Complex systems

Complex systems is a collaboration between Connected & Responsible Futures. Complexity is a new way of thinking about systems that display a capacity for self organisation and emergent behaviours. Examples of complex systems include infrastructures such as power networks, transportation or communication systems, social and economic organisations and ecosystems.

Digital connectivity is transforming our lives and has the potential to improve efficiency, safety and sustainability. Such radical innovations bring risks as well as benefits By bringing together our rich and diverse expertise across social sciences, STEM, and design and innovation, our researchers are looking to play their part in building a future-facing understanding of social, technical and economic interdependencies in transport, the environment and smart cities and address contemporary issues such as migration, globalisation and circular economy – holistically.

We aim to ensure as best we can, that our future is human-centred and inclusive; that we provide world-leading privacy, security and trust and migrate cultural legacies and identities to preserve a safe and meaningful sense of place.

Our Centre for Secure, Intelligent and Usable Systems focuses on both theoretical and practical research in computer science challenges related to security, intelligence and usability of software systems such as the EU-funded VISION project that has developed a visual privacy platform to help public entities deliver transparent and privacy-enhanced e-government services that meet the highest privacy standards and offer citizens personalised control over their data.

Our successful bid to host one of only three regional Digital Catapult Centres was anchored on the notion of an ‘Internet of Place’, and our £1.3m ESIF/ACE project DRIVA manifests this complexity by providing unprecedented access to Gatwick Airport’s big data and a range of support including innovation development processes, R&D grants, expert advice and access to specialist facilities. The project is also the official launch of the LGF funded ‘Satellite Catapult’ Data Research and Innovation Lab based at the University’s Moulsecoomb campus that provides high performance data analytics computers.

The University has particular expertise for underpinning smart cities research; our Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC) is an internationally-recognised centre of research and enterprise excellence with an established track record of pioneering research in automotive engineering, working alongside global academics, industry leaders and policymakers to tackle the most pressing engineering challenges in the transportation sector. From specialist teams conducting crucial research into applications used in space through to projects exploring the use of local buses by adults with learning disabilities and seminal eBikes research integrating sustainable transport and mobile media, our experts explore a wide range of transport options and consider technological change, sustainable alternatives and wider implications for society.

Additional projects:




Privacy Labs


Placed based narratives

Digitisation Lab

Public sector community engagement

Community 21

EMPOWERCARE with the Living lab

Find out more about all Connected Futures initiatives.

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