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RSD12-Loughborough: Synergy between Sciences


systems science, design science, citizen science, and data science

Hosted by Loughborough University | October 13 & 14, 2023 | Loughborough Campus, East Midlands, UK

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, the integration of multiple disciplines has become essential to address complex challenges in climate, healthcare, energy, advanced technologies, to name a few. Our hub will bring together researchers and practitioners who are interested in exploring the synergy between systems science, design science, citizen science and data science and their potential to solve complex challenges facing our societies.

The hub will feature a keynote speech, paper presentations, workshops and panel discussions by leading researchers, practitioners, and scholars from the UK and beyond. The topics of discussion will include the combination of two or more of the following fields:

  • Systems science in designing and managing complex systems
  • Design science in developing innovative solutions to societal problems
  • Citizen science in engaging communities in research and decision-making
  • Data science in extracting insights and knowledge from complex data sets

We look forward to welcoming you to this exciting event and exploring the potential of synergies between these fields and beyond.

Call for Contributions | Deadline for abstracts May 31 | Complete submissions due June 15 | Registration coming soon

Figure: Mapping systemic design to systems thinking, design, data science, and citizen science. Source: RSD12-Loughborough Organisers.

RSD12-Loughborough Setting

Policymakers, researchers, practitioners and students are invited to participate in this exciting transdisciplinary two-day systemic design symposium.

RSD12-LOUGHBOROUGH is organised by a team of researchers/practitioners from Loughborough University, who are responsible for programming and planning the event. The two-day symposium will be held on the Loughborough University campus, centrally located in the East Midlands and easily accessible by rail and road.

School of Design and Creative Arts

  • Professor Thomas Jun (socio-technical system design)
  • Dr Cecilia Landa-Avila (systemic design)
  • Professor Patrick Waterson (human factors and complex systems)
  • Dr Marianna Coulentianos (socially-engaged design)
  • Dr Val Mitchell (UX design)
  • Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello (sustainable design)
  • Dr Garrath Wilson (experience design)
  • Dr Shichao Zhao (digital creativity)
  • Dr Simon Downs (graphic communication)
  • Dr George Torrens (industrial design)

School of Business and Economics

  • Dr Antuela Tako (operations research)
  • Professor Ian Hodgkinson (strategic decision-making)

School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

  • Dr Melanie King (systems engineering)
  • Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard (systems engineering)
  • Dr Siyuan Ji (systems engineering)
  • Dr Mey Goh (transdisciplinary digital manufacturing)
  • Professor Michael Henshaw (systems engineering)

FOCUS: Synergy between systems-, design-, citizen-, and data science

The RSD12 call for contributions is now open and accepting submissions for  papers, online workshops, and exhibits related to the topic, “synergy between systems science, design science, citizen science, and data science.”

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, describes the imperative for this focus area.

To stay ahead of these crises, we need to understand where we are and where we are headed, and that will require significant investment in our data and information infrastructure. Policies, programmes and resources aimed at proceeding people during this most challenging time will inevitably fall short without the evidence needed to focus interventions. Timely, high-quality and disaggregated data can help trigger more targeted responses, anticipate future needs, and hone the design of urgently needed actions. To emerge stronger from the crisis and prepare for unknown challenges ahead, funding statistical development must be a priority for national governments and the international community. (Sustainable Goals Report 2022, p. 3)

Looking for synergies between systems science, design science, citizen science, and data science is critical. Therefore, this focus area seeks systemic design projects with elements of one or several disciplines to build evaluative and foresight capabilities for complex problems. Contributions on this topic may address questions such as:

  • How can we foster and sustain (un)conventional collaboration across disciplines and actors?
  • How can we foster fair citizen engagement to contribute to the understanding of complex issues and systemic change?
  • How can we develop wisdom from big data to shape what we do now and what we want to achieve in the future?
  • How can we develop collective sense-making, collective decision-making and collective change-making?


United Nations. (2022). The Sustainable Development Goals Report. Editor: Lois Jensen.



Barba, E. (2021). Tensions between systemic design and systems engineering.

Luna, B. (2022). Building a Systemic Designer’s Library: Borrowing from multiple disciplines to develop systemic design mental models.

Cattabriga, A. (2022). Systemic Relational Insights: A new hybrid intelligence approach to make sense of complex problems.

Lomas. D., Patek, N. and Forlizzi, J. (2021). Designing Data-informed Intelligent Systems to Create Positive Impact.

Marines Hernández, L.E. (2018). Mapping Disciplinary Mobility for Tackling Complex Problems.

Fitzpatrick, H. and Luthe, T. (2022). Boundaries as Connection Points: Expanding systemic design methodologies through an “elastic toggling” process.

D’Silva, F. (2022). Verksted—A Networked Space for Collaborative Sense-Making

Mozuni, M., Ohlhoff, M., and Glatzel, G. (2021). Option Evaluation in Multi-disciplinary Strategic Design.


Lockton, D. et al. (2022). Playing With The Trouble: Exploring (mini)games for interdisciplinary connections.


Yang W. (2021). There Is a Me in Us and We: Understanding Selfishness in Transdisciplinary Collaborations Among Design Students to Facilitate Sustainability Outcomes


The RSD12-LOUGHBOROUGH-GBR organisers are:


The programme and schedule are in development. In the meantime, you can add this reminder to your calendar.

October 13 to October 14 #RSD12


The budget and participant fee schedule are in development.

About the organisers

Thomas Jun is a design educator/system scientist/participatory design facilitator and an animation/film producer working in human-centred design, healthcare system design and system safety. He co-founded a Human Factors and Complex Systems Research Group and currently leads an AI development for multiple long-term conditions project and the Systemsthinking lab.

Cecilia Landa-Avila is interested in delving into the complexity of contemporary global challenges to transition towards equitable, just and sustainable health and well-being societies. Her research interest stands at the intersections of systems thinking, participatory/shared-power design and design for equity and decolonisation.

Loughborough University
Red brick building and fountain on Loughborough University campus

Photo: Loughborough University Campus. Source: Loughborough University

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The scholar’s spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholar's spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


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