International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

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Laxenburg Castle, seat of the IIASA

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an independent international research institute based in Laxenburg near Vienna ( Austria ). With the help of its research programs and initiatives, the IIASA conducts politically relevant interdisciplinary research in areas that are too extensive or too complex to be tackled by a single country or a single academic discipline. This research includes pressing questions affecting the future of humanity, such as: B. Climate change , energy security , population aging and sustainable development . The research results of the IIASA and the expertise of its scientists are available to decision-makers worldwide to support them in effective, scientifically sound decision-making that enables them to overcome these challenges.


More than 400 researchers from 52 countries work at IIASA in Laxenburg; The institute also has an extensive network of employees, alumni and visitors from all over the world.

The institute is currently headed by Albert van Jaarsveld. Leena Srivastava is currently Deputy Director General and Deputy Director General for Science. Former directors include a. Howard Raiffa , Professor at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government , Roger Levien, former Vice President at Xerox , Leen Hordijk, former Director of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (Joint Research Center, European Commission), Ispra, Italy, and Detlof von Winterfeldt, Professor at the University of Southern California .

The IIASA is a non-governmental institution that is financed by the scientific organizations of its member states, which currently include the following states: Austria, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Malaysia (observer status ), Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, South Africa, Ukraine, the USA, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. The institute is also funded by contracts, grants and foundations from governments, international organizations, academic institutions, companies and individuals. The research work of the institute is completely independent and free of political or national interests.


On October 4, 1972, a meeting between representatives of the Soviet Union , the United States and 10 other countries from the Eastern and Western blocs took place at the Royal Society in London , at which the founding charter of the IIASA was signed. This was the culmination of six years of efforts by the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson , and the Prime Minister of the USSR, Alexei Kosygin . For IIASA, this marked the beginning of a remarkable project that gave the institute the opportunity to build bridges through academic collaboration during the Cold War and to address the growing global problems at the academic level. The first scientist arrived at IIASA in June 1973.

Successful bridge building and successful science clearly go hand in hand. But neither was preprogrammed. After all, it was the 1970s, and at that time most research organizations were focused on national areas. Few of them encouraged scientists from different nations or disciplines to pursue a common goal in the mutual interest.

In order to achieve its ambitious research vision, the IIASA had to break boundaries between nations and disciplines. This has been achieved by forming international multidisciplinary teams that deal with countless global challenges - both existing and new. For example, a study on water pollution carried out in the 1980s by a team of chemists, biologists, and economists at IIASA still forms the basis of modern water management in Japan, the United States, and the former Soviet Union.

When the Cold War ended (in 1991), the IIASA sponsors could have declared the mission over and dissolved the institute. But the IIASA has not only promoted mutual understanding between scientists from East and West, it has done even more. The IIASA has shown the scientific advantages that result from bringing together different nationalities and disciplines with a view to working out common goals. This approach has also been largely imitated, e.g. B. from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change ) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).

So the institute was not closed in the 1990s, but expanded its mandate from East and West to a global level. Today, with its wide range of scientific expertise, the IIASA offers scientifically sound insights into critical political questions in the international and national debate about global change.

The current research of the IIASA

The mission of IIASA is to provide scientific assistance to decision-makers in solving global problems with the help of systems analysis in order to promote human well-being and environmental protection.

In 2010 a new strategic plan for the next ten years was drawn up at IIASA, which focuses on three general problem areas: energy and climate change, food and water, and poverty and equity.

The IIASA currently runs nine research programs that focus on researching the dynamics of global change. These programs are based on holistic approaches and effective, interdisciplinary collaboration in order to identify the diverse solutions that are needed to actually ensure the global implementation of sustainable development: applied systems analysis, air quality and greenhouse gases, management of ecosystems, energy, evolution and ecology , Risk and Resilience, Transition to New Technology, Water, and World Population.

