The term resilience stems from a latin root, resilire, to leap back or to rebound. In the academic literature, resilience is introduced during the 70s, by the late Canadian ecologist C. S. Holling. From Holling (1973) point of view, resilience is intricately linked to ‘external shocks’ that provoke changes within ‘internal ecosystem’ of an ecological system. The early views on resilience are mostly concerned with the structural and functional integrity of ecological systems. As evidence on complexity of connection between social systems and ecological systems rose, these resilience definitions moved towards a more hybrid views aka socio-ecological resilience.

The RESILIENCE FOR THE VUCA WORLD 2020 INITIATIVE is initiated by Dr. Shima Beigi, a resilience research scientist and smart city expert whose research on resilience of complex systems has led to the creation of Mindfulness Engineering.  Mindfulness Engineering offers a unifying resilience theory for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) World. 

 By combining resilience and VUCA, Dr. Beigi provides a systemic perspective on resilience. The term VUCA depicts the characteristics of our today’s world and is being adopted by top industry leaders and scientists across the world. The term VUCA further calls societies, governments and economic leaders to become aware of the perils and opportunities of today’s global issues and interdependencies. 

Resilience in the VUCA world is more than our current awareness of resilience. Today, most researchers and businesses think of resilience in terms of shocks, and stressors and focus on macro-level characteristics such as absorption of shocks, bouncing back from mishaps or building a future proof system. In addition, resilience modelling techniques are overwhelmingly focused on the available understanding of resilience via analysis of basins of attractions, and fitness landscape. 

 RESILIENCE FOR THE VUCA WORLD 2020 INITIATIVE views resilience as a systemic property that stems from micro-meso and macro scale connections between parts of a complex system. These parts have their own unique properties which has to be integrated into any resilience intervention strategy. Therefore, an equal focus needs to be placed on the understanding of the subtleties and nuances of complex qualitative features of the process of resilience formation. Cognitive elements such as knowledge, learning, culture, and identity are critical components of resilience. The initiative aims to play a leading role in building sustainable and resilient urban system, infrastructure systems and social systems. With expertise in resilience, sustainability, urban systems, complexity science, and cybernetics, the research group aspires to fulfill this goal by:

  • Conducting world class research to address challenges of resilience research;

  • Holding resilience workshops and events across Europe; 

  • Working closely with research institutions around the world to develop global resilience partnerships;

  • Sparking international conversation about resilience; and

  • Funding and attracting the young generation of thinkers, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. 





Dr. Shima Beigi (Chair)

Prof.Dr. Francis Heylighen (Scientific Advisor)

Dr. Tomas Veloz (Scientific Advisor and Research Scientist) 

Pedro Maldonado (Researcher)