Prof. Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs

Co-Director, SARChI Chair

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Field of research

  • Social-Ecological Systems
  • Resilience
  • Regime Shifts
  • Transformations
  • Scenario planning


Oonsie Biggs is the co-director of the Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) at Stellenbosch University and holds a DST/NRF South African Chair (SARChl) in Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience. She is an NRF A-rated researcher and holds a joint appointment in the CST at Stellenbosch University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University in Sweden. Oonsie co-chairs the science committee of the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS,, one of the core global research programs of Future Earth, and leads the affiliated Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS), a network of researchers and practitioners working on social-ecological systems in the southern African region (see

Oonsie also serves on the Board of Directors for the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Sweden, and on the South African Global Change Science Committee which serves as an advisor to the country’s national research foundation. Her research aims to advance theory and understanding of complex social-ecological systems, specifically how to build resilience to deal with uncertainty, surprise and ongoing environmental and social change. Through her research, Oonsie aims to develop practical theory, methods and insights that can ultimately contribute to facilitating transitions to more sustainable futures in Southern Africa.