Systems science

Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition

GLOBE is undertaking research to understand how formal systems science methods can continue to build deeper and more meaningful insights into how complex problems work, and how we can understand and navigate the many possible solutions that might address them.

Systems science is a diverse and exciting field, comprising many separate but complementary methods, each of which can help us understand different aspects of complex problems.

From understanding and simulating the complex, interconnected causes of a problem (system dynamics) to examining how the structure of groups, networks, and collaborations can be changed by, or can cause changes in health outcomes (network analysis), to computer simulations of systems and the ways in which people interact with them (agent-based modelling), systems science provides a range of insights.

As we explore new directions in systems thinking, we’re building research projects that examine how these formal systems science methods can be used to rapidly analyse how systems are responding to intervention, and what this may mean for quality improvement and optimisation of interventions as they are being delivered.

  • Active Geelong

    Active Geelong convenes a network of organisations, employers and civic leaders with the goal of making Geelong Australia’s most active city.

    In 2019, Active Geelong brought together a network of local physicians who were interested in exploring their role in promoting healthier lifestyles to their patients to promote better health over the life course.

    Merging systems mapping, machine learning, and a multi-site trial across 13 GP clinics around Geelong and the Surf Coast, this project developed a process to bring a focused group through a systems-mapping and action-prioritisation process, supported by an AI-led optimisation study to test the real-world effectiveness of the actions identified by the participating physicians.