Building systemic resilience: managing complex risks to people, economy and finance


Our research advances understanding of complex risks and brings together scientists, modellers, economists and practitioners to advance practical solutions to build resilience.

The Covid-19 pandemic 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 and undermine progress against sustainability goals.

Over the 21st century, climate change, biodiversity loss, competition for resources, the evolving nature of technology and globalisation will increase the risk of systemic-level shocks. This is relevant to all countries. The poorest communities are most vulnerable.

Our research advances understanding of complex risks and brings together scientists, modellers, economists and decision makers to advance practical solutions to build resilience at all scales, from local to national and global. Our focus is on systems and the interlinkages between food, water, nature, infrastructure, people, economies, finance, humanitarian and governance systems.

Our work

  • Modelling the complex interplay between food, water, nature, infrastructure, people, economy and finance and identifying solutions to build systemic resilience through the Oxford Martin Systemic Resilience Programme
  • Working with Central Banks and financial institutions to develop scenarios for nature-related risks and impacts, through the NERC-funded Integrating Nature-Climate Scenarios & Analytics for Financial Decision-Making (INCAF) project
  • Enhancing geospatial and risk analytics for extreme climate-related shocks, including our EPSRC IAA Partnership project with the World Bank Climate Change Group on risk stress testing and resilience rating of development projects in a changing climate
  • Advancing methodological approaches to scenario analysis, stress testing, resilience metrics and tools for decision making under risk and uncertainty
  • Working with public and private financial institutions, Central Banks and regulators to enhance financial resilience to climate and environmental change, including through advancing financial stress testing and scenario analysis for physical climate and nature risks, such as our work with the Climate Financial Risk Forum on scenario development and learning from the Bank of England CBES as well as collaborations with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and contributions to the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment(UKCGFI)
  • The science and economics of forecast-based early action and financing
  • Understanding indirect risks associated with disruptions to supply chains and infrastructure systems, in collaboration with the Oxford Programme for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (OPSIS) and contributing to the UKCGFI.
  • Generating globally consistent open risk and resilience data to support decision making as part of the Global Resilience Index Initiative
  • Assessing and managing the financial and fiscal implications of cascading and compounding shocks  including new approaches to stress test government fiscal balances, demonstrate the benefits of investing in resilience, and the links to debt sustainability and sovereign credit ratings
  • Improving understanding of how to build resilience at systems scales, including through new models of global risk governance and building a global financial architecture that embeds resilient, inclusive and sustainable development as a goal, including building shock-responsive financing for a resilient net-zero transition
  • Exploring the role of finance in supporting systemic resilience, including through innovative financing modalities including debt swaps, sustainability-linked finance, catastrophe bonds and risk pooling.

Estelle Paulus
DPhil student
Akaraseth Puranasamriddhi
DPhil student