Citizen’s Health through public-private Initiatives: Public health, Market and Ethical Perspectives (CHIP ME)

Dr Diane Payne is appointed member of the Management Committee for the new COST Action IS1303 "Citizen’s Health through public-private Initiatives: Public health, Market and Ethical Perspectives" (CHIP ME). The Action was recently funded to tackle how public and private initiatives ought to work together to tackle the challenges posed in personalised medicine by the rapid changes in genome sequencing technologies and costs. The public health care system will increasingly be asked to provide interpretation and counselling relating to genetic information that has been generated privately and to satisfy the legitimate curiosity of participants in large-scale population genetic research. Existing ethical and regulatory frameworks may not be suitable to allow an efficient and ethical meeting of demand and supply of genetic knowledge and health, as well as a virtuous interaction between public and private actors. This Action aims to improve the state of the art by creating a community of researchers and stakeholders which will bring together critical expertise in bioethics, social studies of science and technology, genetic technology, information and communication technology (ICT), stakeholder deliberation, and patient centred initiatives (PCI). COST Action webpage


AUTHENTIC -Autonomic Home Area Network Infrastructure

The Dynamics Lab at UCD Geary  is participating in a major research programme led by UCD Clarity ( The overall project is funded by Enterprise Ireland and is part of the IERC strategic research area on Home Area Networks. This project seeks to design and deliver a Home Area Network (HAN) infrastructure capable of supporting opportunistic decision making pertaining to effective energy management within the home ( The Dynamics Lab will use an Agent Based Modelling (ABM) approach which can simulate and test various realistic alternatives for domestic energy user behaviour and outcomes within the Home Area Network Infrastructure. The ABM will draw on the insights from the behavioural research approach within the social sciences which is very useful with regard to modelling decision making under various conditions of bounded rationality and social learning. The ABM models will be calibrated and tested through empirical data collection in a number of representative households during the course of this research. This research will provide insights as to how individuals can be incentivised over time in order to adopt new and more efficient energy use behaviour in the home and how those behavioural decisions can be maintained over the medium term.


PatNet  :Exploring Social Media for improved Learning, Healthcare Management and Intervention in Patient groups in Ireland

There is relatively little systematic research to date on the use and impact of social media in healthcare management, how health care professional and patients behave through interaction in social media forums and how these new lateral forms of information diffusion impact on individual healthcare practitioner learning and decision making. This research project will first map the network structure and actor attributes over time of one or more selected on-line patient groups. Second, it will develop cross-sectional and longitudinal network models to explore the importance of individual behavioural attributes and network structures for different type of information diffusion and learning behaviours across patients and professionals via the social media usec. It will aim to study the impact of social media on the adoption rate (innovation) of a new “treatment” (e.g medication, therapy, etc) in the patient group over time. This project is led by Dr Diane Payne at the Dynamics Lab and the post doctoral researcher is Dr Nasim Mahmud. This project is funded under the UCD Strategic and Major Initiatives Scheme 2012.



Dynamics of Innovative Healthcare Delivery: A social network approach.

This project is led by Dr Diane Payne at the Dynamics Lab and the post-doctoral researcher is Dr Pablo Lucas. The research focuses on the delivery of Irish healthcare provision through the roll-out of Primary Care Teams at the local level. It examines the evolution over time of the social networks underpinning Primary Care Teams. Using a decision network approach, it explores the conditions which might enhance and/or restrict collaboration within Primary Care Teams. This project is part of a larger research programme entitled “Innovation Policy Simulation for the Smart Economy” (IPSE) funded under PRTLI5, Strand 2. (2011-2016).



Innovations in Climate Governance: Sources, Patterns and Effects (INOGOV)

Dr Diane Payne is appointed member of the Management Committee for the new COST Action Innovations in Climate Governance: Sources, Patterns and Effects (INOGOV).  Set against scientific predictions, the current governance responses to climate change are widely perceived to be inadequate. There is a growing perception that climate governance is becoming more polycentric, but far less agreement on how it will be coordinated and where the necessary leadership will originate. This is deeply problematic, because in theory innovative and cost effective policies should prevent losses arising from climate change and better capture any benefits. To address this gap, this Action will help build the capacity for innovating in climate governance by: identifying effective ways of stimulating and diffusing policy and governance innovations; building a stronger evaluation capacity to assess such innovations; and spreading usable knowledge in innovative ways such as via open access course materials. To do all this, it will create a new network of scholars and practitioners that have operated in a fragmented way thus far, specifically those that have focused on the ‘sources’ of policy innovation, those that know about their diffusion (‘patterns’), and those who are able to evaluate their ultimate ‘effects’. This COST Action IS1309  is the perfect vehicle to defragment knowledge of these topics by extracting greater value from and better integrating across previous research investments.



