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avatar for Ray Ison

Ray Ison

Systems for Sustainability at the Monash Sustainability Institute (MSI), and Professor of Systems, The Open University UK (OU)
Professor
Ray Ison is Professor of Systems for Sustainability at the Monash Sustainability Institute (MSI), and Professor of Systems, The Open University UK (OU). He is internationally recognized for his Systems scholarship that draws on second-order cybernetics and the biology of cognition and for developing and pioneering the use of Mode-2 modalities of research practice e.g. systemic inquiry. His research is relevant to how we act in a climate change world e.g. ‘Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World’ (Springer), is his latest book. Through his research, teaching and consultancy he has made significant contributions in the areas of systemic governance, systems practice and social learning, systemic environmental decision making, ‘knowledge transfer’, design of learning/inquiring systems and agricultural/food systems. His research and scholarship has found practical application in diverse fields including water management, organizational change, staff induction, Higher Education reform, food security and rural development. His recent work with colleagues elucidates through empirical, theoretical and systemic-design research how social learning could be employed as an alternative governance mechanism for managing in complex, or ‘wicked’ situations, particularly water catchments and other multiple stakeholder settings such as climate change adaptation. He also pioneered metaphor research in the field on natural resources management beginning in the early 1990s. He is responsible at present within the CADWAGO project (http://www.cadwago.net/ ) for a work package on systemic governance and leads the Systemic Governance Research Program in MSI (http://monash.edu/sustainability-institute/programs-initiatives/systemic-governance-research/ ); at the OU is co- responsible for managing a post-graduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP). He is the current President of the ISSS (International Society for the Systems Sciences). Ray headed the OU Systems Department (1995-8; 25 academic staff) then from 2000-04 successfully coordinated a major interdisciplinary 5th Framework program (30 researchers, 6 countries) researching social learning for sustainable river catchment management as well as running an EPSRC funded Systems Practice for Managing Complexity Network. His contributions to systemic governance research began with pioneering work on participatory natural resource management (1985). He is the (co) author or (co) editor of 5 books, 35 book chapters, 120 refereed papers, 60+ other publications, 5 journal special editions and has been an invited Keynote speaker at many international and national conferences. He has had a wide range of significant national and international appointments based on his academic standing.