22 August 2016 - 09 September 2016
South Africa

IIASA researchers provide expert talks for SASAC

Researchers from IIASA RISK and ASA programs speak at a 3-week intern capacity strengthening program for emerging researchers

©IIASA | Sebastien Poledna

©IIASA | Sebastien Poledna

Junko Mochizuki
 (RISK program) and Sebastien Poledna (RISK and ASA programs) gave talks at the SASAC Emerging Researchers’ Program, a High-level Systems Analysis Capacity Strengthening 3-week Programme, held this year at the Universities of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and Limpopo (Polokwane), South Africa. The program consisted of lectures, seminars, and workshops covering themes in the social and natural sciences, including policy dimensions. It was targeted at early-career researchers and aimed to expose participants to experts in systems analysis.

Junko Mochizuki gave a talk titled “Systems analysis of risk – what do we analyze when we analyze risk?” Her talk provided an introductory overview of various risk theories, mainly coming from environmental risk perceptions and anthropological literature on world views that are relevant to understanding climate change risks. Her key message was that scientists need to understand not only how to quantify risk (in terms of knowing how to crunch numbers and to estimate the probability of harm) but also how different stakeholders who receive risk information interpret that information.  

Sebastian Poledna gave a talk titled “Financial networks and agent-based modeling of systemic risk”. His talk provided an introductory overview of financial networks with a focus on systemic risk. He explained how systemic importance of financial institutions in networks could be measured by using network measures like the famous PageRank that powers Google’s search engine. He further discussed properly adopted network measures for financial networks like “DebtRank”. He concluded his talk with an introductory overview of agent-based modeling of financial and economic systems. 

The 30 program intern participants this year included early-career researchers from disciplines such as agricultural economics, rural development, environmental management, mathematics, governance, anthropology, electrical engineering, biotechnology, chemistry, public health, information systems and technology, computer science, health informatics, systems engineering, ecology, meteorology/climatology, and health care. 

The 3-week successful event was implemented by a consortium of four universities, namely the University of the Western Cape, the Universities of Limpopo and the Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University and was funded by the Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation of South Africa.


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Last edited: 13 June 2018


Sebastian Poledna

Research Scholar

Advanced Systems Analysis

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 261

Junko Mochizuki

Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 576


Hochrainer-Stigler S & Poledna S (2016). Modelling Macroeconomic Effects of Natural Disaster Risk: A Large Scale Agent Based Modelling Approach Using Copulas. In: IDRiM 2016 7th International Conference on Integrated Disaster Risk Management Disasters and Development: Towards a Risk Aware Society, October 1-3, 2016, Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran.

Leduc MV, Poledna S, & Thurner S (2016). Systemic Risk Management in Financial Networks with Credit Default Swaps. SSRN Electronic Journal: 1-20. DOI:10.2139/ssrn.2713200.

Mochizuki J, Vitoontus S, Wickramarachchi B, Hochrainer-Stigler S, Williges K, Mechler R, & Sovann R (2015). Operationalizing iterative risk management under limited information: fiscal and economic risks due to natural disasters in Cambodia. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 6 (4): 321-334. DOI:10.1007/s13753-015-0069-y.

Komendantova N & Mochizuki J (2015). Impacts of risk perceptions on decision-making: case studies of the 1995 Kobe, the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman and the 2011 Tohoku earthquakes. TIFAC-IDRiM Abstracts Booklet, Disaster Risk Reduction: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustaiable Growth, New Delhi, India p.86

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