The Oxford Martin Programme on

Systemic Resilience

The Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated more strongly than ever the interconnected nature of risks. A single shock can send waves throughout global supply chains, infrastructure networks and financial systems and can seriously harm economies and human welfare along the way.

Globalisation and the complex interconnections between industries, nations and financial systems mean that 21st century risks are systemic rather than individual perils. Yet, current approaches to risk management are largely inadequate for managing systemic risks, leaving countries and the international system unprepared for major, complex shocks. This can result in a dramatic impact on welfare: famine, loss of income and employment, epidemics, mass violence or the loss of essential services.

The Oxford Martin Programme on Systemic Resilience aims to advance practical solutions to manage shocks with the potential for major and prolonged economic disruption, severe human or economic impacts, and contagion. It will bring together academics specialising in biophysical modelling, risk analysis, transboundary resources and infrastructure, development, disaster preparedness and economics to reflect the high complexity and interdependencies of the systems involved.

The programme will draw on existing methods across multiple disciplines to design early warning systems and identify cost-effective solutions for strengthening the resilience of socio-economic systems to systemic risks. It will create roadmaps and toolkits of local and global solutions to improve the welfare of people and the resilience of the systems and institutions upon which they depend.