Objectives and Ambition

The original RESILIENCE-UKRAINE proposal, which involved many researchers in Ukraine and from the CS-DC, was centred on Ukraine as this European country suffers one of the most severe disasters and crises since the Second World War. This section is based on that proposal.

The Ukrainian military has resisted a brutal invasion by Russia, its citizens have been terrorised by fatal attacks their houses apartments and public buildings, and the population faces depressing privation through the deliberate destruction of infrastructure supplying water, electricity and other basic daily needs. Lives have been devastated by the loss of loved ones, mothers and fathers are struggling to look after their children, and millions of people have become refugees. Collecting and analysing data on the psychological reactions on the citizens of Ukraine during this crisis will be invaluable in understanding the resilience of the population in the short and long terms.

The crises in Ukraine are experienced: (i) at the level of the individual as citizens, social actors, and military personnel; (ii) at the level of social groups and organisations, some associated with geographical locations at local, regional, national, and international levels; (iii) at the national level as the Government and other organisations attempt to manage the present and plan for an uncertain future; and at the international level as Ukraine seeks support and material assistance from other countries and international organisations such as the European Union, America, and the United Nations.

The problems faced are extremely complex. They involve many poorly understood entangled social, economic, political, socio-technical, and environmental subsystems. Traditional science cannot disentangle the complex dynamics of messy systems of systems of systems required to inform policies for managing crises as unexpected events come together to create unforeseeable multilevel, multiscale multidimensional problems. In response to this challenge a new transdisciplinary science has emerged to address the bewildering problems of the modern world – the Science of Complex Systems.

To better understand citizens’ behavioural and psychological reactions in the event of a disaster or crisis situation we propose a new transdisciplinary scientific approach involving an extensive programme of data collection for Ukraine analysed in the context of the evolving Science of Complex Systems. We aim to design a holistic system for the analysis of human behaviour patterns under emergencies and crises which can be replicated throughout the world, and develop multi-level recommendations for resilience strategies.

Our objective is to better understand citizens’ behavioural and psychological reactions in the event of a disaster or crisis situation through the unique opportunity to study the crisis in Ukraine as it evolves over the next three years, and the social dynamics associated with resilience and prevention strategies at all social levels.

Our ambition To apply and develop state-of-the-art science to the appalling crisis in Ukraine to provide useful support and infrastructure for decision makers in the short term and, longer term, to provide decision makers including the European Union with robust methods and infrastructure for scientific data collection and analysis to enable effective bottom-up self-organisation and top-down interventions for managing foreseen and unforeseeable disasters and crises as they emerge locally and globally over the forthcoming decades.

Overarching Research Question

How can the new science of complex science inform policy makers and social actors at all levels to better understand citizens’ behavioural and psychological reactions and find solutions to unforeseeable problems when disasters and crises situations arise and persist in messy multidimensional multilevel highly dynamic and unpredictable complex socio-technical systems of systems of systems with multiple heterogeneous stakeholders?

Focussed Research Questions

RQ1. What have been the personal experiences of people in Ukraine in the crisis?

RQ2. What have been the behavioural and psychological patterns and reactions of people in Ukraine to the crisis?

RQ3. What support has been available to help adversely affected people be resilient, and what were the outcomes?

RQ4. What have been experiences of private and public sector organisations in Ukraine in the crisis?

RQ5. How can science model the messy multifaceted crisis in order to inform and support decision makers?

RQ6. How has the crisis changed the economy and socio-economic behaviours and how have people adapted?

RESILIENCE-UKRAINE.CS-DC will address these questions by coordinating and seeking funding for many collaborative project over the next five to ten years. The objective is to support resilience and reconstruction by enabling Ukrainian scientists and policy makers to work productively on collaborative international projects aimed at solving local, national and global problems in the short and long terms.