Complexity and Systems Modelling

Research Group Leaders: Jannie HofmeyrRika Preiser and Josephine Musango

This research theme will focus on developing the theoretical and conceptual underpinning for understanding the dynamics and features of complex adaptive systems. Although there are various approaches to systems thinking in general, the complex adaptive systems approach has evolved into a rigorous analytical framework capable of dealing with both ontological and epistemological complexity. It is this framework that will be used for theory-building and related methods that can illustrate that sustainable transformations to more just Anthropocene futures will only be possible by considering the inter dependencies between social and natural systems.

Complex adaptive systems thinking offers scholars and practitioners the conceptual principles and a mode of inquiry that offers practical heuristics to engage with uncertainty and change by considering the dynamic nature of the interlinked social and natural systems in which science-policy-practice interventions are to be implemented.

In this research theme we will:

  • explore how complex adaptive systems thinking can be used to inform and provide a conceptual framework for all the other research themes
  • develop principles and heuristics that can guide knowledge co-creation, collaborative action and implementing strategic interventions to bring about change that reflect complex adaptive systems thinking approaches
  • assess what methods and approaches can be advanced and employed to better study and understand the systemic nature of human-nature interaction and transformative processes.


Student-led Projects