RSS03.22 Facilitating Group Model Building to support the Sustainable Development Goals

The world is becoming increasingly complex. International organizations such as the UN, WHO, OECD, and EU now point to the need for systems analysis to correct policies that have failed to produce sustainable developments. Scientists and practitioners often lack the conceptual tools to analyze dynamic complexity. Systems analysis with System Dynamics (SD) has a keen focus on providing basic understanding of how social and natural systems work. As an alternative, more user-friendly tools and techniques simplify the otherwise demanding analysis too much.

System Dynamics Since SD is problem oriented, it is by default interdisciplinary and thus contributes to transversal competencies that are not job or sector specific. While SD studies have contributed to systems thinking, and will do so in our project, SD should not be confused with simplified systems thinking.

Radboud University has a long tradition in using System Dynamics as participatory intervention method. Radboud is internationally recognized as a leader in the facilitated approach to System Dynamics, called Group Model Building. Group model building is a method to develop System Dynamics models in a participatory way.

This summer course is interesting for both researchers, consultants and practitioners who want to focus on facilitating Group Model Building, and/or know more about system dynamics and group model building and how it can help understand complexity in light of the SDGs. Preparation will be done by going through tailor made, online materials in an online environment. This will form the backbone of the on-campus facilitation focus during the summer school. Participants will actively prepare and perform a group model building session, take various roles within GMB sessions, jointly reflect on process and product, the use of GMB and reporting on GMB outcomes.


3 July 2023 - 7 July 2023
Course Fee

Regular: €1500
Students & PhDs: €500

Early Bird Regular: €1350 (application deadline* April 1st) 
Early Bird Students & PhDs: €450 (application deadline* April 1st)

Scholarships and discounts Find more information here
Application deadline

May 1st

*Your application is only completed when the course fee has been paid

Course leader Dr. Merel van der Wal
Level of participant
  • PhD
  • Postdoc
  • Professional; Policy maker, Civil servant
Admission requirements Some elementary experience with complex decision making is required. This can be in the form of working experience, or working with groups in a participatory setting/facilitating role. Additionally, participants are urged to also have a case in mind they would like to work on, being an inter-organisational problem, or a complex issue relating to the UN’s SDGs.
Admission documents
  • Motivation letter
  • CV
Mode of Study On Campus
Location RSS