Policy and Science Interface (PSI)

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program’s Policy and Science Interface (PSI) group aims to strengthen various aspects of the role played by the ESM research program in the climate and land use change-relevant community.

The main objectives of this youngest ESM group are based on 4 integrative pillars which are closely intertwined:
Pillar 1 is to provide guidance for decision-making and analysis as well as science-oriented and policy relevant communication (of scientific ESM results) toward the outside – e.g. policy-makers/decision-makers/the general public etc.
Pillar 2 is the reconciliation of bottom-up versus top down modeling which is to be seen as an ESM-internal bridging function within the different groups and their models, but also within different IIASA Programs, i.e. ENE, RPV, MAG etc.
Pillar 3 is closely related to Pillar 2 (and 1) and is looking at the assessment and (logistic) design of integrated renewable energy systems, i.e. bioenergy, solar, wind and hydro power in close interactions with ecosystems services on a spatially explicit resolution.
Pillar 4 – in contrast to technology-driven supply-based approaches - is based in the needs for stronger representation of social and socio-economic parameters in ESM’s and IIASA’s modeling set up. PSI pays special attention to consumer-driven tools such as product certification, i.e. forest management and chain-of-custody certification, sustainable biofuel certification, green building certification and similar.

PSI applies a wide array of quantitative and qualitative assessment methodologies. However, focus is put on the combination of biophysical modeling (e.g. G4M) with statistical methods e.g. for the geographically explicit analysis of sustainable managed global forest area.
Another important tool is the spatial optimization and scaling model BeWhere which is an engineering model based on a techno-economic approach. BeWhere is part of ESM’s Integrated Modeling Cluster which assures the linkage of PSI to i.e. the core modeling groups of ESM.

JAN 2016

© Elena Dudakova | Dreamstime.com

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change presents a global assessment of the vulnerability of the world’s current hydropower and thermoelectric power-generation systems due to changes in climate and freshwater resources. It recommends that increasing power plant efficiencies such as replacing cooling system types and fuel switches are effective adaptation options to sustain water-energy security in the coming decades. ESM Research Scholar, Sylvain Leduc, assisted in preparing the global data set of power plants for this new study. More information on this study and water futures and solutions can be found here.

Listen to a report on the Ö1 Abendjournal, min 17:54, about this new study.


Van Vliet MTH, Wiberg D, Leduc S, Riahi K, (2016). Power-generation system vulnerability and adaptation to changes in climate and water resources. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2903

NOV 2014

© Prasit Rodphan | Dreamstime.com

A recent article, in Profil magazine on alternative energy, highlights research done by Florian Kraxner who discusses different alternative energy sources and what their actual potential is for the future. The full article can be viewed online here.

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Last edited: 08 January 2016


Florian Kraxner

Deputy Program Director
PSI Group Leader

Ecosystems Service and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 233


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313