EVA: Complementary Modules 2019-20

Complementary modules organized by all institutions participating in the MSE.

Please note:

  • The number of inscriptions is typically restricted
  • Please consider the status field: only modules with "registration open" status can be booked
  • Module inscriptions have to be made via your advisor to the contact person as specified in the offering
Title: System Dynamics Simulation of Socio-Technological Transitions
Short Code: EVA_SimTec
ECTS Credits: 3
Organizer Details: ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering Institute of Sustainable Development (INE), Winterthur, Switzerland

Oral assignment (group presentation of models and simulation results) / evaluation sheet (40%)

Written assignment (group work report) / evaluation sheet (60%)

Decision Date: 14 February 2020 
Start Date: 21 February 2020 
End Date: 29 May 2020 
Date Details:

Workshop 1: date KW8, 09.00-17.30 hrs (Kick-off)

Workshop 2: date KW9, 09.00-17.30 hrs

Workshop 3: date KW14/15, 09.00-17.30 hrs

Workshop 4: date KW22, 09.00-17.30 hrs (Presentation Day)


Four full-day workshops (teaching, in-class activities and group work progress meetings; total 30 hours) separated by independent self-study immersion and small group work periods (total 60 hours).

In-class attendance is required and compulsory.


Teaching is generally in English.

Student presentations and group work reports may be given/submitted in English or German.

Description (max. 300 characters):

Technological (eco-) innovations are crucial for entrepreneurs to stay competitive and to satisfy societal needs in a sustainable manner, if they were used widely. Successful marketing of (eco-) technologies requires clear understanding of the impact of organizational and economic decision contexts. This EVA introduces and applies system dynamics modelling as a helpful tool for the analysis of the complex socio-economic interactions influencing the market success of (eco-) technologies supporting socio-technical transitions to sustainability.

It includes designing and simulation of socio-technical system architectures, strategy and policy evaluation as well as sensitivity analyses. Graphical user interfaces (GUI) are introduced (or built) for scenario and strategy evaluation.

Contents and Learning Objectives:


In this Module, the students will

  • gain competences in understanding the conceptual approach to system dynamics modelling of socio-technical system architectures
  • develop and apply strategy, scenario experiments or sensitivity analysis for future oriented system analysis
  • acquire insights into the barriers and drivers of technological (eco-) innovations and socio-technical transitions
  • apply successfully tools and software (e.g. Vensim, Forio epicenter, Visual Basics for Applications)


Workshop 1: Introduction into concepts of socio-technical transitions and System Dynamics Modelling based on successful small models and applications in case studies and flight simulators.

Workshop 2: Developing own simulation models or adjusting existing model structures (respecting the system dynamics modelling competence level of the students).

Workshop 3: Designing strategy, scenario experiments and sensitivity analysis, developing GUI.

Workshop 4: Presentation of small group works, debriefing.

Admission: Bachelor of Science (or equivalent), English language skills.

Ulli-Beer, S. (ed., 2013). Dynamic Governance of Energy Technology Change: Socio-technical transitions towards sustainability. Series: Sustainability and Innovation. Springer-Verlag Heidelberg, 252p.

Kubli, Merla; Ulli-Beer, Silvia (2016). Decentralisation dynamics in energy systems: A generic simulation of network effects. Energy Research & Social Science, 13: 71-83.

Sterman, J. Business Dynamics (2000), Irwin McGrew-Hill.

Further literature and websites will be provided during the Module.


All Workshops are conducted at Technopark Winterthur. Weblink:

https://www.zhaw.ch/storage/shared/hochschule/lageplaene/lageplan-winterthur-lagerplatz-stadt-mitte.pdf (building LT or LN).

The venue can easily be reached by public transport
(10 min on foot from Winterthur railway station).


Dr. Silvia Ulli-Beer, ullb@zhaw.ch

Juliana Zapata, zapt@zhaw.ch

Kubli Merla, kubm@zhaw.ch

Vicente Carabias, cahu@zhaw.ch

Contact Person E-Mail: ullb@zhaw.ch
Status: registration open
Specialization: Business Engineering and Production (BEP)

Energy and Environment (EE)

Industrial Technologies (InT)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Civil Engineering & Building Technology (CEBT)

Geomatics (GEO)

Spatial Development & Landscape Architecture (SDLA)


[Responsible for this text: Vicente Carabias-Hütter]