWP), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

The position provides an excellent opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research in the application of systems thinking and dynamic modeling of public policy, with an emphasis on urban development, particularly in Asia. The fellow is expected to play a key role in a project that will use System Dynamics modeling to learn from urban development success stories, especially Singapore. Drawing, in particular, on work of the Asian Development Bank, urbanization in Asia is seen as a Yin Yang dynamic. While urban growth and especially the growth of megacities is viewed as problematic, it is also in cities that the economic future of Asia will inevitably be shaped. Cities must, be the engines of economic growth, creativity innovation and revitalization if looming development challenges now on the horizon are to be dealt with effectively. The project’s goal is to design development trajectories and public policies leading to urban communities that are beautiful, livable, sustainable, resilient and that interact symbiotically with their environments. In addition to participating in the research program of the Institute, the fellow will also have some opportunity to pursue independent research so long as the contributions to knowledge and delivered outputs are of a high standard. The candidate will also be expected to participate in some of the teaching and outreach programs of the Institute in the area of system dynamics modeling.


The position will be full-time for 1 year, with possibility of renewal depending on the quality of work. Compensation is negotiable and will be competitive, based on the candidate’s qualifications, experience and track record. Housing and round-trip transportation to Singapore may be provided.

General Requirements

The successful candidate will be an accomplished researcher. He/She should have a strong background in systems thinking and system dynamics modeling. Added assets are experience with seeking and managing research grants, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and experience in research collaboration where currently employed.

Essential Qualifications & Requirements

PhD in a relevant discipline with a strong background and competency in system dynamics

High level of competency in one of the three following system dynamics modeling software: STELLA/iThink or Vensim or Powersim.

Reasonable background and skills in quantitative modeling, statistical/econometric analysis

Broad understanding of public policy issues of one or more Asian economies and background. Background in urban development and environmental sustainability, with a particular emphasis on water resource management and policy will be a desirable qualification but is not absolutely essential.

Publications in reputed journals, presentations at international conferences, and experience in seeking and managing research grants

Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills

Application Procedure

Please submit the following documents electronically to Bernard Tan at .

Curriculum vita and a one page professional resume

Statement of qualifications covering the areas listed below.

A 250 word note presenting your views on urban development issues and the role you would see yourself playing at the Lee Kuan Yew School.

Questions about the position should be addressed to Bernard Tan as well. He will forward them to the appropriate individual for a response.



The listing that follows describes the qualifications and experience we are seeking in applicants for this position and the documentation we ask that candidates provide in support of their applications.

PHD degree - Please provide your dissertation title, the year your degree was awarded, the institution from which it was received and the name of your supervisor.

Evidence of skills in quantitative modeling, especially System Dynamics modeling, plus reasonable knowledge of and skills in other quantitative/modeling methods such as statistics, econometrics, and/or mathematical programming – provide information on courses completed, practical work and publications, if any.

Knowledge of a range of policy areas and related disciplines including, for example water, energy, agriculture, environment, applied economics, population and urban development – provide information on courses completed, practical work and publications, if any.

Broad understanding of public policy issues in one or more Asian economies – provide information on courses completed, practical work and publications, if any.

Publications – please provide a listing, with complete citations of published work covering at least the period from 2006-2009. Feel free to include earlier works if you wish.

Experience in seeking and managing research grants – please provide details including dates, the size of the grant, the scope of work, a description of your role and the results produced.

Experience in research collaboration within or outside of the institution at which you are currently employed – please provide details of the collaborations, the names of collaborators and results produced.

Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills – if you wish, you may provide further evidence of such skills to the degree that you feel they are not adequately addressed in the materials provided above.

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