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Lunch Pitch with Jing Helmersson, Madelen Bodin and Raoul Theler

To encourage cross pollination of ideas between researchers from different disciplines, IceLab hosts interdisciplinary research lunches with the vision of allowing ideas to meet and mate. During the Lunch Pitch Season, the creative lunches take place at KBC every other Tuesday.

Place: KBCon Lilla Fokusrum  (KBC Focus Environment’s glass room), KBC
Time: Tuesday 19 March at 12:00.

Sign up here for a free sandwich before Monday 18 March 10:00!

First Pitcher:

Jing Helmersson

Senior research assistant at the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umea University

Title: Counting the uncountable – A system dynamics modelling approach to the generalization of qualitative study findings and the integration of mixed methods.


More and more qualitative studies are being conducted in public health and social science to complement quantitative studies and to obtain in-depth knowledge about people’s experience and attitudes. However, quantitative studies still dominate as a basis for decision-making, partly because it is unclear how to generalize qualitative research results and project them into the future to support decision making. Here we show that system dynamics modelling (SDM) may be the approach to doing this. Using life satisfaction as an example, we started from qualitative study findings to build a system dynamics model that generated quantitative output. Through model validation of quantitative data, the qualitative research result was generalized and integrated coherently with those quantitative studies. In this example, the results show that domain achievement and life satisfaction enforce each other through a feedback loop. To promoting life satisfaction, it may be more effective to reduce expectation than to increase achievements.

About the pitcher:

Jing’s expertise is in mathematical modelling and system dynamic modelling. She was a professor in physics at California State University, USA (1992-2006) with a PhD in physics 1989 from Univ. of Michigan. She turned to public health research in Sweden 2010 and has finished her 2nd PhD in 2018 (mathematical modelling of dengue fever and dengue vector). Her current research interests include positive health, well-being and successful living from a holistic view of body, mind and spirit.


Second Pitcher:

Madelen Bodin

Director of science center ”Umevatoriet/Sliperiet” and researcher at Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Umea University

Title: Science as a source of curiosity


A new arena for communicating and learning science and technology is evolving when former university units Umevatoriet and Sliperiet are merging into a new science center aiming at stimulating citizens’ curiosity about science, making people to want to learn more. The center focuses on making research in science and technology accessible to everybody through immersive and interactive experiences. We aim at offering a personal experience of science and technology by using topics and pedagogical and interactive tools that actually talk to people’s curiosity. We seek collaborators within all disciplines in order to fulfil these goals.

About the pitcher:

Madelen is the director of the new science center and has a research interest in the cross-discipline between science and learning. Madelen’s background is in physics and physics education and is especially interested in how digital tools and environments can benefit science learning and give knowledge about how people learn.


Third Pitcher:

Raoul Theler

Visiting researcher at Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics (USBE)

Title: How to deal with confounding unobserved variables in data


The independence between instruments and individual unobserved characteristics is a traditional condition, yet difficult to be justified in practice when assessing the causal effects with non-experimental data. We propose a solution to evaluate the causal effects when the instruments are correlated with the unobserved heterogeneity in structural models.

About the pitcher:

Raoul Theler holds a Ph.D. in Econometrics and is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Economics, USBE. He works on the adaptation of semi-parametric statistics to specific issues of econometric theory related to causal evaluation and inefficiency measurement.


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