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System Dynamics Analyst

IISD Energy Programme, Geneva, Switzerland

Department: Energy

Employment Type: Short term consultancy (10-20 days)

Minimum Experience: Experienced

Position: Short-Term Consultancy

Remuneration will depend on experience.

Location: remote (reporting to IISD in Geneva)

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today—ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

Position Background

The analyst will support the IISD Energy Team, building and expanding on the use of the GSI-IF model.  The GSI-IF model is a systems dynamics model that was created using Vensim to analyze the effects of fossil fuel subsidy reform on greenhouse gas emissions to support national-level reform planning and enable international reporting, particularly in light of planning nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The results have been shared with policy-makers of many of the countries modelled. The model is an economic simulation model that tracks energy demand at the national level by sector and source. The model uses social and economic drivers to determine future energy consumption and related GHG emissions. The GSI-IF model estimates energy consumption by sector and source, using a baseline initial demand, and adjusting it with elasticities associated with GDP, population and energy price changes. Various energy efficiency scenarios can also be tested. Emissions factors are applied to determine total national emissions from the use of energy. GDP growth is currently based on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Economic Outlook and population is based on the UN World Population Prospects database. Subsidy data is drawn from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and IMF.


  • Simulation: The analyst is expected to use the existing GSI-IF model; updating the data and scenarios published in the Nordic Council of Minister’s report Tackling Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change: Levelling the energy playing field while also  expanding the number of countries examined by a total of 4-6 additional countries.  Updated data to what is most recently available from the same data sources as the original research,  Specific tasks include model update with Vensim, data research, calibration and validation (structural and behavioural), and reporting (on the structure of the model documentation, validation, and results as well as interpretation of results).
  • Research: The analyst is expected to collaborate with the IISD energy team, which will support data collection efforts as well as reporting. The selected candidate will be required to work independently and deliver analyses and writing that are “publication-ready” with limited oversight and editing. We also expect the analyst to develop communications and presentation materials, both collaboratively and independently. Experience in publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals is welcome, as is experience in preparing PowerPoint presentations for public events.
  • Collaboration and project management: The analyst will participate in team meetings and strategy sessions to coordinate activities, contribute ideas, and execute the overall project. The analyst will be required to represent the project team and present the results of his/her work to decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders around the world.
  • Communications: The analyst will develop and liaise on publications and communications materials with the Energy team and the IISD Communications team.

Required Skills

  • Simulation: advanced knowledge Vensim software is required.
  • Quantitative research methods: experience with mathematical models (e.g., differential equations, econometrics, optimization) and data analysis are required; knowledge of various simulation techniques and models across sectors (e.g., energy optimization models, land-use models) would be an advantage.
  • Qualitative research methods: knowledge and experience in creating causal loop diagrams (CLDs) are required; experience in conducting surveys would be an advantage.
  • Organizational and planning: ability to work autonomously, managing workload and producing deliverables to time and to budget; results-focused, with an ability to prioritize and to work quickly and accurately; flexibility to take on tasks ranging from highly complex to basic in nature.

Required Qualifications

  • A minimum of a master’s degree in system dynamics, relevant interdisciplinary program or equivalent.
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience or an equivalent number of years in postgraduate research/teaching.
  • Excellent English-language skills, written and spoken (our working language is English). Professional competence in other languages is a distinct advantage.
  • Computer and Internet skills, primarily related to the use of MS Office and Vensim.
  • Past experience with European and International funders is a benefit.
  • Past experience working with IEA, OECD, IMF data sets is a benefit
  • Past experience working in a consultancy role is a benefit

Application deadline: October 10, 2020

Start date: As soon as possible

Application Procedure

Applications will only be accepted by email to [email protected] with the subject line “EOI: Systems Dynamics Analyst”

  • A CV (no longer than two pages)
  • A letter of motivation, one page.

All submissions must be in English.

Only those candidates we wish to interview will be contacted.