Visiting Scholar: Keith Hipel



March 5, 2-3:30 p.m., BN-3037


Tackling Climate Change: A System of Systems Engineering Perspective


Currently, the world is suffering from an “Atmospheric Tragedy of the Commons” in which every nation is knowingly releasing deadly greenhouse gases in order to selfishly maximize its own profits at the expense of destroying the “Atmospheric Commons” and thereby causing severe climate change which will adversely affect all countries.

To overcome this strategically unwise type of behavior, Keith W. Hipel will suggest a cooperative approach to good governance which will benefit every nation economically in the long term and, more importantly, satisfy ethical systems objectives. He will put forward an integrative and adaptive approach to Responsible Governance for addressing climate change based on a System of Systems (SoS) Engineering framework. This framework reflects the values of stakeholders by using a participatory approach and achieves desirable systems goals such as resilience, sustainability, and fairness. More specifically, he will suggest four key ways in which the “Fee and Dividend” concept devised by James Hansen and others is a truly insightful, yet simple, method for solving the tough strategic decision-making aspects of climate change. Keith will discuss how when compared to other alternatives, such as Cap and Trade, the “Fee and Dividend” idea may form the basis of a feasible and sensible method for handling climate change.

Responsible governance is not only needed to proactively combat climate change but in many other highly interconnected complex SoS problems such as the failed American financial system and unfair medical systems. Accordingly, extensive research is urgently needed for developing a comprehensive theoretical structure for System of Systems Science and Engineering in order to solve current and emerging complex systems problems.


March 6, 1:30-3:00 p.m., BN-3010


How to Conduct Original Research in Graduate Studies


Based on four decades of mentoring Canadian and international graduate students, Keith Hipel will use his valuable experience, knowledge, and insights to explain how to execute meaningful and original research. Of utmost importance is to follow your heart’s desire in carrying out your research as a personal challenge to help others and society. In your domain of interest, find a problem for which a satisfactory solution does not yet exist. In this seminar, Keith will offer advice on all aspects of the research process including completing literature reviews, developing a methodology, seeking guidance from experts, attending and presenting at conferences, and publishing research.

He will discuss, for example, how to expand a conference paper via further research into a full-length journal paper for submission to a leading international journal for review and constructive criticism. He further advises to not procrastinate in submitting an article for review. As an author, there is a range of useful tips that you can follow to write a first-class paper that will present your original ideas in a convincing way, such as clearly highlighting your key contributions and explaining how a reader can benefit from employing your ideas. The expeditious publication of your high-quality research will help to build your academic career and provide confidence for you to tackle other challenging research problems that benefit society. Job opportunities, promotion and recognition will naturally follow.


Keith W. Hipel is University Professor of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo where he is Coordinator of the Conflict Analysis Group. He is President of the Academy of Science within the Royal Society of Canada, Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and Past-Chair of the Board of Governors of Renison University College.

Keith thoroughly enjoys mentoring students and is a recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, Faculty of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award and the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision from the University of Waterloo, as well as the 2011 Outstanding Engineering Educator Award from IEEE Canada.

His major research interests are the development of conflict resolution, multiple criteria decision analysis, and time series analysis. Also central to his research program are other decision-making methodologies for addressing challenging interdisciplinary system of systems engineering problems lying at the confluence of society, technology, and the environment, with applications in water resources management, hydrology, environmental engineering, energy, and sustainable development. Keith is the author or co-author of 4 books, 12 edited books, more than 275 journal papers, as well as many conference and encyclopedia articles.

In recognition of his academic and professional accomplishments, Keith has received 47 awards and honors including being elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (FIEEE) and of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC). He has been highly active in professional organizations such as the Royal Society of Canada and IEEE SMC Society; is the Founder of International Conference on Water Resources and Environment Research (ICWRER) and is Chair of its Steering Committee; and is an Associate Editor of many international journals including the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Systems and Group Decision and Negotiation.