Detail from Plant forms, an Impression Figure by Margaret Watts Hughes, pigment on glass, date unknown (recolored). Courtesy of Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery via

Online + Exploratory + Transdisciplinary


Program OverviewDates & TimesTuition & FeesProgram GoalsVenueFacultyAudienceApplication Requirements


Program Overview

SFI Complexity Interactive (SFI-CI) combines the dynamic interactions of an in-person course with the flexibility to learn from anywhere in the world. This three-week, part-time, online course offers participants a theory- and applications-based view of complexity science. Complexity Interactive provides a foundation for thinking broadly about complex systems, encouraging participants to explore syntheses across systems in an open dialog with SFI faculty. The program's size is limited to ensure everyone has ample opportunity to discuss with faculty and with each other.

In 2022, the curriculum will explore scaling, robustness, and feedbacks, with a particular focus on sustainability and climate change.

Dates & Times

January 10 - 28, 2022.

Live sessions take place 1:00–3:00pm Santa Fe local time (GMT – 6), Monday - Friday. Interest group discussion and group project work are self-scheduled and/or asynchronous and tend to occupy up to 10 additional hours per week.

Tuition & Fees

The program's tuition cost is $500. A limited number of scholarships are available to participants who can articulate a need for support; scholarship application instructions will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Program Goals
  • Recognize cross-system regularities that govern complex systems and have a vocabulary for describing those properties 
  • Understand the approaches used to understand complex systems and the considerations for employing different approaches
  • Work collaboratively to define and address a question in complex systems science
  • Expand your global complex systems scientific network

SFI-CI takes place online, using Zoom, Discord, Gathertown, and ComplexityExplorer platforms, all of which are available at no cost but may require registration. Access to YouTube will be required to access recorded content.


SFI-CI director Miguel Fuentes

The Complexity Interactive director is Miguel Fuentes, external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. He holds degrees in physics and philosophy of science and is broadly interested in characterizing and understanding complex behaviors of various systems. His recent work looked at the structure of online information during social disintegration to identify signatures of crises.

Speakers come from SFI's extensive research network and include:

Seth Blumsack – energy law & policy • Tina Eliassi-Rad – networks • Brian Enquist – biodiversity & macroecology • David Krakauer – complexity • Mary O'Connor – ecosystems & climate change • Allison Stanger – democratic sustainability • Geoffrey West – cities & scaling • Hyejin Youn – innovation • with more speakers to be announced

The director is assisted by a Project Coordinator, who will facilitate informal discussions and help guide the group projects.


SFI-CI 2021 participants

Complexity Interactive is aimed at practicing researchers and leaders from academic, private, non-profit, and government sectors. The curriculum is especially suited to graduate students and postdocs (or those at similar career stages) who wish to develop a more trans-disciplinary approach in their work, as well as those who want a deeper look into the approaches of complex systems science as practiced at SFI.

The SFI-CI team is committed to offering inclusive educational programs in which all participants feel valued and supported in their learning journey. We believe that human diversity in all of its dimensions is essential to meaningful scientific progress. We believe that open discourse and respectful sharing of broad perspectives is essential for understanding our world and worlds beyond. We work to ensure our educational programs reflect and encourage this diversity and inclusivity, and we welcome you to join us.

Application Requirements 
  • Biographical information (filled out directly in the application portal)
  • Current cv or résumé
  • Personal statement of interest in the course (max. 1 page), addressing what you hope to gain from participating and/or how the course would benefit your scientific or broader professional goals. The personal statement should focus on you rather than a particular research question.
  • Research statement (max. 1 page), describing a question, issue, or problem that interests you.