Understanding the Grand Challenges in Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling

Expanding the development and use of socio-environmental system (SES) models is critical to solving urgent problems situated at the human-nature interface. Substantial progress is being made, but modeling challenges associated with a range of diverse issues remain. Broadly these challenges include those associated with building teams, using data, dealing with uncertainty, influencing policy, and more.

In this video, Dr. Sondoss Elsawah, of the University of New South Wales, Canberra, presents the key challenges involved in modeling complex socio-environmental systems, as well as past and current efforts to overcome them. Specifically, Elsawah covers the challenges inherent to:

  1. Bridging epistemological boundaries
  2. Applying an integrated treatment to uncertainty
  3. Combining methods and data
  4. Dealing with scale and scaling
  5. Capturing structural changes
  6. Integrating the human dimension
  7. Elevating the adoption of SES models and impact on policy
  8. Leveraging new data types and sources

This video is based on the article, “Eight grand challenges in socio-environmental systems modeling,” published by Elsawah and colleagues in 2020. This video originally aired at the beginning of a webcast titled, Understanding Grand Challenges in Socio-Environmental Modeling, which also included the perspectives of three well-known scholars, Jan Bakkes, John B. Robinson, Jill Jäger, and Detlef van Vuuren.