Complex Systems

Addressing the interactions between people, products, technologies, services, procedures, policies and culture which, when combined, form complex socio-technical systems.

We regularly work with industrial partners across a wide range of sectors including the nuclear industry, construction, the NHS, the food industry, transportation and other safety critical industries.

More recently we have worked in partnership with the UK Healthcare, Rail and Marine Investigation Branches. The group also has collaborated with a wide range of researchers from Europe, the USA, South America, Africa, Australia and the Far East.

Key projects

Members have applied their research to a number of domains including: sustainability and threats to the environment; resilience engineering within healthcare; design and evaluation of jobs, tasks, work and service systems; human factors and health and safety; risk assessment and risk management; mapping, modelling and simulation of complex systems; participatory ergonomics and service co-creation; public safety and crowds; patient safety and human error modelling; health and safety in construction, manufacturing and service sectors; accident analysis, investigation and prevention; influencing attitudes towards health and safety work and ageing.

Improving the process of accident and incident investigation

This has involved a range of activities including providing support and guidance regarding the use of systemic accident analysis tools to improve investigation. Recent projects have focused on track worker safety with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and maternity investigations with the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.

Design for better healthcare and public health

The projects in this topic include creating integrated care pathways for safer medicines management among older people, mental health system design for suicide prevention, system design for the baby-friendly community in Kenya, and machine learning-based decision support system design for people with learning disabilities.

Health and safety in major construction

Our research has examined how individuals, teams and organisations operate in large-scale construction projects, seeking to achieve good worker health, safety and wellbeing outcomes and the factors that facilitate and hinder this. This included tacking management led initiatives to see how these played out in a complex socio‐technical systems context.

Further information