The Synergy Program for Analysing Resilience and Critical transitionS (SparcS) is set up by Marten Scheffer to catalyze novel insights in the mechanisms that govern resilience and critical transitions in complex systems ranging from the climate and ecosystems to society and the brain. This is achieved by fostering new ways of cooperation between leading scientists working in these fields and scientists working on complex systems theory.
The structure of SparcS
SparcS is a small center, but has a network structure designed to invoke cross-disciplinary work across a broad community in a ‘viral’ way. It is directed by Marten Scheffer, has a small tenured staff and a population of around 12 Post-Docs and graduate students. Linked to this core there is the ‘external faculty’. This is a group of international top-scientists that are committed to work with SparcS on a regular basis. SparcS funds their travel costs but not salaries. Together, the core and the external faculty have a strategic network of cooperators that participate in SparcS on a project basis.
The way it works
While the time of the core-group is entirely devoted to the SparcS work, the input from the external faculty and other scientists is ensured through regular workshops and smaller visits. Such encounters are typically organized in isolated surroundings, and care is taken to create an atmosphere where brilliant minds find peace to exchange insights and think deeply. At the same time, we envision the kind and intense interaction at SparcS to shape a new generation of broad visionary thinkers.