Nexus Research Initiative

The term Nexus [/ˈneksəs/] means “a connection or series of connections linking two or more things.” Identifying the characteristics and understanding the behaviour of such “things” comprise fundamental steps before achieving a proper connection (or linking).

Against this definition, Nexus Research Initiative compreends the sociotechnical systems’ elements as these “things” and thus promotes initiatives to examine, build, establish, and evaluate the linking of these elements. The research work is basically centered on three main research lines separeted in two main streams of research.

  • Technical challenges
    1. Complex Systems Engineering
    2. Applied Software Systems
  • Social challenges
    1. Society & Business Transformation.

Nexus Research Initiative is officially located at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), Santo André, Brazil.

Federal University of ABC (UFABC)

Located in the industrial belt of São Paulo – Brazil’s largest city – in an area known as ABC, Federal University of ABC (UFABC) was created to contribute directly and indirectly to the education of Brazilian people, to advance knowledge in engineering, mathematics, computing, natural and human sciences; and to meet the demands of regional industrial activity and public administration.

UFABC is one of the youngest Brazilian universities. Founded in 2006, today it operates two campuses, both still partly under construction, but already established a reputation for high-level interdisciplinary research and teaching.

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Theoretical Background

Sociotechnical Systems include technical systems but also operational processes and people who use, depend, and interact with technical systems.

  • A system represents a collection of inter-related components to achieve a common objective. The interaction of system components leads to complexity.
  • A common understanding of contemporary systems is that they are not limited to the technical perspective. The ways how people and organizations use, interact, and operate technical systems should be also contextualized and studied as they affect the system as a whole.
  • Therefore, we understand systems as an instantiation of socio and technical elements engaged in goal-directed behaviour.

A Sociotechnical System, therefore, often describes a ‘thing’ (an interlinked system based mixture of people, technology and their environment).

Motivation & Problem

Emerging software systems, IoT devices, collaborative platforms and online social media have become vital elements not only for supporting the daily tasks of both societies and organizations but also for monitoring and understanding their behaviour and practices. This ultimately may lead to the transformation of organizational tasks and users’ behaviour. For instance, deciding among the existing routes after analyzing traffic jams using Waze, or buying a product based on previous users’ feedback on Twitter.

However, the fast dissemination of these digital technologies poses new social issues to understand their role of such on the transformations of society and organization, e.g., what are the existing and/or the unpredicted transformational effects motivated by digital technologies. While, on the other hand, technical challenges may raise on examining how they would be better designed, combined and developed to provide a valuable and concise solution (i.e., product or service). An example would be the design of a System-of-Systems for smart cities.


Be recognized world leader in studying, developing, and proposing initiatives that provide valuable contributions and advance the state-of-the-art in sociotechnical system research.


Promote research initiatives to advance theories, methods, and effective practices of sociotechnical systems applied to contemporary challenges of society through collaborative research.