DMDU Society 2020 Elections

This November the DMDU Society will elect a new leadership team. We encourage you to participate by voting and by running for office.

Warren Walker has agreed to chair our elections committee.  Nominations for leadership positions have been closed on November 5.  The list of candidates for each position can be found below, and the candidate’s statements can be found below.  The elections will be held online from Monday, Nov 16 through Sunday, Nov 29, as presented in the table below.

ActivityDeadline
Deadline for candidate statementsNov 5
Announce candidatesNov 9
Hold electionsNov 16 to 29
Share election resultsDec 2
Leadership handoverJan 2, 2021

How to Vote

You should have received an e-mail with a link to the election webpage if you were a society member before November 16th. If you are unable to find this e-mail, please contact the society administrator Andrea Abler at aabler at rand dot org and we will re-send the link to your e-mail.

Elections Rules

The leadership team is elected for a two-year term beginning in January 2021. This will be an exciting election, because four members of your leadership team have served their two allowed terms so cannot run for those positions again. In particular, I will be stepping down from the leadership team after having had the honor of serving as the president of our DMDU Society. My colleagues who cannot run again for their incumbent positions are eligible to run for other positions and four members of the leadership team can run for another term.

Eight positions will be on our November ballot:

  • President (currently Rob Lempert, stepping down)
  • Vice-President (currently Jan Kwakkel, cannot run again for this position)
  • Communications & Outreach Chair (currently Pedro Lima)
  • Education & Training Chair (currently Steven Popper, cannot run again for this position)
  • Career Development Chair (currently Julie Rozenberg)
  • Membership Chair (currently Sadie McEvoy)
  • Society Funding Chair (currently vacant)
  • Rules & Processes Chair (currently Rebecca Smith, cannot run again for this position)

Each of these positions is described below and on the nominations form.

In addition to a new leadership team, we will also be asking the membership to vote on a proposed change to the Society’s Rules and Processes. The proposed amendment would make the Society Administrator a position appointed by the new Society president, rather than an elected position (currently held by Andrea Abler). This change would ensure a continued strong working relationship between the President and Administrator.

We would also like to draw your attention to the position of Society Funding Chair, which is currently vacant. We are particularly interested in filling this position and encourage you to contact me if you have any interest.

Thanks again for the opportunity to serve as Society President. Please consider participating in the next generation of leadership of our Society.

Thanks!

Yours,

Rob Lempert & your leadership team

Summary of positions up for election

TitleDescription of ResponsibilityNotes
PresidentLeads, oversees, and coordinates across the Society’s numerous functions, monitors and evaluates the Society’s progress towards its goals, represents the Society to external audiences, and is a key point of contact and engagement.President and Vice President may not be from the same institution.
Vice PresidentServes in place of the President when necessary, supports the President in executing responsibilities, and may take lead responsibility in certain areas, as needed and agreed upon with the President.President and Vice President may not be from the same institution.
Chair, MembershipMaintains membership roster. Identifies gaps in membership and opportunities for growing the Society strategically.
Chair, Communications and OutreachMaintains periodic communication with members and external audiences. With Membership Chair, identifies and develops new modes of engaging with members and external audiences.
Chair, Career DevelopmentIdentifies and shares proposal, grant, employment, and professional development opportunities.
Chair, Education and TrainingIdentifies and develops education and training opportunities for the Society’s members, particularly for a new generation of decision makers and analysts.
Chair, Rules and ProcessesEstablishes and documents rules and processes necessary for smooth, transparent, and consistent functioning year-to-year, and is in charge of the process of amending and changing the rules and processes.
Chair, Society FundingHelps manage the Society’s finances and fund-raising for the Society

Candidates

PresidentJan Kwakkel, Delft University of Technology

I have been a founding member of the society and have served in the leadership team from day 1. Since its inception, the society has grown substantially in size as well as in activities. Behind the scenes initiatives are being developed to further scale up our education and outreach, as well as to make the longer-term future of the society sustainable. I would like to serve the society as president focusing on these two key issues.

