The Resilience Shift is a Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) initiative delivered by Arup

How did we start?

The Resilience Shift was set up in 2016 to address the recommendations of the LRF Foresight review of resilience engineering

Five outcomes were set as the indicators of a successful change in mindset, education and practice, which would demonstrate a resilience shift as regards critical infrastructure:

The adoption of dynamic performance based design approaches in broad practice.

The adoption or use of tools and processes to value resilience and make sure that value is realised throughout the project life cycle by project owners, developers, financiers and insurers.

The use of integrated systems approaches as context for major infrastructure projects

The integration of systems thinking and resilience into existing engineering education and new courses focused on resilience engineering

The adoption of transformative technologies that facilitate (rather than compromise) critical system functionality.


Year 1 – setting up the programme

In the first year, our key activities have included mobilisation of the programme, agenda setting, establishing the programme’s identity, and creating the conditions necessary for effective delivery. The initial call for proposals was launched in January 2017, and the first projects started in March 2017.


What have we learned so far?

We have carried out a significant amount of research to test the proposals and outcomes of the programme, and inform its future approach.

There is a growing body of academic work but we are clear that resilience must now move from theory to practice, building in learning loops to document, inform and improve education, practice and outcomes.

There are many professional routes to resilience and we need to be mindful of building on best practice and specific sector expertise. However, the scope and parameters for infrastructure projects will need to broaden if we are to include resilience considerations from the outset.

There are good reasons for classic engineering approaches which consider single assets not systems, and require design to fixed thresholds. For many decades, these approaches were more than good enough, with the obvious evidence being that where best practices are followed, structures and infrastructure generally do not fail.

Engineering for the future has traditionally been based on past events and past performance. It uses sound statistical and probabilistic approaches based on historic observations, as well as modelling and expert opinion. The difference is that we live in a much more complex, interdependent world and we must design for a diverse and uncertain future.

Design, construction and operation of critical infrastructure requires decisions to be made in the face of multiple known and unknown hazards and highly uncertain cost estimates. This requires an adaptive approach in design and engineering practice.


What do we mean by resilience in this context?

The resilience of critical infrastructure is about its functionality, its ability to continue to provide critical services, protect or connect communities, enabling the flow of goods, services, people and knowledge. We have adopted a set of resilience characteristics that we think fits best for the purpose of understanding resilience in critical infrastructure in practice.

Success would mean that critical infrastructure can:  Withstand and endure (safe failure) | Recover (appropriately prompt recovery) | Adapt (and have adaptive capacity) | Transform (and knowing when it is time to)

Risk vs resilience and known hazards vs deep uncertainty are fundamental tensions challenging current practice. We believe that resilience is about complexity and systems thinking and requires a different approach to traditional, complicated engineering problems. Human factors and the understanding of socio-technical systems are therefore critical.