nexusResearch blog of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
With the water crisis worsening every year, Mexico City needs to find a solution before it runs out of water completely.
The Geo-wiki project works to develop a global field size dataset with the help of the public.
In a unique workshop led by drama artist Miranda Lakerveld, myths meet science and activism for finding common truths.
Merlijn Twaalfhoven, composer, musician, entrepreneur, reports back from the 2017 Alpbach-Laxenburg Group retreat.
IIASA researcher Verena Rauchenwald reports back on her experience thinking outside the box as part of a global innovation lab.
China builds on efforts to tackle particulate matter pollution after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
A young researcher reveals why land-grabbing is actually a misnomer for water-grabbing
Technology alone cannot solve deeply rooted relational and cultural problems: to make an impact, good ideas must reach widespread practice.
You won’t harm interest in science or trust in scientists by communicating uncertainty, you might even engage people more.
Exploring the links between extractivism and climate change mitigation.
New research finds that more highly educated people are more likely to correctly predict their survival probabilities.
An oil spill could cause irreversible damage to Arctic wildlife, even altering world populations of the more vulnerable species
Findings from a new study links spread of invasive species to global trade and transport development.
After Bolivia’s catastrophic drought, a YSSP explores how to help communities adapt
YSSP participant Sara Loo looks at the trend of falling fertility rates through the lens of cultural evolution
Adil Najam on the need for adaptation and our failure to mitigate enough or in time
In an interview, YSSP participant Ziyun Zhu talks about his research on wildlife damage insurance schemes and working as a conservation biologist in his country.
Tackling indoor air pollution in developing countries means more children survive to see their fifth birthday and safeguards women’s wellbeing.
An interdisciplinary research project explores glo-cal entanglements of power and nature in 18th century Vienna
Free access to satellite data is important, but with massive data amounts, innovation is needed to make these data sets accessible and usable beyond experts.
A unique collaboration finds common ground on flood risk resilience challenges in Nepal, Mexico, and Peru.
Pakistan is facing serious water scarcity problems: what’s driving the issue and what can be done?
An interview with former IIASA director Roger Levien, who first conceived of a program at IIASA for young scientists.
An alumnus of the YSSP aims to make a positive impact on humanity and sustainable development.
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.
While biogas brings climate benefits, it also has environmental impacts—a new study explores these impacts for Northern Italy.
How education contributes to raising disaster resilience in low- and middle-income countries.
Comparing energy transitions in two countries which started out similar but ended up very different.
Peru’s Rimac Valley looks more like a lunar landscape than a flood-risk hotspot, but add a few millimeters of rain, and everything changes.
We trust the information that citizens supply about other public activities—so why don’t scientists and public authorities trust the data they are providing via citizen science campaigns?
Nepal is seeing massive migration to other countries, for jobs and other opportunities—what does that mean for population projections in the country?
Could the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster be an opportunity to build sustainable communities?
Gloria Benedikt, IIASA science and arts associate, on science and arts in the post-truth era
A new book sheds light on trends in African higher education.
A new portal provides flood risk information globally and allows for information exchange.
Restoring degraded ecosystems can provide many vital services without impinging on cattle production, suggests new research from Brazil.
An energy transition is taking place in the Middle East and North Africa, but without public support it faces challenges.
How population research was incorporated in a set of scenarios designed for climate change research.
The latest IIASA research on whether climate mitigation costs are equally distributed among countries and generations.
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Practical Action, supported by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, work with local communities to help them put themselves on the map.
Applying for the YSSP? A participant tells of her experience and gives tips for how to get the most out of a summer at IIASA.
For a playwright interested in climate change, IIASA was the ultimate “dating” pool.
An IIASA researcher explores the benefits of living in stable partnerships.
Results of a recent survey on migrants’ education levels seemed to surprise many in the Austrian public. An IIASA researcher provides more background.
How does the money that migrants send home contribute to sustainable development?
