New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Introducing Complexity Science in Higher Education for Preparing the New Generations to be Aware and Promote a Sustainable Future.

Pier Luigi Gentili, University of Perugia (Italy)

Gianluigi Cardinali, University of Perugia (Italy)

Piero Dominici, University of Perugia (Italy)

David Grohmann, University of Perugia (Italy)

Maria Elena Menconi, University of Perugia (Italy)

Claudio Santi, University of Perugia (Italy)


The presence of almost 8 billion humans on Earth and their strong interconnections promoted by the swift Information and Communication Technologies and the fast means of transport make the Earth a strongly intertwined network. A problem in a community or a sector regards directly or indirectly everyone on Earth. Any local accident or issue can have global repercussions. Therefore, we are called to face global challenges [1, 2]. It is compelling to prepare new generations to tackle such global challenges. A paradigm shift in higher education is required. It is urgent to train not only specialists but also generalists [3] (also said polymath [4] or hybrid figures [5]). This work proposes a strategy to prepare generalists. It is based on interdisciplinary Complexity Science. The features shared by all those Complex Systems that are involved in the global challenges, i.e., living beings, ecosystems, urban areas, world economy, and human societies, must be taught. Furthermore, the difficulties in describing and predicting their behaviour should be evidenced. The fundamental thinking skills that next generalists should have for problem-solving are discussed [6]. Generalists are called to integrate the economic, societal, environmental, and ethical dimensions for fully sustainable development.

Keywords: Higher Education; Interdisciplinary; Global Challenges; Complex Systems; Systems Thinking.


[1] UN General Assembly (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. A/RES/70/1.

[2] Martin, J. (2007) The meaning of the 21st century: a vital blueprint for ensuring our future. Riverhead Books, New York.

[3] Epstein, D. (2019) Range. How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. MacMillan, London (UK).

[4] Ahmed, W. (2019) The Polymath: Unlocking the Power of Human Versatility. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern gate, Chichester, West Sussex (UK).

[5] Dominici, P. (2020) Educating for the Future in the Age of Obsolescence. CADMUS 4(3), 93-109.

[6] Gentili, P. L. (2018) Untangling Complex Systems: A Grand Challenge for Science. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton (FL, USA).

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