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 colloquium aims at underlining the differences and similarities of definitions and applications of the concept of resilience between the research topics. Thus, we aim to enhance discussions and exchanges of methods between researchers over the topic of resilience study and promote links and collaborations between the disciplines.

  • When

February 3-4, 2021

  • Where

ONLINE, details for attendance upon registration

  • Important deadlines

  • September 30: Abstract submission – closed
  • October 15: Final programme – pending
  • Extended deadline to January 10: Participation registration
  • Description of the colloquium

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.

In order to enhance networking among participants, presentation of posters by young researchers will be made possible. Coffee breaks and lunch will be a dedicated place to enhance discussions among attendees. Also, as informal events and moments are the best way for academics to exchange and debate, a dinner will be organised at the end of the first day, as well as a Labéro© at the end of the second day, for the active participants at the colloquium.

  • Preliminary programme

Registrations are now open to participate to the Resilience colloquium

Download the  Indicative programme (PDF)

  • Call for abstracts

Young researchers will have the possibility to be selected for a 10 minutes presentation based on an abstract, describing an application of the concept of resilience in their research (Master’s thesis, PhD research or Post-doc research).

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the Scientific Committee and only the highest-ranking ones will be selected based on the scientific quality of the research, its topic originality, and inter and transdisciplinary aspect.

Eligibility: Master’s students, PhD Candidates and Post-Doctoral Researchers from various backgrounds (e.g., International Relations, Law, European Studies, Economics, Development Studies, Public Health).

We particularly encourage applications from women, disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, as these groups are underrepresented throughout the scientific research.

The targeted topics and disciplines for an oral presentation are:

  • Resilience and food security
  • Resilience and health systems
  • Resilience and environmental services
  • Resilience and history
  • Resilience in cyber systems
  • Resilience and political sciences, international relationship

Guidelines for abstracts (oral presentation)

Download the Guideline document (PDF)

Young researchers have the possibility to submit an abstract of their research (no more than 500 words) with a Curriculum Vitae by 30 September 2020 via the online dedicated tool.


Each attendee of the colloquium is allowed to prepare a poster of their research (only a registration is necessary).  There is not topic/discipline restriction for the posters.

Download the Guideline document (PDF)

Important dates

  • August 15 – September 30: Abstract submission – closed
  • October 10: Final decision for presentation selection
  • October 15: Final programme available

Registrations are now open to participate to the online Resilience colloquium

  • Contact

For any question, please contact us at:

  • Sponsors

Global Studies Institute

Commission administrative (COMAD)

Fond Général de l’Université de Genève

Société Académique de Genève

Fonds national suisse

  • Scientific committee


Dr. Anaïs Léger is a veterinary epidemiologist, post-doc researcher at the GSI. Her current research focuses on the resilience of One Health systems to antimicrobial resistance.

Flore Vanackère is a PhD candidate in European institutional Law at the GSI. Her current research focuses on the resilience of institutional and legislative systems, in a complexity theory perspective.

Gaélane Wolff is a PhD candidate at the GSI. Her current research focuses on non-state actors in disaster management and the resilience of communities and societies following such events.


Pr. Nicolas Levrat (LL.D., public international law) is the director of GSI and co-founder of the GTGLab. His research focuses on European institutional law, European legal order(s), the status of public bodies in Europe, the law of minority groups, cross-border cooperation, governance in Europe, complex institutional systems and Switzerland-Europe relations.

Dr. Didier Wernli is a Senior Researcher/Lecturer at the GSI and co-founder of the GTGLab. Drawing on systems and complexity science, his research interests are on the global governance of infectious diseases with a focus on antimicrobial resistance as a problem of global collective action within the wider transformation to sustainability.