A participant in the 2016 YSSP describes realistic approaches to urban planning and governance on the continent.
How can scientists and entrepreneurs work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?
The USA and Mexico must cooperate in order to preserve the river that connects and divides them.
New research shows why women-headed households are more economically vulnerable to climate-related shocks
Science has an important role in supporting new global social contract and the 2030 agenda
Tarja Halonen, the first female president of Finland, discusses equality and diversity with IIASA staff.
Interview from Alpbach: Michael Perkinson on sustainable development and the private sector.
Interview from Alpbach: Former WTO Director General Pascal Lamy on the role of trade in sustainable development
Gloria Benedikt joined IIASA in 2015 where she combines science and art to help solve global challenges.
As the first YSSP participant of the Arctic Futures Initiative, Gosia Smieszek seeks ways to bring science closer to decision-making in the Arctic Council.
Gaming can bring a valuable, systems-analysis approach to resilience in flood-prone communities.
Air pollution is a problem in urban areas—but better traffic data could improve projections of air quality and health.
Tracing research impact across policy documents, blogs, social media, and more…
YSSP participant César Terrer talks about his research on climate change and the CO2 fertilization effect
Exploring the practicalities of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.
A workshop at IIASA brings new insight into scenario analysis for water resources.
The crowdsourcing game Picture Pile has reached half its goal of sorting 5 million satellite images. Why IIASA researchers need your help to finish the rest.
Disaster risk policy has a long way to go to to turn “lessons learned” into preventative actions.
Turning 65 in 2016 doesn’t mean the same thing as hitting 65 in 1916. New measures of age change the equation.
How can a model estimate how fast and far a wildfire will spread?
A participant in the Moscow Summer Academy 2015 combines optimal control with game theory to model interplays between ecology and economic behavior
UN World Water Day focuses on water and jobs – how are they linked?
With global supply chains, local disasters or man-made accidents can propagate from one place to another, and generate significant impact. How can this be prevented?
Ozone pollution is intertwined with air pollution and climate change. So what impact will EU policies on climate and clean air have on future ozone levels?
Population researcher Luis Castro reflects on the history of migration analysis at IIASA, and its critical relevance today.
Interview: Shalini Randeria on poverty, democracy, and the sustainable development goals.
Can your science compete with a really funny youtube clip? Communicating science is tough in the age of cat videos.
In the 21st century the major global divide runs between knowledge societies and those where access to education is hampered or denied, say population experts Reiner Klingholz and Wolfgang Lutz.
The Paris climate agreement re-affirmed the importance of compensation for climate-related loss and damage. But what will this mean in practice?
Is it possible to predict how love stories develop, progress, and end using mathematical models?
Tortoise or hare? What walking speed reveals about our socioeconomic status, education, and true age.
Could top sprinters run even faster? An IIASA researcher applies a model of optimal control to understand human athletic potential.
As the Science Ball celebrates Vienna’s vibrant scientific community, two of the city’s prominent researchers discuss the future of science in the city.
IIASA researcher Mia Landauer explores the impact of climate change on cross-country skiing in her home country, Finland.
An interview with IIASA researcher Mikko Heino: Selective harvesting of bigger fish can lead to evolutionary changes towards smaller and faster-maturing fish populations.
In the first survey of its kind in German-speaking countries, asylum-seekers in Austria are asked about their backgrounds, qualifications, and values.
IIASA population researcher Raya Muttarak explains how education can help people prepare and adapt to climate change impacts.
IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat says that a fundamental change is needed in the way we think about climate policy.
A novel research network informs policymakers on how to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change in particularly vulnerable developing countries.
New research from IIASA and researchers in Africa shows a clear link between education and likelihood of going to prison in South Africa.
A participant’s account from the Summer Academy on Economic Growth and Governance of Natural Resources, which took place at Lomonosov Moscow State University this summer.
Indonesia’s forest fire draws urgency to the need for better agricultural and energy policy.
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, discusses her view of sustainable development and her optimistic vision of the future.
