International Call for Ideas

This is your opportunity to input into the strategy of the Safer Complex Systems programme. Your responses will help determine the countries and activities that receive funding and other support, which will improve safety and save lives.

We are seeking a broad range of perspectives on complex systems to identify where we can have the most impact on increasing safety. We welcome input from the full breadth of engineering, and from all organisation types, all sectors and all disciplines. This is a global programme and we welcome responses from all countries. We particularly encourage responses from women and other underrepresented groups.
 
All around the world people rely on critical infrastructures to survive, stay safe and maintain a good quality of life. Much of this infrastructure, for example food and water supply, healthcare, housing, transportation and communication, is made up of complex systems. The purpose of the programme is to reduce risk and increase the safety of complex systems by supporting interventions where they are most needed.

Although there is no agreed definition for a complex system, what they have in common are interconnected systems that rely on multiple interfaces that are generally physical, electrical, digital or human. These interconnected systems deliver a function or functions that are not possible unless all systems work together. Unexpected or undesired behaviour of a system or interface within the complex system can result in failure to deliver function, risking safety of people and property.
 
Publications that demonstrate these principles include:
  • Building a Safer Futurewhich demonstrates the negative impact of an insufficient regulatory system that allowed substandard high-rise buildings to be built.
  • Living without Electricity, which demonstrates how many different complex systems (e.g. health, communication, transport) are all interconnected and interdependent. When one system fails (e.g. electricity) the others fail too.
  • Engineering Better Care, which developed a list of questions to support policy-makers and healthcare professionals to take a systems approach - or a holistic view - when designing and implementing health and social care practices.
The Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) and Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) have entered into a strategic partnership to deliver a £5 million, 5-year programme to enhance the safety of complex systems in critical infrastructure globally. The Safer Complex Systems programme is governed through a board chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng, former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and leader of the UK Government's Independent Review on Building a Safer Future.

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* 1. To start, please provide some information about you.

Your personal details

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* 4. Your work details

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* 8. Describe a complex system with safety risks (in your country or anywhere globally) and describe the three most critical safety challenges associated with this system.

Please suggest up to three safety challenges.
50 words maximum per response.
Please provide a URL to the complex system if possible.

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* 9. This programme will offer grant funding opportunities to support a broad range of activities (e.g. knowledge sharing, new regulation, public engagement campaigns) that dramatically increase the safety of complex systems. 

Taking into consideration the safety challenges listed above, what activities would be most effective in increasing the safety of the above complex system?

Please suggest up to three activities.
50 words maximum per response.

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* 10. Please give up to three examples of good practice in the design, management and governance of complex systems in your country or anywhere globally.

Tell us what was or is being done well and how this has increased people's safety.

Please provide a URL to examples if available.
100 words maximum per response.

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* 11. Please give up to three examples of failure in the design, management and governance of complex systems in your country or anywhere globally, and the lessons learned/improvements made following the failure.

Describe what wasn't done well, how this has decreased people's safety, and highlight any lessons learned/improvements made to practice following the failure.

Please provide a URL to examples wherever possible.
100 words maximum per response.

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* 12. It is vital to communicate safety challenges and risk related to complex systems to members of the public to help them to keep safe.

Do you know of any resources (in your country or anywhere globally) that talk about safety challenges and risk in complex systems in a powerful, engaging and accessible way? (E.g. film, animation, graphics, campaign, newspaper article, radio show, television programme, social media post, visual stunts etc.)

Examples include: 
  • Amnesty International's visual stunt to highlight the threat to life in the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
  • The BBC's Blue Planet II documentary series, which draws attention to how plastic pollution threaten the safety of marine life and humans.
  • Caroline Criado Perez's book Invisible Women, which highlights how data bias has a negative impact on women's health and well-being.
  • The UK government's Think! campaign, which draws attention to unsafe practices in road safety.
Please provide URLs to online resources if available.

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* 13. We aim to build an international community around complex systems.

Who else do you know of who is working in this space in your country or anywhere globally? Who should we connect with, talk to and collaborate with?

Please include a contact email wherever possible, if consent has been given.

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* 14. If you would like to be part of our global Safer Complex Systems community, and would like to receive information about grant funding opportunities, publications, future workshops and other events relating to this programme, please provide your email address below:

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* 15. If you have any further thoughts or suggestions for this programme (e.g. areas of focus; suggested networks; events) then please let us know.

Thank you for your time and contributions. Your responses will be reviewed by the Safer Complex Systems programme board and will inform the programme strategy. For opportunities and more information about this programme, please visit the Academy's website.
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