The members of the GTGLab comes from a variety of background and works on various topics ranging to infectious diseases (e.g. antimicrobial resistance) to regional integration. There are four overarching topics that guide our research.
The global society is confronted with several interconnected challenges that can manifest themselves in environmental, economic, health, humanitarian, or political crisis. Due to globalization and growing interdependence between the elements of the global system, disruption coming from one country can spread beyond national boundaries and affect large part of the population across the globe. The 2008 financial crisis is a glaring example of a rapid international contagion in socio-economic systems coming from fragilities in the housing market in the USA. Limited disruption can be circumscribed to a specific sector while more powerful one can impact many sectors. While studying risks that can trigger unexpected large-scale changes of a system or imply uncontrollable large-scale threats to it, scientific research has often focused on natural disasters, but crises affecting human societies are related to economic and social problems, or the co-occurrence of social and ecological phenomena. There is abundant scholarship on fragilities in different systems and at different scales, but the factors that underpin the resilience of the global system is not well understood. One of the salient issues associated with disruption of complex systems is it encompasses the possibility of destruction and transformation to a new states. Understanding the determinants, drivers, and nature of disruptions and transformations in the global system is critical to improve human capacity to tackle global challenges.
From governance systems based on discernible divisions between sectors, boundaries have become increasingly blurred at the local, national and global levels. Issues linkages and coordinated action across sectors are critical to advance many global issues. Efforts to provide integrated framework for development has resulted in the adoption of the SDG as an interconnected and indivisible set of goals for society. However, the connectivity between sectors and the implication for governance remains poorly understood. An interdisciplinary understanding of global governance networks can help to foster synergies, prioritise effective policies and make the governance system more adaptative to constantly evolving challenges. This research priority aims to capture interactions between different elements of governance systems at the regional and global levels. This is critical to understand how issues get addressed, how power is distributed and exerted and how policies in one sector can have rippled effects and unintended consequences in a strongly interlinked system. Drawing on regime complex theory, the idea that for many global issues there is not a single international organization responsible but several institutions without a clear hierarchy between them, the GTGLab contributes to measure and map interactions in regional and global governance systems. A particular focus is on Geneva is a densely populated network of people and institutions in global governance.
The nation state has been the mainstay of the international order and the most important level of decision-making and organization of political life. This model has been increasingly challenged by globalization which reduces the capacities of countries to tackle challenge that cross borders. Relevant issues include infectious diseases, tax evasion and other criminal activities or environmental degradation. Overall, globalization gives rise to dynamics of both fragmentation and integration. Relevant topics include the study of interactions between multiple levels of decision making including the role of cities and regions in global governance. As regional systems of integration intersect with the function of state and local power representation, there are also important questions related to the relation between political system including federalism and multilevel governance system. A particular focus of the members of the GTGLab is on the the EU as the most ambitious attempt to build a multi-level governance system after World War II.
Scientific knowledge has been the mainstay of the development of modern societies, underpinning progress, growth, and prosperity in several parts of the world. While the constant quest for scientific and technological progress has come to define our knowledge societies, the current complex challenges and associated societal transformations, both characterized by interconnections and interdependence, integration and fragmentation, instability, and surprises, need to be supported by the new modes of knowledge creation, mindset and skills that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Relevant approaches include: 1) Systems and complexity science, 2) interdisciplinary and collaborative research and 3) co-production of knowledge within network of actors. Beyond the contribution of academic institutions to global governance through the technical and scientific expertise, these approaches of knowledge production can foster new narratives and framing (mental models) which in turn influences the responses that are subsequently contemplated. They can also help understand the relationships among many components and explain the non-linear, non-intuitive behaviour of many areas of society. Finally, they are critical to combine different insights into problem and provide a more comprehensive understanding. The members of the GTGLab are experimenting new approaches regarding the production of knowledge trough research and teaching activities.