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.

Engineering X, a new international collaboration founded by the Academy and Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), has launched a £5 million, 5-year programme, Safer Complex Systems, to enhance safety and resilience of complex infrastructure systems globally. The programme will achieve this by supporting the most impactful interventions where they are most needed.

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 conducted after the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London.



  • Enhanced understanding and capacity of key stakeholders to deal with complexity and to safely design, manage and regulate complex systems globally.
  • To build and convene a diverse, global complex systems community to improve collaboration and increase knowledge sharing across sectors, disciplines and international boundaries.
  • Improved pathways for application of theory into practice to practically address issues that make complex systems unsafe.


Current activities

Call for Case Studies - Deadline for submissions 27 July 2020

The Call for Case Studies aims to create a portfolio of written case studies that share important learnings across sectors and disciplines to help create safer practices in complex systems globally. Please visit the below page and view these detailed guidance notes for more information.

Call for Case Studies Page


Global Foresight Review on the Safety of Complex Systems (Phase I)

The University of York has been commissioned to undertake an initial review of safety in the design, management and governance of complex systems. This Review will develop conceptual clarity; identify methods for the design, management and governance of complex systems; and outline emerging challenges and opportunities with regard to the safety of complex systems.

The University of York study will include findings from stakeholder workshops, informal meetings, and an online questionnaire. The study will consider the published literature on complexity, safety engineering and management, and analyse reports on accidents and incidents with complex systems. From this, a framework will be developed for the design, management and governance of complex systems. A final report and recommendations for future work will be published in mid-2020.


Survey: How do diversity and inclusion impact safety in complex systems? - Deadline Wednesday 8 July

As part of the above research we want to understand how diversity and inclusion impact safety in complex systems. You can help the team better understand this issue by completing an online survey and by sharing this opportunity with your networks of safety professionals via Twitter or LinkedIn.

This survey is aimed at anyone who works in the safety field, particularly safety engineers and safety managers, in all sectors and disciplines globally. This survey asks safety professionals to reflect on their protected characteristics in the context of the inclusivity of their working environment(s) and to give their opinion on whether each protected characteristic has influenced (positively or negatively) their ability to carry out their work effectively (for example, their ability to raise concerns about safety).



Upcoming opportunities

Call for Ideas

This is an opportunity for stakeholders located anywhere globally to input into the strategy of the Safer Complex Systems programme. Your response will help the Programme Board to determine the countries and activities that are supported through this programme.


Advocacy Programme, 2020

More information to follow shortly.


Global Foresight Review on the Safety of Complex Systems (Phase II)

More information to follow shortly.


Global Workshop on Safer Complex Systems, 2021

More information to follow shortly.



If you have any questions or if you are interested in joining the Academy’s complex system community please contact Shelley Stromdale, Programme Officer.