Profile: Jan Kwakkel is an associate professor at Delft University of Technology. His research focusses on the development and testing of methods and techniques for supporting decision making under deep uncertainty. He contributed to the development of dynamic adaptive policy pathways, as well as the use of various versions of many-objective robust decision making for designing policy pathways. He applies his research in a wide variety of domains including climate adaptation, flood risk management, supply chain management, transport, and national safety and security. He is the lead developer of the exploratory modelling workbench, a python library implementing virtually all key computational techniques for supporting decision making under deep uncertainty. He has served as the vice president of the DMDU society over the last 4 years, and before that was one of the founding members of the society. He also co-chaired both the 2015 and 2019 annual meeting. He is a member of the editorial board of Environmental Modelling and Software, and Futures and Foresight Science.

Vice PresidentPatrick Reed, Cornell University

I am volunteering to serve as the Vice President of DMDU to aid the Society’s continued growth in terms of membership and translational impacts for real world challenges. Since its inception, I have benefitted from the service of my colleagues and the community itself in establishing a broad network of members that bridge researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders. If elected, I am happy to sustain and grow these benefits for our existing and potentially new members. DMDU has the opportunity to strengthen its methodological innovations, training activities, and connections to sister communities with common interests in improving the robustness of positive societal outcomes.

Profile: I have been active in the DMDU community since its inception. My research group’s software and published work related to Many-Objective Robust Decision Making and Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways has found broad interest and use in the community. I have established a curriculum and research program at Cornell University that has steadily supported educational as well as research advances through graduate courses, open-source software tool development, and community training efforts. We have been fortunate over the last several years to have worked closely with a broad range of stakeholders across industrial, governmental, and municipal applications. My group has also sought to contribute and extend broad DMDU taxonomies and reviews that aid in understanding current weaknesses and opportunities in our methodological approaches.

Vice PresidentNidhi Kalra, RAND Corporation

I had the great privilege of leading our community from 2013-2015, hosting our first two workshops and coordinating us in 2015 into the Society. I seek the honor of serving the Society again with a fresh vision. Two experiences guide me. First, I was senior policy adviser to U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, which underscored both the importance and the challenge of bringing our expertise to the highest policymakers. Second this year’s unprecedented global disruption reinforces the need for our way of thinking in every sector.

My vision is to boldly and humbly expand our reach to (a) top policy makers around the world, (b) to other sectors that need DMDU, including criminal justice reform, public health, education, financial markets, and emerging technology, and (c) to the public. I will execute this vision with the Society’s leadership and members through targeted and creative outreach, including tailored webinars, inviting members from other communities to ours, facilitating our community’s publications in a broader range of outlets, and placing our work in popular media.

There are so many critical opportunities for DMDU to make our communities more resilient in the pandemic and post-pandemic world. I believe our Society can lead the way.

Profile: I am a senior information scientist at RAND and previously served as director of RAND’s San Francisco Bay Area office and co-director of RAND’s Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty. My research focuses on autonomous vehicle policy, climate change adaptation, and tools and methods that help people and organizations make better decisions amid deep uncertainty. I spearhead RAND’s autonomous vehicle policy work and am the lead author of the study “Driving to Safety: How Many Miles of Driving Would It Take to Demonstrate Autonomous Vehicle Reliability? (2016)” and co-author of the flagship report “Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers (2016).” I am committed to using my expertise to further evidence-based policy making and have testified on autonomous vehicle policy at three congressional hearings.

In 2018, I served as senior technology policy adviser to U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris. In 2013, as a senior decision scientist in the Office of the Chief Economist of Sustainable Development at the World Bank, I helped launch the World Bank’s portfolio in decision making under deep uncertainty.

I developed educational technology tools to promote literacy among blind children in India, a project that went on to receive the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation. I received my Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

Membership ChairSadie McEvoy, Deltares

The quality of our membership is central to the value of our society’s meetings and community. As the membership chair for the past two years, I have focused on increasing the diversity of our membership in terms of the geographic representation of our members and their stage of career development, as well as in the disciplines and sectors represented by members. Diversity on these fronts supports the society’s strategic objectives to engage new sectors and locales, and to push the boundaries of science and practice to foster the co-production of knowledge across disciplines.

To support these aims, I have organized “meet-ups” at international conferences and promoted diversity in the topics and participants represented in our annual meeting through my role on the meeting’s steering committee in 2018 and the organizing committee in 2019.

Covid-19 brings new challenges for keeping our members connected, but it is also an opportunity for encouraging new members to participate through virtual meetings, trainings and outreach activities.

