The US Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting the development of a new research field, MultiSector Dynamics (MSD), through several critical investments that leverage a rich legacy of science, modeling, and analytical capabilities. The field of MSD explores the dynamics and co-evolutionary pathways of human and Earth systems with a focus on critical goods, services, and amenities delivered to people through interdependent sectors. This talk synthesizes insights from these early investments and recent efforts of the MSD Science Steering Group to formulate a vision for the next decade of research opportunities. Central to this vision is the ambition of advancing the next generation complex adaptive human-Earth systems science to better address interconnected risks, increase resilience, and improve sustainability. Given growing climate risks and their dependence on accelerating energy transitions, designing for a resilient and sustainable future requires embracing the complexity of interconnected and ever-changing human and natural systems. Moreover, it requires a rapid growth in our ability to incorporate expertise from across disciplines and perspectives drawn from diverse experiences.
Over the next decade, we suggest that MSD:
- Improve modeling of behavioral uncertainties within human systems; better capture nonlinear feedbacks within and across human-Earth systems; adapt AI approaches to enhance complex multi-model workflows, innovate agent-based modelling, improve model diagnostics and uncertainty analytics;
- Accelerate progress through open access to MSD data and models; facilitate the growth of a diverse early career researcher workforce; promote transdisciplinary community training and research experiences;
The scope of MSD problems is on par with other community-driven efforts such as Earth systems modeling. The questions addressed by MSD research are sufficiently large and complex that addressing them demands a large-scale, long-term, international collaboration with other research communities. These include communities such as Earth systems modeling, systems engineering, sustainable transitions, socio-environmental and socio-ecological systems, urban complexity science, and decision making under deep uncertainty.