The most important projects of the IIASA

Ten IIASA scientists were among the authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (the fourth assessment report of the IPCC, to which a large number of scientists contributed, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 ). IIASA scientists also made significant contributions to Working Groups II and III of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (fifth IPCC Assessment Report ), and were invited to contribute to Working Groups I, II and III of the sixth Assessment Report.

The Greenhouse Gases - Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model was launched in 2006 as a continuation of the RAINS model (Regional Air pollution INformation and Simulation) to find cost-effective strategies to combat air pollution, such as B. to assess particulate matter and ground-level ozone. In 2019, the Chinese government officially adopted the GAINS model to improve air quality in the country.

IIASA played a leading role in the Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI), which culminated in a report in collaboration with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how the Arctic challenges, i. H. the human dimension, governance and control, international cooperation, environmental protection, environmental pollution, climate change, stability and security, economy, tourism, infrastructure, and science and education can be defined and managed.

The IIASA is a key member of the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, which provides a platform for science, the public and the private sector to develop and advance solutions that will contribute to food security , as well as ensuring healthy and affordable nutrition, curbing the loss of biodiversity, restoring and protecting the ecosystem, and counteracting climate change and environmental pollution.

In a partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land Project (ISWEL, Integrated Solutions for water, energy and land), in which instruments and capacities for a coherent management of water, energy and land resources in the Indus and Zambezi Basins are developed.

Together with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN, network for sustainable development solutions), the IIASA initiated the science platform Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land, and Energy Consortium (FABLE, food, agriculture, biodiversity, land and energy consortium). FABLE brings together teams of researchers and decision-makers from 20 developed and developing countries to develop analytical instruments and model-based decision-making aids to analyze development strategies that meet national needs, but which are at the same time as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agreement from Paris are compatible.

The Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Integration within a wider European and Eurasian Space project of the IIASA (challenges and opportunities for economic integration within an enlarged European and Eurasian area) served as a unique, depoliticized platform on which the main interest groups engage in an evidence-based dialogue could exchange. In 2018 the project published three reports with analyzes and recommendations in some important areas: the first report compared the product standards and technical regulations in the region and showed that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has already adopted international standards more fully than was previously known; the second report on direct foreign investment highlighted that capital flows between the EU and Russia are declining - in the short term, easing administrative barriers could realistically help to improve the situation; and the third report looked at the trans-Eurasian land transport corridors, arguing that expanding trade between Europe and Asia would require increased capacity, as well as removing infrastructural bottlenecks, harmonizing the regulatory environment and increasing related investments.

Since 2010 the IIASA has also been one of the three "supporting pillars" of the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital .

The Global Energy Assessment Report was published in 2012. It was the result of a collaborative and integrated collaboration of more than 500 authors, analysts and experts worldwide, who led to an independent, scientifically sound and politically relevant analysis of the current and newly emerging energy-related questions and options contributed. The report provides a thorough assessment of issues such as sustainable development, poverty reduction, climate action , health, energy security and energy access. The entire energy assessment report can be viewed online as a PDF.


Rindzevičiūtė, Eglė (2016). The Power of Systems: How Policy Sciences Opened Up the Cold War World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1-5017-0318-8 .

See also: Club of Rome

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 7 June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011.
  2. ^ "IES - Institute for Environment and Sustainability - Home" . April 14, 2010. Archived from the original on April 14, 2010.
  4. ^ IIASA's National Member Organizations Archived June 27, 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ IIASA Funding
  6. Profile of IIASA appended to summary of "Energy in a Finite World" (1981)
  7. McDONALD, A. (1998), Scientific Cooperation as a Bridge Across the Cold War Divide: The Case of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 866: 55-83. doi: 10.1111 / j.1749-6632.1998.tb09147.x
  8. Jermen Gvishiani and Roger E. Lewis in Foreword to "Energy in a Finite World" (1981)
  12. "" . THE STANDARD.
  13. GEA, 2012: Global Energy Assessment - Toward a Sustainable Future, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.

Coordinates: 48 ° 4 ′ 6 ″  N , 16 ° 21 ′ 30.6 ″  E