Profile: I am a researcher at the Dutch knowledge institute, Deltares. My work focuses on climate adaptation planning in water resources, urban water and coastal systems. My interests lie in applying DMDU methods in collaborative planning and decision-making processes and in integrating spatial implications of uncertainty into DMDU methods and their applications.

Communications and Outreach Chair – Antonia Hadjimichael, Cornell University

The mission statement of our Society puts forth two main avenues through which its future vision shall be achieved: service and dissemination. As a service organization, the DMDU Society needs to maintain its growth and establish a thriving community where members share knowledge, network and collaborate. As a disseminating organization, the Society needs to continue spreading its vision to new sectors and disciplines and achieve wide-spread adoption of best practices for decision making under deep uncertainty.

I believe Communications are central to both these roles. I have enjoyed contributing to the Society’s outreach efforts as a volunteer member of the Communications team. As Chair of Communications and Outreach, I would like to continue this work and expand our online presence. I aim to enhance the current channels we use to communicate recent advances by the Society’s members, as well as introduce new channels of dissemination. One such means could be a series of “highlight” articles on some of the Society’s recent work. These communications could serve to amplify our member’s work and at the same time garner interest for our Society and its meetings. I would be especially excited to use such channels to highlight early-career members and typically underrepresented minorities.

Profile: I am currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell University and my work contributes to both the development of DMDU methodology and its application to real-world decision-making problems. As such, I maintain a close interest and engagement with the community’s publications and advancements, which I plan to apply in the Communications team’s efforts in these two upcoming years. As a current member of the Communications team, under the leadership of Pedro Nascimento de Lima, I am already familiar with the Society’s internal and external communication channels. Lastly, I also serve as a member of the Facilitation Team for the newly established MultiSector Dynamics Community of Practice, where I co-lead communications and actively write and distribute newsletters, manage our social media and update our website.

Career DevelopmentJulie Rozenberg, World Bank

I would like to continue the work that I started as chair for Career Development. For the past two years I have helped members of the Society identify work opportunities by reaching out to institutions and sharing job offers or contacts with members through our website. I have also worked on solutions for fostering collaboration between institutions, and between academics and practitioners, hoping that these exchanges could influence each party’s views and work. While the idea I had to encourage temporary assignments in other institutions was hampered by administrative constraints and by the pandemic, I am proposing to instead encourage collaboration through calls for support to the DMDU community, at any stage of a project. This would be inspired by the AGU “Thriving Earth Exchange” through which scientists can work with communities to help them solve problems. Participation would be pro bono, with the hope that the scientists involved can learn from real work problems while the practitioners involved can become more aware of the tools and solutions available to them for decision support. The first concrete example would be participation in a new committee of multilateral development banks who want to learn how to better manage uncertainty in their investment decisions.

Profile: For the past ten years, through my PhD thesis and as an economist at the World Bank, I have contributed to both the body of research on DMDU and their application to complex development issues. I have used the tools developed by members and proposed improvements of these tools in academic papers. I have applied DMDU methods to new research questions, and for decision support in many developing countries, in collaboration with other members of the Society. Besides my technical work, I have been advocating for the use of DMDU methods with international organizations and World Bank donors, I have supported the creation of guidelines on infrastructure planning for resilience, and I have created an online training that explains the main concepts of DMDU on the World Bank Open Learning Campus (available publicly). I have been actively involved in the creation of the DMDU Society and I have stayed involved ever since. I was the main organizer of the annual workshop in 2016 in Washington DC and I was in the organizing committee of the Los Angeles meeting in 2018 and Monterrey meeting in 2020. I also led the “DMDU Checklist” Ad Hoc Committee, which I suggested as a tool that can be used by institutions like the World Bank trying to increase the resilience of their activities to climate change. In my projects I have been a successful mediator between practitioners and academics, and I am hoping to further contribute to the mainstreaming of our methods and concepts.

Education and Training – Edmundo Molina-Pérez, Tecnologico de Monterrey

I believe my current position and experience can be useful to identify and developing educational and training products for society members, practitioners and postgraduate and undergraduate students.

