Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs

Co-Director, SARChI Chair

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Field of research

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


Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs holds a DST/NRF South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience. She is an NRF P-rated researcher, and holds a joint appointment in the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University in Sweden. Prof Biggs coordinates the 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

Prof Biggs’ 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. A specific focus of her research are regime shifts – large, often abrupt, long-lasting changes in social-ecological systems that can have dramatic implications for human economies and societies. Through her research, Dr Biggs aims to develop practical theory, methods and insights that can ultimately contribute to facilitating transitions to more sustainable futures in Southern Africa.