PhD Programme “Simulation Science” (SIMSci (2011-2016)

TCD and UCD have a developed expertise in Simulation Science education. Through the sharing of taught modules, high end computational and data facilities and research projects a joint PhD program in Simulation Science was proposed where the Dynamics Lab is a lead partner of the social science part of the PhD programme CSCS “Complex Systems and Computational Social Science”. The SIMSci PhD Programme is funded  under PRTLI 5, Strand 3 (2011-2016).



Social Networks and Community Responsibility in Management of Natural Resources and Protection of Livelihoods: Reflections from Rural Communities in East Usambara Mountains Tanzania

This research focuses on the conditions under which actors are likely to cooperate (or defect) through establishing transitive and reciprocal relationships along social networks and institutions in local practices of natural resources management among rural communities in East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Working within the field of Social Network Analysis and Relational Sociology, this doctoral research specifically draws on theories of mutual self-interest and collective action as well as network exchange theories. The study particularly seeks to explore mechanisms within social networks which encourage collaboration and exchange across network actors under alternate risk scenarios. In the process, it applies a stochastic actor-oriented model to elaborate and test further hypotheses regarding how networks evolve over time to manage collective action problem. As part of the field work, the research encompasses collection and analysis of three waves of network data. The research is funded under the Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes.

This PhD Fellow Mathew Senga working on this project is awarded a Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in the USA.



COMPON Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks -Irish Study

The project on Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (COMPON) is examining the causes of this inertia by studying the factors that account for cross-national variation in efforts to mitigate climate change. This variation arises from difference in the interaction process between ways of thinking (discourse) and ways of acting (coalitions) in national cases. The data is collected at the level of the organizational field from the full range of domestic and international organizations affecting the national CC policy making or social influence processes. Network data permits a more fine-grained and systematic testing of hypotheses about the social factors that affect the national CC response and decision-making processes. More information on the COMPON project can be found at  The Irish Case Study is funded as a PhD research project under the PRTLI 5, Strand 3 SimSci Programme (see above description)


Collective Decision Modelling and Applications

This research comprises a collection of various case studies of collective decision making in policy networks.The studies focus on collective decision making at local, national and international levels of public policy and insights into the various collective decision processes are provided by the development and/or application of computer simulation modelling techniques. This research primarily involves various types of collaboration with colleagues, including Dr Jacob Dijkstra at the ICS, University of Groningen.


Computational Social Choice -EU COST Action

Dr Diane Payne is appointed member of the Management Committee for the new Action  on Computational Social Choice will address the fundamental new challenges in the design and analysis of methods for collective decision making raised by recent technological advances in areas such as social networks, electronic commerce, webpage ranking, and e-governance. Computational Social Choice is a novel and innovative research trend that is now gathering substantial momentum, especially in the European research arena. It combines methods from Computer Science with insights from Economic Theory. This COST Action will provide a much needed framework for coordinating research efforts in this important new field at the European level. The scientific programme will focus on four thematic areas: (1) voting and elections, (2) fair division, (3) information merging, and (4) matching mechanisms. More details are available at


Evolution of Land Use Policy in Rural China from the Perspective of Complexity

This research is concerned with simulating the changing and adjusting processes of land use policy in rural areas in China from 1949 to present day. Using a agent based modelling approach, this research explores how changes in macro level policy on land use in China is influenced by micro level interaction at different levels and at different stages of the policy and implementation process. This doctoral research is funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC). University College Dublin and the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China have established a unique scholarship scheme to assist Chinese students to pursue postgraduate research in UCD leading to a PhD.





Agent Based Modelling and Micro Simulation Techniques for Public Policy Analysis in Ireland.

The research aim is to build a validated and verified simulated database for the Republic of Ireland and use this database as a means of evaluating the effect of existing policies at the micro level and for developing new tools and techniques which can be applied to this simulated database to test the possible effects of changes in government policy on the population as a whole and specific targeted subgroups. The Irish Department of Education and Skills is providing part support for this doctoral research.