Living in two different cultures: Scientists and policymakers come together for evidence-based policy
This autumn I attended the first joint JRC-IIASA Summer School on Evidence and Policy, which brought together policymakers and early-career scientists like myself to learn about the evidence-policy interface.
IIASA and the UN have diverging projections for Africa’s future population. IIASA researcher Samir KC explains why the numbers differ.
The planet’s limits come with opportunities for new priorities, greater equity, and greater well-being, says IIASA researcher Brian Fath.
IIASA researcher Stephan Pietsch explains how cooperation between Southern Hemisphere countries could help protect forests.
A new project aims to create an open source database to better understand the urban heat island effect in a warming world.
IIASA World Population Program Director Wolfgang Lutz argues that education is one of the most important factors in sustainable development.
IIASA researcher Jens Borken Kleefeld explores the data on diesel car emissions in Europe and the USA.
IIASA Deputy Director General Nebojsa Nakicenovic outlines his view on how to reverse humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels.
How a transportation and infrastructure megaproject could transform Europe, Asia, and Russia.
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.
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,...
IIASA Advanced Systems Analysis researcher Matthias Wildemeersch explains how mathematical theory could help marketers make their content go viral.
Gloria Benedikt, IIASA Associate for Science and Arts, contemplates how science and art can work together towards a sustainable future.
Do scientists need the media? A visit from award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin brings insight on science communication.
IIASA researcher Amanda Palazzo on how IIASA models and scenarios are supporting climate policy development around the world.
Current strategies for limiting climate change to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels are centered around a shift towards less carbon-intensive technology, increases in energy efficiency, and changes in management and behavior.
This won’t be enough.
By Bruce Beck, Imperial College London and Michael Thompson, IIASA Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) Program. What do Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London, the now glorious heritage of Islington’s housing stock, and the cable-car system in Kathmandu for getting...
A participant in the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program reflects on the challenges and rewards of crossing interdisciplinary lines.
Accounting for land use in EU climate policy: Guest Post by former IIASA researcher Hannes Bottcher
Crisis management problems are getting more complex and complicated, but at the same time, governments have less and less resources for their management. How can research help decision makers plan for the unplannable?
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?
IIASA demographer Erich Striessnig talks about new research linking population change with climate change scenarios.
An interview with Mia Landauer, IIASA guest research scholar, on the interrelationships between climate adaptation and mitigation policies, especially in cities.
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
Dan Jessie, a research scholar in the IIASA Advanced Systems Analysis program, reports back from a recent conference on model validation.
On World Water Day, IIASA Water researcher Paul Yillia reflects on the Water-Energy Nexus, and what it means in practice.
Guest post by Joost Vervoort, of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Vervoort, a science-to-policy expert, works closely with IIASA researchers in the Ecosystems Services and Management Program.
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.
Luzma Fabiola Nava, an IIASA Colosio Fellow, on the challenges of water governance at the U.S. – Mexico border.
IIASA researcher Junko Mochizuki brings an on-the-ground view of risk-sensitive development in Madagascar.
Precision farming, cultured meat, and genetic modification. Which technologies make the most sense for future agriculture?
How can research help achieve resilience? Research Scholar Elisabeth Suwandschieff blogs about the highlights from the 4th Viennese Talks on Resilience.
In an interview, IIASA 2014 Mikhalevich Award Winner Jun Liu, a participant in the 2014 Young Scientists Summer Program, talks about her research on air pollution in China.
In an interview, IIASA 2014 Peccei Award Winner Danielle Haak, a participant in the 2014 Young Scientists Summer Program, talks about her research on aquatic invasive species and ecosystem resilience.
How much should a carbon tax cost in order to spur climate mitigation policies? IIASA researchers and colleagues provide a back-of-the-enveloped calculation
Earlier this month IIASA researcher Leena Ilmola-Sheppard sat in on the OECD High Level Risk Forum, and came away with some new thoughts and questions about how governments approach risk management.
