KIRAS Project: Resilience, Social Networks, and Austrian Security

Monitoring resilience – Development of a software-supported method for the network-based analysis and measurement of social cohesion and resilience of critical systems using Austria as an example

The inevitability of surprises is a key feature in systems thinking, and the ability to persist through disturbances is a function of resilience. This project links resilience concepts from diverse scientific disciplines to develop a measure of resilience for Austria’s critical systems.


The term “resilience” has many different connotations, resulting in the use of the term without a clear, standardized approach or objective. The goal of this project is to gain insight from diverse areas of research including ecology, psychology, engineering, and risk assessment in order to identify which concepts of C.S. Holling’s Adaptive Cycle can apply to social networks in Austria, then to assess the resilience of the Austrian social system exposed to system shocks using network and impact analyses.    

Key insights include defining systemic goals based on trajectory in complement to structure and function, shifting perspectives from managing for redundancy toward cultivating diversity, and investigating  how cross-scale interactions (both temporal and spatial) impact resilience.

IIASA Research

IIASA will help develop a framework for an ongoing Austrian Security Research Project to assess resilience in regard to six specific scenarios:

  1. Governance crisis (political instability)
  2. Economic crisis (including financial crisis)
  3. Societal crisis (polarization, exclusion, gangs)
  4. Environmental risks (climate change, extreme weather events)
  5. Technological risks (cyber-attack and breakdown of critical infrastructure) and
  6. Pandemic risks (spread of virus).

We will work in collaboration with an international consulting firm, FAS.research, making use of their extensive database of key actors in Austria to conduct a series of stakeholder workshops that elucidate systemic resilience. We combine a top-down and bottom-up approach to assess stakeholders’ understanding of resilience concepts and their preparation for inevitable systemic disturbances to critical systems. The results of the workshops will be analyzed using social network software specifically designed for this project. Our aim is to develop a framework that is scalable and a metric that is relative in order to inform policy makers on strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity related to social cohesion and resilience. 

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Last edited: 16 March 2016


Brian Fath

Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

YSSP Scientific Coordinator Young Scientists Summer Program - Capacity Development and Academic Training Unit


2013 - 2015


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313