hands solving a puzzle

Establishing and growing a successful systems thinking research group

Welcome to a seminar in informatics organized by the Linnaeus University Systems Community field of knowledge.

Title: Establishing and growing a successful systems thinking research group

Lecturer: Gerald Midgley, international guest professor at the Department of Informatics, Linnaeus University

Organizer: Linnaeus University Systems Community


Twice, at different points in his career, Gerald Midgley has contributed to new systems research groups that gained strong national and international reputations very swiftly (in both cases, in less than five years). In the early 1990s, he was a relatively junior researcher, but witnessed how the professors in the group established the Centre for Systems Studies (CSS) at the University of Hull. CSS has now played a leading role in the international research community for twenty-eight years. In the other case, he was a Senior Science Leader in a New Zealand government research institute. There, he used systems approaches to facilitate strategic planning and organizational design for a fully self-funded Social Systems Group doing projects to inform national and local policy-making.

Both cases were different from the situation in which researchers at Linnaeus University find themselves, so it’s not advisable to see them as ‘recipes’ for success that can be followed without adaptation, but nevertheless lessons can be learned from these two experiences (and indeed from Gerald’s other roles in leading Business School research at Hull, plus the fourth-largest PhD programme in the UK). In this seminar, Gerald will explain some of the successes, challenges and failures he has witnessed during his research career, and will draw out potential lessons for Linnaeus University.