Research blog of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

The roads to 2050

An ambitious international scientific initiative aims to chart the pathways from now to 2050 with a single aim: successful completion of the Sustainable Development Goals within planetary boundaries.

Counting the Nepalese

Nepal is seeing massive migration to other countries, for jobs and other opportunities—what does that mean for population projections in the country?

Who are the refugees?

In the first survey of its kind in German-speaking countries, asylum-seekers in Austria are asked about their backgrounds, qualifications, and values.

Interview: Can nature bounce back?

An interview with Rockefeller University Program for the Human Environment Director Jesse Ausubel—an alumnus of IIASA’s Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)—on his optimistic view for the future of our planet.

Science for policy’s sake

By Daisy Brickhill, IIASA Science Writer and Editor “In some senses, the science-policy process can be likened to a sausage being made,” said Dr E. William Colglazier in his lecture at IIASA this week. We could take this in different ways: that it is messy, perhaps,...

Countdown to zero?

Zero net global greenhouse gas emissions must become a reality before the end of the century if humankind is to stave off the worst effects of climate change. How can this be achieved?

Towards a Catholic North America in 2062?

What will the future landscape of religion look like in North America? IIASA demographer Anne Goujon describes the results from a new set of projections accounting for different assumptions about fertility, conversion and secularization rates, and migration

Interview: Outside the castle walls

IIASA Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases researcher Fabian Wagner is spending a year at Princeton University as a visiting professor. We caught up with him to find out what he’s working on.

Six questions for Simon Levin

Read an interview with Princeton University Professor Simon Levin—IIASA council chair 2003-2008–has won numerous awards for his interdisciplinary research in environmental sciences, economics, and evolutionary biology.

Journey of your life: Demography for the demos

With the new Web site from IIASA population researchers, you can find out where you fit in to the world population, and even look up your estimated date of death. IIASA researcher Samir K.C. explains the science behind the new tool.

Mapping the global palm oil boom

Palm oil is widely blamed for deforestation, but also brings jobs and economic development. IIASA researchers Aline Mosnier and Johannes Pirker argue that with better land-use planning, healthy forests and palm oil plantations can co-exist.

Beyond sharing Earth observations

In a new Correspondence published in the journal Nature, IIASA researchers Ian McCallum and Linda See argue for better sharing of satellite validation data, to improve our understanding of global land cover.

Interview: Inequality is a lifelong story

Tarja Halonen was the 11th President of the Republic of Finland and Finland’s first female head of state from 2000 to 2012. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, and the Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders....

Innovating to address climate change

How can we innovate successfully to address climate change? A new book by IIASA researchers shows the way through a historical investigation of past energy innovations. By Charlie Wilson and Arnulf Grubler.

Tackling the dilemma of local actions and planetary boundaries

Wiley’s open-access journal devoted to documenting global change and sustainability, published online a commentary by scientists from IIASA and Brazil tackling the tough question of how to ensure that actions taken locally do not—collectively—contribute to overreaching planetary boundaries.

Barriers to adaptation: Really?

What does adaptation to climate change entail, and what stands in the way of successful adaptation? Wageningen University researcher Robbert Biesbroek describes recent research on barriers to adaptation, which he conducted in collaboration with IIASA.

The future of social change

How will societies develop in the future? And what environmental, economic, and social factors will influence these changes? Can these problems be analyzed in a scientific way? IIASA’s Anne Goujon reports from a recent workshop that addressed these questions.

Winning hearts for climate change

Scientists who have worked for many years in the field of climate change sometimes grow cynical about the possibility that the world will address the problem. But John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) remains hopeful.

A continuing transformation

By Aviott John, IIASA alumnus Anyone who has seen before and after photos of Schloss Laxenburg—the home of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)—knows what an incredible physical transformation the building went through between 1972 and 1981...

What is the optimal fertility rate?

By Erich Striessnig, IIASA World Population Program When asked what a desirable fertility level for populations might be, most politicians, journalists, and even social scientists would say it is around two children per woman, as this would – on the long run – prevent...

Systems analysis for risk and resilient development

By Junko Mochizuki, Adriana Keating and Reinhard Mechler, IIASA Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability Program The year 2015 will mark a crucial milestone for the international development, climate change, and disaster management communities. Negotiations are currently...

IIASA Employee Number 1

By Martha Wohlwendt IIASA's Alumni Association is hosting its first Alumni Day on April 29, 2014, and we are inviting alumni to send their memories and photos of their time at IIASA. Our first post comes from Martha Wohlwendt, IIASA’s first employee, Executive...

How can Europe cope with multiple disaster risks?

Interview with IIASA risk expert Nadejda Komendantova In a new study, IIASA Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability Program researcher Nadejda Komendantova and colleagues from Germany and Switzerland examined how natural hazards and risks assessments can be incorporated into...

Interview: Taking Geo-Wiki to the ground

Steffen Fritz has just been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant to fund a research project on crowdsourcing and ground data collection on land-use and land cover. In this interview he talks about his plans for the new project, CrowdLand.  What’s the problem with current...

Modeling terrorism

On October 15, 2012, a young man from Bangladesh named Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis parked next  to New York Federal Reserve Bank in a van with what he believed was a 1000-pound bomb, walked a few blocks away, and then attempted to detonate the bomb by mobile...

Healthy living in hard times?

By Raya Muttarak, Research Scholar, IIASA World Population Program For many years social scientists have observed a connection between economic downturns and a reduction in both unhealthy behaviors and mortality—a paradigm known as “healthy living in hard times.” One...

Interview: The problems with phosphorus

In a new commentary (subscription required) in Nature Geoscience, IIASA researchers Michael Obersteiner, Marijn van der Velde,  and colleagues write about the problems facing the world’s food supply as we exhaust our supplies of phosphorus. Projections show that...

Interview: REDD+ in Cambodia

 Pheakkdey Nguon, participant in IIASA's 2012 Young Scientists Summer Program, and IIASA Annual Fund recipient,  has won an IPCC reserach fellowship to fund his research on REDD+  in Cambodia. In this interview he discusses his research plans, the award, and his...

Play the Green Energy Consumption game

By Kanae Matsui – Participant in the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) 2013 As part of my YSSP project for summer 2013, I developed a Web site to study consumer behaviors towards electricity market liberalization to the residential side. This liberalization...

Interview: Where does biodiversity come from?

A new study by researchers from McGill University and IIASA provides insight into how environments promote biodiversity. McGill University evolutionary biologist Ben Haller, who led the study, started the work as part of IIASA’s Young Scientists Summer Program in...

Inside the Alpbach Forum

By Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director and Chief Executive Officer This year is my second participating in the world-renowned Alpbach Forum. Last year I was invited to contribute to the Technology Forum and participated in breakout sessions with Karlheinz Töchterle, Austria’s...

The Southern African YSSP: My experience

By Valentina Prado, PhD student at Arizona State University, SA-YSSP participant 2012-2013 @ValentinaASU I am a PhD student in Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). I was born in Cali, Colombia, and when I was in high school, my family immigrated...

Mapping the world with crowdsourcing

By Linda See, Research Scholar, IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program Humans have a long history of map-making that can be traced back to cave paintings older than 20,000 years, and detailed maps made by the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Chinese. These maps...

IIASA and the private sector

By Björn Stigson There is both a need for and an interest in cooperation between science and the global business community. There are many options that we can consider on how IIASA can interact more with the private sector, creating a special business advisory panel...