As the ever-growing complexity of our interconnected epoch poses new challenges to policymakers, academics and institutional actors over the world, the concept of resilience is more and more mobilised in environmental and human sciences to perceive and address systemic challenges and to improve social systems. Resilience has been defined as “the capacity of a system to cope, adapt and transform after a change”. Resilience is one of the many characteristics of complex adaptive systems (hereafter “CAS”), such as notable variability and adaptability with their social ecological context, important level of connectivity and nonlinearity. CAS have the capacity to learn from previous responses and change their behaviour and according to the situation and context. Thus, resilience is a capacity that can be explored to better understand the CAS, which can be insufficiently perceived by traditional means and approaches.

Resilience has been primarily studied in ecosystem services studies (e.g. forestry management) but also in disaster planning (e.g. city preparedness for hurricanes) and mental health (e.g. recovery after traumatic events).  However, current research takes more frequently into account social ecological contexts, i.e. social system, bio ecological context, and governance, acknowledging the system as open and influenced by social factors and governance aspects. Therefore, researchers need new tools to apprehend the new issues of the contemporary world in their entirety. Global studies are developing acknowledging the porosity of previous frontiers between countries, cultures, commercial partners, and people. Current issues need a more global approach including the understanding of globalisation and its new governance as well as people, animals, and goods movements at local, national and international level. Resilience is precisely one of those tools that researchers need to address global issues more efficiently.

As an answer to the changing world and to the very complex and global challenges we face, resilience studies are developing in various fields and topics, applying different methods and approaches in various disciplines. The definition of resilience can even be slightly different, tailored to each context and discipline. The colloquium, aims at underlining the differences and similarities between the research topics, enhancing discussions and exchanges of methods between researchers over the topic of resilience study. Thus, we aim to promote links and collaborations between the disciplines and create a resilience hub for interdisciplinarity.

The colloquium will take place at the Global Studies Institute (GSI) of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in February 3-4, 2021. It is organised over two days of key notes, short communications and workshops, each of these events being chaired by a young GSI, Geneva Transformative Governance Lab (GTGLab) or UNIGE researcher. This two-day interdisciplinary colloquium, organised by a scientific committee comprising of Professors and PhD scholars of the GSI and the GTGLab, aims to analyse the mobilization and role of the notion of resilience in various scientific fields and disciplines, ranging from the health sector to law, history and political sciences.

One of the main objectives of this event will be to create linkages between disciplines regarding definitions, tools, approaches and to enhance interdisciplinary research in resilience studies. The first day will include a first overview of the current research landscape of resilience worldwide and at the UNIGE. Then, the colloquium will cover the application of resilience in topics covered by the GTGLab, such as complex governance systems from law, political sciences and international relations, and natural disasters. The first day will end with a workshop about “Defining resilience for antimicrobial resistance in a One Health system”. In the second day, we aim to address the coverage of resilience in other domains topics (some are also covered in the GSI) such as environmental services, history, food security, health systems, and cyber systems. To close the colloquium, a workshop will merge conclusive ideas about resilience as a tool to transform the face of interdisciplinary research. Presentations of young researchers will be selected, based on the application via a call of abstract.

The colloquium will be organised around nine different thematic panels, based on a presentation from a senior researcher or expert and chaired by a young researcher from the University of Geneva. In addition, a competitive call for papers will be issued in Summer 2020 and it is expected that selected participants will apply various conceptualizations of “resilience” and “complex system” within the targeted field of focus.