Arizona State University and the Santa Fe Institute have launched a joint research and education program that is advancing scientific theory at the intersections of biological and social systems, with a focus on practical application in science and policy.

The complex interactions among human, ecological, and biological systems can produce unexpected results. In addition, when viewed as an extension of biology, our social systems can benefit from our scientific study of biological systems, and vice versa.

Capitalizing on the growing ties between our organizations, we launched the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems in January 2015. This center, designed as an international incubator of solution-driven transdisciplinary research, brings together scholars from one of the country's most innovative research universities with experts from SFI’s worldwide complexity community.

The center aims to provide researchers and policymakers with the tools to make better predictions, and design better interventions, that make our cities and institutions more sustainable and more amenable to human productivity, creativity, and progress.

The collaboration, SFI’s first formal partnership with a university, supports faculty hiring and postdoctoral fellowships as well as workshops and working groups, faculty exchange visits, and talks. The Center's first workshop, held in October 2014 at SFI, explored the origins of novelty in biological, social, and technological systems.

Examples of other research supported by the center includes explorations of how cells develop into unique types; what humans can learn about agriculture from insects that farm; and the qualities that all human societies share.

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