As chair I would focus in the following:

1. Develop educational and training content that is developed through the cooperation of various institutions

2. Developing online materials for students and society members

3. Developing in-person hands-on analysis workshops for practitioners.

4. Developing educational case study materials of real world applications of DMDU methods.

Profile: I am assistant research professor at the School of Government and Public Transformation of Tecnológico de Monterrey. Over the last eight years I have worked on various research projects that apply DMDU methods to complex and deeply uncertain environments, including planning long-term investments for water and energy infrastructure development, climate change mitigation and adaptation. I have carried out this work in various countries, including: the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica and Chile, serving various private and public institutions, such as the World Bank, the IADB, Femsa Foundation, Mexico’s NSF, and various state and federal agencies in these countries. In my current position I have developed various postgraduate and executive education courses on DMDU methods. Finally, I also lead the Decision Making Center of the School of Government and Public Transformation which is a facility specially designed to support DMDU work and research.

Rules and ProcessesTaylor Winchell, Denver Water

This position opening was brought to my attention by the outgoing Rules and Processes Chair, Rebecca Smith. I am excited to apply for this opening as I believe it will be a great way to be more directly involved with DMDU and to ensure that the organization runs smoothly and according to its prevailing guidelines and principles. Additionally, as no organization is static, I will take great care in assisting DMDU in amending and changing rules and processes when necessary.

Profile: My experience includes one year working in Southeast Asia on water and climate change related international development projects, 1.5 years working in water quality management in the San Francisco Bay Area, and since April, 2019, I have been doing long-range water supply planning and climate change adaptation for Denver Water (water supply utility). Prior to these positions, I received a research-based master’s degree in water resources engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering science from the University of California, Berkeley. This combination of education and work experience has been a great

introduction to decision making under deep uncertainty. Particularly, at Denver Water, my role is directed toward making long-term planning decisions (~50-year timescale) that incorporate uncertainty around climate change, population growth, water use values, economic trends, etc. I am excited to bring my experience to the DMDU leadership team and to learn from the experience of others.

Fundraising Steven Popper, RAND Corporation

I have been involved with the Society since before its inception. It is time for new blood to take over. However, in my two terms as chair for education and training it became clear that the very success of our Society is causing strain. Our potential for service to members and outreach to a larger public is profound but constrained by our lack of financial base. To achieve the vision that we have been building towards means stepping up to a level that will require investment. I believe that the service we provide and the specific initiatives we have in mind can receive external support without burdening membership. I would like to put this to the test. It will not be an easy task given near-term prospects and so am willing to take the burden on rather than merely criticize from the sidelines. I have experience with external fundraising as a senior member of RAND’s staff and center associate director. In addition, I worked as a country account officer for a major international bank and have served for two decades as chief operating officer of an independent software design firm. We have never successfully filled this position. I would like to place whatever skills I can bring in service to our Society and toward this objective.

Profile:

STEVEN W. POPPER is a RAND Senior Economist and professor in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His DMDU work began at RAND in the early 1990s and has continued through that channel and as co-founder in 1997 of Evolving Logic which created tailored DMDU tools and applications. These efforts led to the earliest DMDU tools and methods and also reports publicizing initial applications that provided proof-of-principle illustrations of core DMDU concepts. He has conducted DMDU analyses for governments around the world as well as private sector entities.

Prior to becoming Society chair for education and training, Steven taught DMDU courses in Pardee and developed external short courses and web materials for training and education in DMDU concepts and methods. He has advised dissertations that furthered DMDU methods, applications and practice. As Society chair, he initiated and conducted DMDU Training Days, a feature of Society meetings since 2016. Most recently, he has been working with a subcommittee of Society members to develop a program for DMDU distance learning. He is co-editor of Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty: From Theory to Practice the first handbook of DMDU methods. He was chair of the organizing committee for the Society’s annual meeting in Culver City, 2018 and serves on the present committee for Monterrey.

Steven was associate director of the S&T Policy Institute, is an elected AAAS Fellow and served as chair of its section on industrial S&T, was a country account at Bank of America and is currently on the international advisory board for the Universal Foresight initiative.

Fundraising – Leena Ilmola-Sheppard, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Fundraising is naturally supporting the economy of the Society, but it is also a way to build up a close relationship with societies around us and in the best of the cases the constant dialogue will keep us informed about the wicked problems that our members do not meet in their working environments.

Profile: I have an entrepreneurial background (established three companies and sold them). Fundraising has been one of my key tasks in IIASA.

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