Feature Articles

These feature articles outline how research by IIASA and its partners is helping to resolve some major global challenges.


15 June 2015
Getting to Eureka

Options Magazine Summer 2015: Many of the major challenges facing the world today—climate change, widespread poverty, food shortages—simply can’t be solved by scientists working in one discipline alone. To address such issues requires teams of experts from different disciplines—natural scientists, social scientists, economists—brainstorming and cooperating to attain workable solutions and potential policies. Enter interdisciplinary research.  More

14 June 2015
Forever young?

Options Magazine Summer 2015: New measures of aging in development at IIASA take the characteristics of people into account, not just their chronological age.  More

13 June 2015
Climate change challenges for Austria

Options Magazine Summer 2015: IIASA’s involvement in advancing the transformation toward sustainable development continues to grow with the national integrated assessment of the Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC), which was coordinated by IIASA and its partners in the Austrian scientific community.  More

12 June 2015
The climate-poverty conundrum

Options Magazine Summer 2015: Mitigating climate change and eliminating poverty need not be conflicting targets. IIASA research aims to turn on the lights for policymakers.  More

11 June 2015
Opinion: Now or never

Options Magazine Summer 2015: Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach and former European Commissioner, talks about inequality, the current focus of the Alpbach–Laxenburg Group and the theme of the 2015 European Forum Alpbach.  More

10 June 2015
Interview: The World in 2050

Options Magazine Summer 2015: In an interview, Stockholm Resilience Centre Director and IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow Johan Rockström described his optimistic view for the future of our planet, which is the subject of a new research collaboration, The World in 2050 project.  More


Quality not quantity

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: New IIASA population projections bring a fundamentally improved view of future population. More

Bouncing forward

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: A unique alliance between leading humanitarian and development NGOs, IIASA, and the private sector will help build flood resilience in communities across the globe. More

From story to science

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: Stakeholder consultations, engaged scholarship, bottom-up science – Buzzwords in IIASA research, but what do they mean in practice? More

Reflecting on inequality

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: How IIASA is creating positive narratives for the path to sustainable development. More

Interview: Inequality is a lifelong story

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: An interview with Tarja Halonen, Finland’s first female head of state. More

Opinion: Research tools can bridge science and policy

Options Magazine Winter 2014/15: Anne Glover, the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, outlines how we can get better at linking science to policy, and vice versa. More

Alpbach–Laxenburg Group

A new global think tank led by IIASA and the European Forum Alpbach argues that tackling inequality is key to sustainable development. More

Interview: The age of sustainable development

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: An interview with Professor Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, IIASA’s first Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. More

Climate change - what next?

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: How IIASA research and the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report are changing the narrative on climate change mitigation, impacts, and adaptation. More

Economic cooperation “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”

The new IIASA flagship project for exploring economic cooperation between Europe and countries of the former USSR. More

An elemental balancing act

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus are building blocks of life on Earth. What happens as we drastically change their ratios in the environment? More

Know your planet

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: The Geo-Wiki project’s growing efforts in crowdsourcing land‑cover data could help end “satellite squabbles” in Kenya. More

Opinion: Systems analysis in Indonesia

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: The world’s largest archipelago and fourth most populous country, Indonesia became a member of IIASA in 2012. Professor Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto explains here the benefits to Indonesia of applying advanced systems analysis, as practiced at IIASA, to help solve the country’s challenges. More

A blueprint for clean air

Options Magazine, Summer 2014: IIASA research underlies new European policies for reducing air pollution and tackling climate change. More


IIASA tackles the tropics

Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014 With its National Member Organizations in Brazil and Indonesia, IIASA will launch a multi-year flagship project for the Tropics More

Clearing the Arctic air

December 2013. Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014  An IIASA study combines experiments and modeling with practical action to help cut pollution that is contributing to a warmer Arctic More

A passion for science

December 2013. Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014 IIASA’s Elena Rovenskaya explains how IIASA researchers develop the models they use to understand complex systems More

