Development of the theory underpinning connectivity

Because i-CONN aims to use Connectivity Science to understand and manage complex systems by learning from transdisciplinary perspectives, we place strong emphasis on developing the theoretical foundation of connectivity research alongside stakeholders.

Many scientific questions can be mapped to a comparison of a (rather static) structural network to be compared with a (rather dynamic) functional network, i.e. to understand relationships between structural and functional connectivity. One of the foundations of our ITN is the conviction that the specific questions about relationships between SC and FC can be abstracted, such that a common set of tools can be employed.

WP1 will develop underpinning transdisciplinary theory of Connectivity Science, by exploring relations and dynamics between SC and FC and their wider application – here, the experience of real-world applications by stakeholders (EA, AAISCS and IIASA) is critical.

WP1 will be achieved by fulfilling the following objectives:

Objective 1.1
Will provide theoretical knowledge about structure-function connectivity (SC-FC) relationships in networks (ESR1, 2, 4).

Objective 1.2
Will explore the ranges of validity of SC-FC relationships and reformulate them for usage in the application projects (ESR 3, 4, 6, 8, 13).

Objective 1.3
Will arrive at suitable (minimal) abstractions of specific systems, such that the tools within the common methodology become applicable and results can be compared among the different application projects (ESR 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13).

Whilst key to fulfilling the tasks of WP1, these ESR projects also cross-cut WPs 2 and 3, thus ensuring that methods and applications of Connectivity Science have a firm theoretical foundation, and there is cross-fertilization of ideas and a three-way exchange between theory, methods development and applications. The involvement of the non-academic partners in WP1 will ensure that theoretical developments remain grounded in terms of their real-world applications.

ESR Positions in this Work Package


Durham University (United Kingdom)

Spatial and temporal roles of critical nodes in ecogeomorphic systems

ESR 10

University of Vienna (Austria)

Hotspots and hot moments: the role of connectivity and resilience science for managing human-impacted catchment systems

ESR 12

MODUL University (Austria)

Flows of critical (energy) resources

ESR 13

Durham University (United Kingdom)

Resilience of human interactions with new landscapes


Constructor University (Germany)

Minimal models of dynamics on networks to study generic SC/FC relationships


Constructor University (Germany)

Self-organized collective patterns on graphs


Masaryk University (Czech Republic)

Catastrophic transitions: Regime shifts in network topology resulting in novel systems


Durham University (United Kingdom)

Scaling connectivity science in fluvial systems


BOKU (Austria)

Changing connectivity properties impacting resilience in riverine landscapes as socio-ecological systems