Systemic Risk and Resilience (SYRR) aims to assess and support the management of systemic anthropogenic and environmental risks.

The SYRR research group analyses the increasingly systemic socio-ecological risks associated with global and local change, and with policy, practice and civil society co-generates options for building resilience. 

Global change through rising physical and social interdependencies is leading to increasingly systemic and existential risks that lead to cascading impacts and potentially intolerable burdens on communities and societies across the world.

SYRR develops and applies agile systems science to address social-ecological risks that are embedded in complex systems and characterised by potentially cascading, irreversible and existential consequences. We identify risk drivers, model network interactions, assess probabilistic outcomes and co-develop stakeholder-driven options with policy, practice and civil society that are applicable across scales. Our approach for addressing existential and systemic risk combines advanced quantitative modeling and qualitative research with empirical assessment and soft systems analysis.  

Studying systemic risk and resilience in this context includes:  

  • Taking a systems approach for understanding and modelling the interconnected drivers of multiple and compound risks across scales.
  • Utilizing a network perspective for studying complexity in socio-ecological systems.
  • Analysing failure and limits of conventional risk management and adaptation in complex, dynamic and adaptive systems.
  • Developing and carrying out empirical and process-based resilience measurement for addressing key risks.
  • Generating systemic resilience in relevant local to global socio-ecological systems through co-generating effective and applicable policy options that address risks as well as create developmental co-benefits. 

We focus, inter alia, on risk and resilience associated with climate change, disasters, food webs, finance and pandemics. SYRR work builds on activities and experience gained from the previous IIASA programs on Risk and Resilience (RISK) as well as Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) and Evolution and Ecology (EEP).

Models, tools, datasets

Flooded fields

Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC)



Smart Policy Support for Integrated Climate Risk Management (SMARTSUPPORT)


Dipesh Chapagain profile picture

Dipesh Chapagain

Guest Research Scholar (SYRR)

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Dan Fiscus

Guest Senior Research Scholar (SYRR)

Georg Pflug profile picture

Georg Pflug

Emeritus Research Scholar (SYRR)

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Ted Buskop

Research Assistant (SYRR)


Flooding in Bangladesh

27 March 2024

Rising waters and sinking communities: exploring the scope for transformation and resilience in riverine Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, annual flooding affects millions of people, particularly those in rural riverine communities. These communities have developed resilience strategies over generations to cope with flooding and erosion, but with increasing hazards and land pressures, the effectiveness of these strategies is uncertain. A recent study evaluated the resilience of 35 such communities in the country.

23 November 2023

Toward resilient recovery after disasters

The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (ZFRA) — a longstanding partnership IIASA is engaged in — has released its second flagship global report, focusing on ways to improve recovery efforts and help communities better prepare for future climate risks.
CSER Researchers at the IIASA workshop

14 July 2023

People and Patterns: IIASA-CSER joint consultation on mitigating the global risks

Researchers from Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) visited the IIASA on 11th and 12th July to explore tools that take a whole systems approach to the global risks we face.  


Footbridge going of into the distance over calm water

31 January 2024

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Xuxia Li spent the past year as a guest research scholar at IIASA. She reflects on her experiences at the institute and her research journey to date, which was made possible by the China Scholarship Council.

Egypt highlighted in red on blue digital planet Earth with lines illustrating a global network.

04 December 2023

Empowering global decision makers through impactful engagement with the North Africa Applied Systems Analysis Centre Diploma Program

Several IIASA researchers provided valuable input and presented workshops at the North Africa Applied Systems Analysis Center's Diploma Program earlier this year. IIASA researcher Ali Kharrazi shares his insights from this impactful engagement.