Accessibility statement


The York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Complex Analysis (YCCSA) is a wide and active collaboration across science departments (and beyond) at the University of York that has as its primary objective the development of novel mathematical and computational methods and tools for the analysis and modelling of complex systems drawn across engineering, physical, and biological sciences.

  • YCCSA, through its members, supports (both in terms of space, personnel and equipment) a wide range of research into complex systems, including novel hardware and software engineering, and modelling of physical and biological complex systems at multiple levels of detail.

For YCCSA staff publications, visit the People page and follow the Google Scholar profile links.

Members of YCCSA are also involved in the York Computational Immunology Lab (YCIL), the Biological Physical Sciences Institute (BPSI), Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies (ICNS), York Robotics Laboratory (YRL), and the Science and Technologu Studies Unit

Current Research



The Mara Herbivore Network Project is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, the University of York, Kenya Wildlife Service and the Masai Mara National Reserve. The project is funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and supported by Fig Tree Camp.
We are interested in what drives the formation of mixed species groups and particularly the role that information transfer between species plays in this context. Our study system is the multi-species assemblages of herbivores on the African Savannah, with fieldwork taking place in the Masai Mara, Kenya. The research is focused on the 12 most common species of large herbivores, and aims to provide a deeper understanding of processes in community ecology and thereby information for conservation management. provides information on all aspects of the discipline of oral and maxillofacial surgery,  from impacted teeth, orofacial pain, mouth ulcers, orofacial infections, trauma, to mouth and skin cancers. Some of these conditions will affect approximately 1 in 4 people in their lifetime. 
The website provides accurate information about conditions, treatment, and managing the consequences of conditions and treatment in the mouth, jaws and face. One aim is to help patients to take ownership of their conditions and help them to help themselves. However, the website is designed as a single-platform information resource for patients, carers and professionals alike.

Link to main page

  • 2016 - ongoing

‘Dynamic ant networks: How environmental constraints and ecological context shape 
resource transport systems’

Many ants distribute their colony members and resources across multiple nests; movement between nests is maintained by a network of persistent trails. These ant transportation systems, common among beneficial and pest species, are similar to human transportation systems in many ways. Like subway systems and road networks, their goal is to move resources and individuals quickly and efficiently from place to place. Designing an efficient and reliable transportation system at minimal cost is a difficult problem even for human engineers, who can take a system-wide perspective. Ant colonies, in contrast, build their transportation networks with no central vision or overarching plan. Certain species are nonetheless able to create systems that are remarkably reliable, efficient, and low-cost. This research will develop a new framework to explain how ant colonies create such well-functioning transportation systems via a process of gradual modification rather than design.

  • NSF
  • June 2018 - May 2022
  • $365k ~


SpInspired will develop a methodology for discovering and exploiting good natural computational models of material computing, and for determining appropriate basic units that are both mathematically rich (so that they can be composed and combined into higher order representations) and efficiently physically realisable (so that they can be exploited as powerful combinational devices in unconventional domains and applications).

  • October 2018- September 2021
  • Computer Science
  • £507,656

Systemic Failure in Finance 

This project aims to develop a permanent international research network investigating key issues in finance for Official Development Assistance (ODA), such as systemic failure, to improve the delivery of finance to countries in receipt of ODA, reducing the risk of failure and increasing the opportunities for sustainable development. Such network will include experts from ODA donor and recipient countries, international organisations, policy-oriented institutions, practitioners, decision makers, scholars. Coordinated by University of York academics the network will produce research outputs to support policy / decision making on finance for ODA, proposals to fund research activities and knowledge exchange opportunities (workshops, yearly conferences).

Real Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of Swallowing and Speech in Patients Following Major Maxillofacial Surgery and Reconstruction

The project examines the mechanics of swallowing and speech by real-time MRI videos in order to improve the long-term post-operative quality of life of maxillofacial patients after major interventions. The first step taken in this project will establish the methodological framework in healthy volunteers.

  • Centre for Future Health (CFH) - Wellcome Trust
  • December 2018 - March 2020
  • £28,800

Completed Research


‌  Pedigrees logo

A graphical model approach to pedigree construction using constrained optimisation

The project goal is to develop efficient methods for constructing family trees ('pedigrees') from DNA data. Accurate pedigrees are crucial in assessing genetic influences on disease.

