The 2021 Conference of the System Dynamics Society

Conference FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the International Conference of the System Dynamics Society (ISDC)

  1. What is the International Conference of the System Dynamics Society?

    It is an annual event where people from all over the world interested in the practice of System Dynamics and systems thinking gather. Now in its 38th year, the conference appeals to audiences across industry and academia. The conference is held alternately in North America and Europe, with occasional appearances in Asia and the Pacific Rim. These conferences introduce newcomers to the field, keep practitioners aware of current developments, and provide unparalleled networking opportunities. Participants come from business, universities, K-12 education, not-for-profits, government, consulting, the healthcare sector, and beyond. Learn more:

  2. How many people usually attend the Conference?

    Between 450 and 600 people have attended in recent years.

  3. What’s included in the conference registration fee?

    The conference registration fee includes full access to the four full-day sessions. This year, all plenary sessions will have discussion sessions around 12 hours later that provide additional opportunity for discussion. All sessions will also be recorded and available for asynchronous viewing for two weeks after the conference for your convenience. In addition, anyone who pays the conference registration fee will be allowed to participate in the virtual Banquet on Tuesday evening, as well as all conference workshops.

  4. Are there any pre-conference events this year?

    Yes. A 4-day System Dynamics summer school will be held in virtual format on July 20-24, 2021. The summer school will be taught by an international team of System Dynamics professors and practitioners. Although summer school participants are not required to attend the conference, they are strongly advised to register for the conference. Learn more:

    On Sunday,July 25, 2021 there will be a full day Student-Organized Colloquium, bringing together System Dynamics students and giving them the opportunity to discuss their research in a constructive and enjoyable atmosphere together with senior system dynamicists. Learn more:

  5. Will there be a special opening session at this year’s conference?

    Yes. On Sunday, July 25, 2021, there will be a virtual welcome reception and official welcome from the conference organizing team.

  6. Will there be a special opening session at this year’s conference?

    Yes. On Sunday, July 25, 2021, there will be a virtual welcome reception and official welcome from the conference organizing team.

  7. Is there a group discount for registration?

    No group discount is available.

  8. When do registration fees increase?

    The early bird registration deadline is May 31, 2021. Follow this link to read more about conference fees:

  9. What is the registration cancellation policy?

    Once paid, registration fees for the Conference and Summer School are non-refundable. A registration may be transferred to a substitute participant. For more information regarding refund, complaint, and/or cancellation policies, please contact the Society office at or +1 (978) 540-0411.

  10. I want to bring a guest to the conference. What can they attend?

    You can bring up to 3 guests free of charge. Guests can join the Social Programs including:

  11. Do I have to present a paper at the conference to attend?

    Absolutely not! We welcome attendance by anyone who has an interest in System Dynamics and many attendees do not present.

  12. Are there special events for first-time attendees?

    Yes. The Newcomer Orientation Session is a special event for newcomers, scheduled for a half hour in the afternoon on Sunday,July 25, 2021. Newcomers and guides (veteran attendees) will be brought together based on their topics of interest. Guides will answer questions and provide information to help newcomers get the most out of the conference. Look for it in the Conference Schedule.

  13. When will the conference schedule be available?

    The tentative virtual conference schedule will be available June 2, 2021.

  14. How do I become an exhibitor or sponsor?

    Visit see a list of current sponsors and to learn about becoming a sponsor. Thereare a vareity of opportunities to support the conference at varying levels of sponsorship. Please contact Roberta Spencer at to find out more about how to become a sponsor and how to exhibit at the conference.

  15. Are there awards given at the conference? Can I nominate my paper for any awards?

    The Jay W. Forrester Award is given annually at the conference to the best publication in System Dynamics during the previous nine years. The Dana Meadows Award is given to outstanding papers authored by students that are presented at the conference. The Lupina Young Researchers Award is given to outstanding papers dealing with health-related topics, authored by students or recent (past 5 years) graduates presented at the conference. The Barry Richmond Scholarship Award is presented annually to a deserving Systems Thinking or System Dynamics practitioner whose work demonstrates a desire to expand the field or to apply it to current social issues. Learn more:

  16. How can I connect with other attendees via social media?

    Please follow the Society on Twitter and use the hashtag #ISDC20 to tweet about the conference. Please also join our Facebook event page and follow us on LinkedIn.

  17. I am looking to show off my model in a small group situation, is that possible? I may also want some one-on-one help with my model, is that possible?

    Modeling Assistance Workshop sessions offer one-on-one coaching for participants seeking assistance. Questions may relate to a model that you are thinking, studying, or developing. Learn how to sign up:

    The Model Expo offers an opportunity to show your model to others and let them interact with it. It is a chance to talk to people about how your model works, get feedback, or just show off. Learn more:

    The Publishing Assistance Workshop offers a great opportunity for participants to be guided by experts to develop their manuscript to submit to an academic journal. Learn how to sign up: