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Systems Science and Implementation Capacity

The Systems Science and Implementation Capacity (SSIC) brings a systems focus to the Prevention Centre’s work. It provides advice to other Capacities and projects and works with policy makers and practitioners. Its key roles are to explore practitioner knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of change processes and the lessons that might apply across different contexts, and to strengthen the design of interventions before and during implementation.

Capacity lead

Capacity team

Members of the Systems Science and Implementation Capacity (SSIC) are engaged on a large number of Prevention Centre projects and related activities. A few of these projects are highlighted below:

Implementation Exchanges

The SSIC has lead responsibility for Implementation Exchanges. These are small meetings of policy and program managers and researchers that aim to explore and exchange knowledge gained from the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programs.

SSIC facilitated the first Implementation Exchange in 2014, when NSW Health presented on their experience developing the Population Health Information Management System. The system is used to monitor the roll out of population and public health programs by Local Health Districts. The exchange has prompted cross-centre and cross-jurisdictional collaboration on developing the best ways to document prevention practice.

Systems resources

The SSIC has written an introduction to systems thinking and how it applies to the Prevention Centre to promote a conversation about the merits of systems ideas and methods.

It is developing a number of other resources including:

  • Annotated bibliographies of systems-related literature
  • A guide to systems tool and methods
  • A database of systems-science expertise in Australia (with the Prevention Centre’s Synthesis Capacity)
  • A case series or registry that will showcase examples of the added value that systems thinking brings to public health.

System dynamics modelling

In a joint project with the Prevention Centre’s Synthesis Capacity, the SSIC is developing a system dynamics model to evaluate policy options to address alcohol-related harms. This project is an opportunity to test the usefulness of system dynamics modelling as a way to synthesise evidence from diverse sources and engage decision makers.

Applying systems thinking

The SSIC is working with ACT Health to co-design an evaluation of the systemic impacts of its whole-of government approach to obesity prevention, and with Professor Sharon Friel, at the Australian National University, to apply a systems lens to her project that is examining the food system to identify what is needed to create a healthy and equitable eating system in Australia.

Capacity building

In partnership with the Prevention Centre’s Learning and Development Manager, the SSIC is initiating a community of practice in implementation and systems science across the prevention system. The SSIC is also working with the Learning and Development Manager to develop a workshop that will introduce systems thinking concepts and approaches for people working in prevention.