Towards the Design of Resilient Large-scale Engineering Systems

W. H. Jonathan Mak*, P. John Clarkson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Resilience has mostly been thought of as the ability to recover from adversity. However, it is now increasingly recognised that resilience should not only serve as a means for organisations to survive hardship, but also to thrive and prosper. For large-scale engineering systems, such as telecommunications networks and power grids, this is vital due to relatively long life cycles leading to large uncertainties, and also due to the significant investments involved. Exactly how this and thus resilience should be designed into such systems, however, is less well defined. Here, the term resilience is explored through engineering, organisational and ecological literature to understand differing perspectives from select domains before distilling these into the three engineering design lifecycle properties: robustness, adaptability and flexibility. In particular, a distinction is highlighted between adaptability and flexibility following findings in literature. These properties and the concept of resilience are discussed with reference to system performance in order to serve as requirements for designing large-scale resilient engineering systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-541
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event27th CIRP Design Conference 2017 - Cranfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 May 201712 May 2017


  • engineering design
  • engineering systems
  • Resilience


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