Resilience of socio-technical systems exemplified at the electricity transport and actor system

A necessary condition for sustainable development involves the ability of technical,
ecological, economic and social systems to respond to perturbations in such a way
that their functioning and development potential is guaranteed. This property is
closely related with the concept of resilience, which denotes the capability of a
system to cope with changing environmental, economic or demographic conditions
and shocks. The main goal of this project is to characterize and identify institutional,
social and physical design properties of resilient socio-technical systems from a
holistic viewpoint, using the energy transport and actor system as an example. It
brings together concepts and methods from physics, engineering, economics and the
social sciences in an integrated way. It will particularly focus on determinants of
resilience that result from the interplay of complex networks formed by economic
actors, technical systems, institutions and social processes. We aim for a new quality
in understanding the interplay of socio-economic and technical networks by
considering time-dependent interlinkages and adaptations. Of particular interests are
the impact of fluctuations and slow changes in environmental and economic
conditions which might give rise to qualitatively new system behavior like emerging
new states, tipping points or extreme events. Through stakeholder involvement, the
project will contribute to sustainable development, safeguarding public supply
services, and to a successful energy transition.



Research team (in alphabetic order):

  • Klaus Eisenack (Department of Economics)
  • Ulrike Feudel (Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment)
  • Joachim Peinke (Institute of Physics)
  • Thorsten Raabe (Department of Economics)