Established in 1999, the Resilience Alliance is an international, multidisciplinary research organization that explores the dynamics of social-ecological systems. RA members collaborate across disciplines to advance the understanding and practical application of resilience, adaptive capacity, and transformation of societies and ecosystems in order to cope with change and support human well-being.

The RA distinguishes itself in its capacity for comparative research and synthesis at a global scale, rooted in local and regional context-specific studies. RA research aligns with the current strategic direction of global policy fora and serves as a resource for other organizations and programs around the world. RA members have served in leadership positions on a variety of international projects (e.g., International Panel on Climate Change, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and Future Earth). In addition to coordinating research activities among members through working groups and an annual science meeting, the RA co-hosts a resilience conference every three years.

Our organizational approach involves three complementary strategies: I) contributing toward theoretical advances in the dynamics of complex adaptive systems, II) rigorous testing of theory through a variety of means, including: participatory approaches to regional case-studies, adaptive management applications, model development, and the use of scenarios and other visioning tools, and III) developing guidelines and principles that will enable others to assess the resilience of coupled human-natural systems and develop policy and management tools that support sustainable development.

As a deliberately small yet extensively networked organization, the RA is highly adaptable and able to seek out opportunities for new ways of learning about and applying resilience theory.

  • RA members are leaders in the ecological and social sciences, covering a range of disciplinary expertise
  • Our work fortifies a paradigm shift in natural resource management from top-down, command-and-control optimization to the promotion of building resilience and enabling self-organization along sustainable trajectories
  • RA members have extensive experience engaging stakeholders in adaptive management and resilience assessment processes
  • We are continually exploring new ways of communicating and building connections among researchers and practitioners to improve access to new knowledge and ideas
  • The RA publishes Ecology & Society, a peer-reviewed, open access journal, and brings research findings to the attention of policy and decision-makers at all levels


RA Founding members include the late C.S. Buzz Holling