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Over the past decade, a clear trend toward distributed automation in industrial systems was observable. This means that applications are executed at heterogeneous control devices and communication networks. One of the main drivers of this development was the availability of cheap computing and communication resources. Moreover, a strong market demand for operation and adaptation of automation and control services with no downtime is also often requested. As a result, appropriate approaches recovering and (re)configuring automation and control devices as well as even their services and functions during full operation are needed. The relatively new standard IEC 61499 “Function Blocks” provides a reference model for the development and implementation of distributed industrial process measurement and control systems (IPMCSs). It provides a scalable and open architecture to model distributed automation and control applications. The high-level goals of IEC 61499 can be summarized as interoperability, (re)configurability, and portability of distributed applications for IPMCS. Therefore, it provides a very good basis for dynamic (re)configuration and recovery of applications and status information in heterogeneous IPMCS and may master some of the shortcomings of present-day systems. The main purpose of this paper is to present and discuss a general concept for autonomous recovery of applications within the context of distributed automation and control systems which has been implemented using the IEC 61499 reference model.