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The Sir Geoffrey Vickers Memorial Award

1 The Spirit of Sir Geoffrey Vickers

This Award commemorates the life and works of Sir Geoffrey Vickers. His view of the human condition as fundamentally embedded in a web of value relations, and of the dilemma of human action as both rational and valuative, lead him to the formulation of the Appreciative Systems approach. The spirit of his lifework is tremendously contemporary, even though he wrote his most significant works in the early second half of the 20th century: society as evolutionarily emergent; participative and interactive communication as a creative agent; humanization as the necessary normative component of socialization - all this as part of what he called “a science of human ecology.” It is through a truly integrative and systemic approach to our humanity that Sir Geoffrey believed we can learn to navigate multi-valued choice in the ways we structure and value our situation. Being critical (without criticizing), judging (without being judgmental), and engaging in normative decision taking (without ignoring or subjugating the interests of others) - these are the challenges of a science of human ecology as he saw it. The realization that “Science is human”1 derives from his assertion that we are “incorrigible valuers.”2 Indeed, it was Sir Geoffrey's fundamental affirmation that only by learning to be appreciative systems, ourselves, will we create social structures capable of supporting the essence of our humanity. The ISSS Vickers Award seeks to recognize promising work that advances the systems sciences toward this vision.

1 Vickers, Geoffrey. Value Systems and Social Process. Middlesex, England: Pelican Books, 1968. P. 214.
2 ibid. 214.

2 Prospectus for students presenting a paper at an annual meeting

In memory of the humanistic vision of Sir Geoffrey Vickers and his deep commitment to, and belief in, the power of young people to contribute creatively to the betterment of the human condition, a plaque and check for $500 will be awarded for the best student paper. The Award recognizes outstanding work done in the domain of the systems sciences, and is considered the most prestigious prize in the field at the pre-doctoral level.

  • The competition takes place only once a year.
  • It is open to all students from any country.
  • Only student authored papers are eligible for consideration, and preference will be given to individually authored work. If any part of the paper is the work of a student’s supervisor or other mentor, then the paper is not eligible.
  • Only one paper per student should be submitted for consideration in any one year.
  • A single outstanding paper will be selected each year (only on rare occasions will the Award be split between two winners).
  • A full paper must be submitted by the April 30th deadline and will be included on the Conference CD ROM proceedings unless stated otherwise by the Vickers Award committee.
  • You should certify that this work was performed while you were a student and be submitted for consideration no later than one year from the date of the award of your degree.
  • Previous winners of this award may not enter again.

A student registration form and the student registration fee should accompany the paper submission. The registration fee includes membership in the ISSS for the following year and also a one-year subscription to Systems Research and Behavioral Science, the General Systems Bulletin and a copy of the proceedings of the conference.

The successful paper may be scheduled for presentation in a plenary session during the conference at the discretion of the President and the Program Committee.

If it is not possible for the student to travel to the conference, it may be possible to arrange for a video link (depending on the facilities available to the conference) or another person may make the presentation on the student's behalf. The preferred options are as follows and in order of preference:

  • that the winning Vickers Award paper be presented in Plenary in person by the winner;or
  • that it be presented “virtually”; or
  • that it be presented in absentia by a designated proxy as long as the student has also submitted and paid for registration of that paper.

3 Award Winners

This list was originally sent by Jennifer Wilby. David Ing transferred this to ProjectsISSS, because there were some gaps that should be filled in (by the community, if they can remember that far back!)

1987 Budapest two awards: Alexander Laszlo; Lynda J. Davies and Paul W.J. Ledington (co-authors)
1988 St Louis Donald de Raadt
1989 Edinburgh Bela A Banathy
1990 Portland two awards: Sally Goerner; Daune West
1991 Sweden Erin Artigiani, Cliff Joslyn
1992 Denver Sen Suan Tan
1993 Australia Jeremy Chui
1994 Asilomar T. Dahl and Darek Erikson
1995 Amsterdam two awards: Craig Crabtree; Jennifer Wilby
1996 Louisville Parviz Ahari
1996 Budapest No Award
1997 Seoul, Korea No Award
1998 Atlanta Martine Dodds
1999 Asilomar Molly Dwyer and Jane Zimmerman
2000 Toronto two awards: Gabor Horvath; Kathia Laszlo
2001 Asilomar Lynn M. Rasmussen
2002 Shanghai, China two awards: Pamela Buckle; K. C. Wang
2003 Crete Sabrina Brahms
2004 Asilomar Janette Young
2005 Cancun Honorato Teissier

4 Prospectus for students (in Spanish)

El Sir Geoffrey Vickers Memorial Award se estableci? en memoria de la visi?n human?stica de Sir Geoffrey Vickers y su profundo compromiso y convicci?n en el poder de la gente joven para contribuir creativamente al mejoramiento de la condici?n humana. Consiste en una plaqueta y un cheque por U$S 500.- a ser otorgados al mejor trabajo de un estudiante universitario, y es el premio m?s prestigioso en esta ?rea del conocimiento en el nivel pre-doctoral. El trabajo ganador es presentado en una sesi?n plenaria de la conferencia anual de la entidad.

(translation provided by Enrique Herrscher)

sonoma_2006_vickers_award.txt · Last modified: 2020/07/27 15:38 (external edit)