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Tipping Points

Critical Transitions

If tipping points do exist in the world then we must develop methods, especially innovative policy, that addresses how we live in a 'tipping points' world. Policies of the future would need to account for the role of smaller processes or forcings internal to systems that lead to major changes. This involves bridging knowledge from all of the Tipping Points work packages in the sciences and humanities to confront physical and socioeconomic problems in a new way. The goals for Critical Transitions will be delivered in two ways:

1. Support tipping point-related activities within the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Futures theme, involving invited fellows, lectures and other workshops

2. Establish the core theme for 2013-2014 on 'tipping points' through public lectures, visits from world leading academics and policy-makers and workshops and conferences

The aim is to develop anticipatory knowledge and policy guided by implications of the tipping points theory. This will involve bridging the material from all four Tipping Points work packages to understand how we come to describe history and periods and the extent to which such descriptions can be taken actively as signs of a particular system state.


  • Leaders: Professor Patricia Waugh (English Studies) and Professor Sarah Atkinson (Geography)
  • Research Associate: Marc Botha (English Studies)
  • Additional Researchers: Leaders from WPs 1-4, Dr. John Nash (English), Professor Michael Batty (UCL), Paul Ormerod (Volterra Consulting)