Using of a formal viability framework for adaptive and robust management of coupled infrastructure systems in the Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework.

The general purpose of VIRGO is to propose operational mathematical tools, based on the theory of viability, for the sustainable management of coupled infrastructure systems and socio-ecological systems. VIRGO is an interdisciplinary project at the border of political science, mathematics and environmental sciences and relies on existing collaborations with teams from the Institute of the coordinator (IRSTEA) but also with international teams. Different case studies are approached in the project: sustainable management of water as well as managed forests. In addition, VIRGO represents an opportunity to consolidate research activities on the development of operational tools for the sustainable management of environmental systems using the theory of viability in the framework of SES.



Connecting two approaches

The VIRGO project aims to bridge two approaches, namely viability theory and analytical frameworks from the institutional economy. Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework and the socio-ecological system (SES) framework enable analysis of natural resource management. This framework brings together a set of variables that can influence the interactions between actors within socio-ecological systems and their sustainability. The research aims to take into account the complexity of socio-ecological systems in the identification of governance modes allowing sustainable resource management. In a complementary way, decision-makers need operational tools (based on mathematical and simulation tools) for the viable and resilient management of socio-ecological systems. Viability theory was previously used for handling environmental management issues. In its core, it defines properties we want to preserve and provide a range of acceptable outcomes instead of a unique and optimal solution that seems relevant for management. However, when it comes to its connection with institutional analysis, viability theory can fall short in analyzing such interactions on its own. Hence, using together institutional analysis and viability theory will counterbalance their respective weakness.

Case study


Type of funding scheme:  JCJC/Young researchers

ANR contribution: 166 967 euros

Scheduled duration of the project: 42 months

Name of the principal investigator (PI): Jean-Denis Mathias