Associate Professor Simon Atkinson
BSc, MPhil, Postdoc (CUED)
Complex Civil Systems Research Group and Project Management
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies
J05 - J05 Civil Engineering Building
The University of Sydney
Simon Reay Atkinson is Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Complex Systems Research Group and Project Management Programme. A Fellow of the IET, he held senior positions as UK Chief of Defence Staff Liaison Officer to the Australian Department of Defence, Capability Development Group; Senior Systems Adviser to UK MoD during the Strategic Defence and Security Review; Cambridge University, Hudson Naval PhD Research Fellow; co-Lead General Petraeus' Command and Control and Knowledge Management Cell, Joint Strategic Assessment Team; Senior Research Fellow / Asymmetrics Director, Advanced Research Assessment Group, UK Defence Academy.
Widely published, his area of expertise is Complex Adaptive Systems, networks, socio-info/techno (Cyber-) systems, network law and System Identification specifically with regard to how people, technology and institutions are gradated, work and are best applied. Twice mentioned in dispatches, he took the UK Aircraft Carrier HMS OCEAN from build as its first systems engineering officer and Head of Department.
Associate Professor Simon Reay Atkinson's research into complex systems has applications as diverse as improving the delivery of humanitarian relief and ensuring that the current global recession does not follow the trajectory of the Great Depression.
"My research involves trying to understand the structures, networks, organisations and institutions of our society at systems level, and identifying and synthesising sustainable systems-level solutions to the problems of our time.
"The applications of this work range from understanding healthcare structures at systems level in order to enhance the delivery of health care in Indigenous communities and the care of injured defence personnel in the field, to designing synthetic ecologies and improving the stability of financial systems, to improving the capture, management and exchange of knowledge and information both within and among organisations.
"With respect to organisational performance, I believe that many of the tools and techniques used over the past 25 years have been misapplied. We need to conceptualise organisations and institutions as coherent, integrated systems and develop new network tools for aiding management.
"Many of the institutions of the 20th century failed during the global financial crisis, and continue to fail. We are currently at a moment of great change, and I believe it's necessary for us to reflect, adapt, design and engineer again - and put humanity back in the loop.
"I am particularly passionate about avoiding the current global recession ending in the way that the Great Depression of the 1930s did. I'm also passionate about providing a viable and sustainable future, particularly for the current 'recession generation' who, in northern Europe, face such immense challenges. In Australia, we have an opportunity to empirically rethink and reframe our institutions and the concepts of a liberal democracy for the 21st century.
"I've been working in this field for more than 12 years. Twelve months ago I joined the University of Sydney, which is quickly gaining recognition as a hub for complex systems research, so this is an exciting and vibrant time to be here."
Teaching and supervision
- Dynamic Social Networks (DSNs) and Adaptive Programme Management (APM)
- Application, scaling and composing of Complex Adaptive Systems
- System and Weak Signal Identification in Influence and Control DSNs
- Socio-Info-Techno / Info-Techno-Socio (Cyber-) Systems Design and Management of Knowledge
- Global / Macro and Local / Micro level Political Sûreté Economic Systems Modelling
- Reflect, Adapt, Design and Engineer (RADER) Dynamic System Modelling and Application
- Chartered Engineer
- Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (previously IEE)
- European Engineer (Eur Ing, FEANI)