  • Medical Research Council
  • Jun 2011 - May 2014
  • Computer Science
  • £447,160 

CellBranch - a toolset for exploring Stem Cell Differentiation and Pluripotency with Branching Process Theory

  • BBSRC, "Tools and resources development fund", Mar 2014- Mar 2015
Micro chipped ant ACORN: Ant Collective Organisation in Robust Networks
  • The Royal Society
  • Jan 2010 - Mar 2015
  • Biology, Computer Science
  • £460,194
  Ecosystems Interactions - This proejct explores the policy implications of the interactions between ecosystems and 
other socio-economic systems in producing important services from which society benefits.
  • Jan 2012 - Jan 2015
  TRUCE - Training and research in unconventional computation in Europe.  TRUCE is a Coordination Action  supporting research under the FP7: Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the ICT theme.
  • EU FET FP7 Coordination Action,  Oct 2012 - Sept 2015
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of York
  • University of Malaga
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Professor Susan Stepney
  • Professor Martyn Amos
  • Dr Francisco J Vico
  • Professor  Steen Rasmussen
 ‌ NEMOG - New Business Models in the Digital Economy
  • ESRC
  • Oct 2013 - Sept 2016
  • University of York
  • Cass Business School
  • Durham University Business School
  • Newcastle University

emBRACE- Building Resilience Amongst Communities in Europe. 

emBRACE aims to improve the pan-European framing of resilience. Using interdisciplinary, socially inclusive and collaborative methods, it is developing conceptual and methodological approaches to clarify how the resilience capacity of communities confronted with natural hazards and disasters can be characterized, defined and measured. 

  •  EU 7th Framework Programme
  • October 2011 – September 2015
  • SEI York
  • Euros 3,243,423 
  • Dr John Forrester, York 
  • EURAC Bolzano, Italy
  • King’s College London, UK
  • METU, Ankara, Turkey
  • Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford, UK
  • UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
  • United Nations University, Bonn, Germany.
  • Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • University of Northumbria, UK
  • University of Reading, UK
  • WSL , Switzerland 
  EvoEvo - Evolution of evolution. Evolution is the major source of complexity on Earth, at the origin of all the species we can observe, interact with or breed. On a smaller scale, evolution is at the heart of the adaptation process for many species, in particular micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses...). Microbial evolution results in the emergence of the species itself, and it also contributes to the organisms' adaptation to perturbations or environmental changes. These organisms are not only organised by evolution, they are also organised to evolve.
  • EU FET FP7, "Evolution of Living Technologies" call, Oct 2013 - Sept 2016
  • INrA, France
  • University of York
  • Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble
  • Universiteit Utrecht
  • CSIC, Spain 
  • Professor Guillaume Beslon
  • Dominique Schneider
  • Professor Paulien Hogeweg
  • Professor Susan Stepney
  • Professor Santiago F. Elena
  The Evolution of Prolonged Post-reproductive Lifespan in a Non-Human Mammal
  • NERC
  • University of York
  • University of Exeter
  • Feb 2014 to Dec 2016
  • Dr  Dan Franks
  • Darren Croft
  • Mike Cant
  Interspecific Information Transfer as a Driver of Community Structure in Savanna Herbivores
  • NERC
  • Jul 2014 – Feb 2018
Computer brain Journeys in Non-Classical Computation 
  • UKCRC Grand Challenge 7
  • 2003 - 2023...?
  • Computer Science, Electronics


Centres of Doctoral Training


CIDCATS: Combating Infectious Disease: Computational

Approaches in Translational Science

This is a four-year PhD training programme that will provide students with in-depth knowledge of infectious diseases 
and the interdisciplinary skills necessary to conduct research in one of the following three inter-related research
themes, that are central to our ability to combat these infections:

  • Drug Target Development
  • Predictive Modelling of Pathogenesis and Treatment Response
  • Development of Novel Tools for Complex Data Analysis.

The aim is to deliver the next generation of scientists who will drive quantitative biology to support interdisciplinary 
research in the biomedical sciences.

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • CII
  • Computer Science
  • Electronics
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • HYMS
  • YSBL


IGGI: Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence (IGGI) is a
collaboration between the University of York, the University of Essex and Goldsmiths College,
University of London. It will train the next generation of researchers, designers, developers and 
entrepreneurs in digital games.  

The doctoral programme combines practical skills training with  advanced teaching in cutting-edge research 
topics two industrial placements during the programme, giving first hand industrial experience that will 
influence their research projects. Graduates will have the skills needed to succeed in a career in games, 
having also developed strong relationships with the leaders in the UK digital games industry

  • Computer Science
  • Unviersity of Essex                
  • Goldsmiths