Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)

IIASA’s annual 3-month Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) offers research opportunities to talented young researchers whose interests correspond with IIASA’s ongoing research.

IIASA’s annual 3-month Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) offers research opportunities to talented young researchers whose interests correspond with IIASA’s ongoing research on issues of global environmental, economic and social change. Details about application and more general information are available at IIASA's YSSP web pages.

 Applications for the 2017 YSSP will be accepted 1 October 2016 - 11 January 2017.

The Water Program welcomes applications related to the research themes of the program.

WAT Mission

The Water Program (WAT) and its flagship initiative, Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS), aim to respond to the world’s water challenges by applying advanced systems analysis, providing scientific evidence to support the identification and assessment of sets of robust strategies, technologies and solution options, across sectors and scales.

WAT works across various water-related sectors and management scales. It studies a range of possible future socioeconomic changes and technological innovations. The program seeks to incorporate water science into assessment and planning studies at the nexus of water, food, energy, and environmental security.  Its aim is to establish a critical mass of water knowledge through development of new modeling tools and data collection.

Tools and methods for assessing water resources and related challenges include, for example: global hydrological model data provided by the ISI-MIP/CMIP initiative, and the development of a Community Water Model. 

Technical expertise relevant for the analysis of data used in and generated by the diverse WAT models include:

  • ArcGIS as the main Geographic Information System used at IIASA (alternative open-source GIS applications are also welcome)
  • GAMS for mathematical optimization (e.g. used for GLOBHYDRO)
  • Any programming language (e.g. R, Python) for the analysis of large data sets.

Research Topics

Applicants are encouraged to read the WAT program’s webpages and formulate research proposals following WAT’s main ongoing work listed below.

Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS)

Water resources are central to development and poverty alleviation. Yet decision makers face many challenges to ensuring their sustainable and equitable use. WFaS, a new collaborative IIASA initiative brings state-of-the-art science and decision makers together to develop realistic future scenarios that decision makers can use to identify and prioritize robust options to meet these challenges.

Societies are facing water challenges of different scale and complexity —particularly, but not only, in the World’s poorest regions. Pathways are being identified which may lead to a more stable and equitable world and to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. These pathways will be analyzed using cutting‑edge global modeling, seeking breakthroughs not only in problem understanding, but also in development of solutions.

A special emphasis is given to exploring and evaluating different solutions to water challenges, such as: supply-side solutions (development of water storage and retention, groundwater development, desalination, wastewater treatment and use, inter-basin transfer), demand-side solutions (efficient water technologies, use of economic instruments, behavioral change, institutional development, water allocation rules).


The Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Land (ISWEL) project is applying integrated approach that captures the synergies and trade-offs among food, energy, water and ecosystems and identifies cross-sectorial solutions responding to various alternative futures.

The Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Land project has been launched by IIASA, together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

In particular, this Integrated Solutions project will explore the following environmental problems:

  • Climate change impacts on resource availability and supply systems, including implications for adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  • Terrestrial ecosystem impacts associated with land, water, and energy management strategies with a focus on land use change.
  • Maintenance of minimum environmental flows for aquatic ecosystems.
  • Provide strategic insights for accomplishing several of the SDGs.

Case studies (Zambezi and Indus river basin) will work with regional institutions and country-based stakeholders to inform cross-sectorial assessments and to provide strategic advice on nexus interactions, infrastructure investments, and opportunities for transboundary cooperation.

Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ)

Agriculture is a major user of water resources, around 70% of global water withdrawal is used for irrigation. The Global Agroecological Zones (GAEZ) framework is a useful tool for assessing synergies and trade-offs of alternative uses of agro-resources (land, water, technology) for food and energy production, while preserving environmental quality.

Hydro-Economic Model / GLOBHYDRO

GLOBHYDRO is a global hydro-economic model developed at IIASA that represents spatially distributed water resource systems, infrastructure, management options and economic values in an integrated manner. It aims to balance water demand and supply at the level of large-scale river basins. An optimization procedure is implemented in GLOBHYDRO that simulates a variety of basin management decisions including inter-basin transfers, resource extraction, reservoir storage, and water infrastructure investments. 

The objective of the model is to minimize total costs of meeting the exogenous water demands of the agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors, subject to various resource, institutional and environmental constraints. The optimization includes capacity expansion and is solved over a multi-decadal horizon using intertemporal programming. GLOBHYDRO provides information on long-term water resource and infrastructure development, hydropower potential, water-related energy demand, and cost of water supply.


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Last edited: 28 October 2016


Sylvia Tramberend

Research Scholar


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IIASA Young Scientists

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