Risk, Policy and Vulnerability

The Risk, Policy and Vulnerability Program  aims to better understand the risks to economic, ecological, and social systems arising from global change and to help  transform the ways in which societies manage them.

Woman with Orange Umbrella. Muddy Road China © Pavliha | iStock © iStockPhoto

Woman with Orange Umbrella. Muddy Road China © Pavliha | iStock

Society needs to make effective responses to the risks associated with global change. To that end, scientists must understand the systemic and dynamic linkages of environmental, social, and economic risks and how these are impacted by different policy measures. This will enable risk management and governance systems to be improved in order to facilitate long-term sustainable development.

Systems analysis, risk modeling, and transformative governance are fundamental to the mission of Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV). The Program examines environmental and socioeconomic risks and policy options across multiple spatial and temporal scales to provide an analytical foundation for improved management and governance of natural disasters, address climate change, and ease the technological and ecological transitions to sustainability.

The Program has four specific goals:

  • To advance the conceptual and methodological development of risk and vulnerability research 
  • To carry out selected risk and vulnerability assessments 
  • To carry out integrative stakeholder-led case studies, and 
  • To develop interactive tools for training on vulnerability and adaptation.

The program builds on the methodologies, activities and experience gained from the previous IIASA Risk, Modeling and Society (RMS) Program. It integrates across other IIASA programs and links closely with the vulnerability/resilience research communities.  

Risk analysis and modeling

The Risk Analysis and Modeling research theme investigates how to manage the risks arising in socio-ecological systems, including risks from climate extremes and other types of hazards.  More

Understanding disaster resilience

RPV focuses on "resilience" as a central thematic research area, linking agendas on sustainable socio-economic development, disaster risk management, and climate change adaptation from the local to the global scale.  More

Socioeconomics of risk management and climate adaptation

This thematic research area looks at the significant knowledge gaps regarding comprehensive risk management interventions in terms of their efficiency, effectiveness, equity, and acceptability. More

Risk Pooling and Sharing: Designing and assessing disaster safety nets

The Risk Pooling and Sharing theme examines disaster risk financing mechanisms (private and public) across developed and developing countries with special emphasis on i) how they distribute the disaster burden and ii) how to provide incentives/rules to reduce the effects of disasters. More

Governance in Transition

The Governance in Transition research theme analyzes how governance structures shape decisions and subsequent outcomes by building on and contributing to research on decision-making processes, public acceptance, risk perception, cognitive biases, and cultural perspectives, as well as participatory governance design. More

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Last edited: 25 September 2015


Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Acting Program Director

Risk Policy and Vulnerability


Young Scientists Summer Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 308


Reinhard Mechler

Deputy Program Director

Risk Policy and Vulnerability

T +43(0) 2236 807 313

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