By Reinhard Mechler & Thomas Schinko (IIASA) with Swenja Surminski (LSE) (updated 17 December 2014) As participants in the 20th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention (COP 20) in Lima strived to prepare the grounds for a comprehensive climate...
Participants in IIASA’s Young Scientists Summer Program 2014 bring their perspective to the question of how research connects to society.
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.
With the new population.io 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.
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.
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.
IIASA demographers explain why they project the world population to peak this century and UN demographers believe stabilization is unlikely
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....
At a lecture for IIASA staff, mathematician Don Saari challenged researchers to think outside the box when it comes to systems analysis research.
Many people associate raising living standards in developing countries with increases in greenhouse gas emissions. New research by IIASA’s Narasimha Rao shows that may not be the case.
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.
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.
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.
At a lecture for IIASA staff, economist Bill Nordhaus explained his idea of “climate clubs” as a new model for international agreements on climate mitigation.
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.
Junko Mochizuki, a research scholar in the IIASA Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability Program, writes about her recent trip to Cambodia to train policymakers in risk assessment and preparedness tools.
IIASA Research Scholar Larry Willmore on his recent research on pensions in Mexico.
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.
Eric F. Wood is a hydrologist at Princeton University, well-known for his work in hydrology, climate, and meteorology, and an IIASA alumnus. In this interview he talks about the next challenges in water research.
Alan McDonald, IIASA Alumnus and member of the IIASA Alumni Advisory Board writes about his time at IIASA in the early 1970s and his research on nuclear reactors and energy systems.
By Jessica Jewell, Research Scholar, IIASA Energy Program How would action to mitigate climate change affect energy security for countries around the world? In two recent studies that I worked on with colleagues in IIASA’s Energy Program and three other European...
By Matthias Jonas, IIASA, and Gregg Marland, Appalachian State University Greenhouse gas emissions are seldom measured directly. They must be estimated from data such as on energy use and changes in land use. That means that estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from...
By Reinhard Mechler, IIASA Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability Program On March 25, member countries of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) started discussing the key findings of the second volume of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in Yokohama, Japan....
Lanoi Maloiy is a PhD student at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, and a participant in the recently completed 2013-14 Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program (SA-YSSP), which IIASA co-organizes with the South African National Research Foundation...
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network is an expert on economics, development, and sustainability, and a founding member of IIASA and European Forum Alpbach’s Global...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
By Erich Striessnig, Research Assistant, IIASA World Population Program We have all heard about the terrible air pollution in India’s cities. Average concentrations of particulate pollution exceed World Health Organization guidelines through most of India, most of the...
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...
A new study by IIASA researchers Katie Bowen and Vegard Skirbekk examines the stereotypes people have about older people, and what factors influence those views across a number of countries. In this interview Bowen describes the new findings and their implications....
By Linda See, Research Scholar, IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program On a recent rush hour train ride in London I looked around to see just about everybody absorbed in their mobile phone or tablet. This in itself is not that unusual. But when I snooped...
By Aline Mosnier, IIASA Research Scholar Deforestation and forest degradation contribute substantially to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in developing countries. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus forest conservation,...
Peter Lemke, head of the Climate Sciences Research Division at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, is an expert on sea ice, a polar explorer, and the Chair of the IIASA Council. In this interview Lemke...
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...
This post was originally published on the recharge.green blog. IIASA is a partner in the new project, which focuses on the potential for renewable energy in the Alps. When I think of an alpine forest, I think of the towering cedar trees that blanket the Cascade...
By Anthony Patt, ETH Zurich and IIASA (From ETH-Klimablog) The first of three working group reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was made public last Friday. Previous reports served as guidepost for climate policy development. And yet some...
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...
By Jennifer Chan, participant in the IIASA co-led IFA Summer School From 9 to 13 September in Laxenburg, Austria a group of researchers and practitioners gathered for the International Foresight Academy Summer School program organized by the Austrian Institute of...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...