The footprint of food

December 2013. Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014  The food we eat has impacts on land, water, forests, and the world’s climate. IIASA research shows the way toward a more sustainable future. More

In the human interest

December 2013. Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014  How will climate change affect people around the world? The new ISI-MIP project, a collaboration including 30 research institutes around the world, provides the most comprehensive assessment yet. More

The transitions of energy research

December 2013. Options Magazine, Winter 2013/2014In this opinion piece, IIASA Deputy Director General and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nebojsa Nakicenovic describes how energy research at IIASA evolved from groundbreaking studies in the 1970s to form the foundations of the international energy and decarbonization policy efforts today. More

IIASA and the private sector

July 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.IIASA advisor Björn Stigson calls for cooperation between science and business. More

Landslide risks may benefit from decentralized approach

August 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.Landslides represent a major threat to human life, property, and the environment. By undertaking landslide hazard and risk assessments to, for example, identify high-risk areas, authorities aim to improve the management of landslide hazard risk. But could a decentralized risk assessment system work better than a centralized one? More

Kerosene subsidies benefit urban, but not rural, poor

July 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.Critics of energy subsidies in developing countries argue they cost too much, encourage wasteful consumption, and increase greenhouse gas emissions without providing intended benefits to the poor. Recent research by IIASA’s Narasimha Rao suggests that calls to phase out kerosene subsidies may be premature. More

Data portal unlocks potential to increase food production

July 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.As the world’s population grows, one of the fundamental questions is how to feed the millions more people that will soon inhabit this planet. More

EC4MACS: Reducing air pollution, minimizing climate change

July 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.While connections between air pollution, climate change, and human and environmental health are intuitive, what has been missing is a systematic way of linking together all aspects of the environment and society to anticipate the impact that policies in one area may have on another region or sector. More

Two degrees of freedom

July 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.IIASA research examines what needs to be done to limit climate change.  More

The nitrogen quandary

June, 2013:  Nitrogen is essential for life on our planet. But using too much of this element leads to air pollution, contaminates drinking water, damages ecosystems, and contributes to global warming—and the problem is getting worse. More

Before the storm

September, 2013:  When disaster hits, the way people respond is a matter of life and death—and that response depends strongly on how prepared people are. New IIASA research highlights the role of education in surviving hurricanes. More

Connecting Africa to a global data network

March, 2013: A new initiative brings smartphones to African farmers, involving them in data collection for global land-use models and at the same time connecting them to weather and agricultural data that can help improve crop yields. More

Assessing the future of water

June 2013: Options Magazine, Summer 2013.Water Futures and Solutions: World Water Scenarios, a new initiative coordinated by IIASA, aims to provide a scientific basis for responding to worldwide water challenges.  More

Singapore: Population under pressure

February, 2013: A trip to Singapore by IIASA Population Program Leader Wolfgang Lutz has stirred up debate and discussion in the tiny island country, which faces rising immigration and falling fertility rates. More

Education: Preparation for the unexpected

February, 2013: Education is the single most important socioeconomic factor affecting people’s vulnerability to natural disasters, both regionally and globally, according to new IIASA research. More

Seeing the ocean for the fish

January, 2013: A new study from IIASA researchers and international collaborators provides an innovative tool for fisheries managers and researchers trying to sustainably manage commercial fish stocks. More


Russia Burning

November, 2012: A Q&A with IIASA’s Anatoly Shvidenko on heat, fire and climate change in the Russian forests More

YSSP Profile: "A focus on lucid communication"

Feature Article, August 2012: YSSP participant Lan Hoang, recipient of the 2012 Petr Aven Fellowship, brings an international perspective to her research on water management.  More

Fertility plays role in US party politics

Research from IIASA's World Population Program shows how population changes from migration and fertility will affect political preference in the United States. More

The urban energy challenge

Options Magazine, Summer 2012:  What can be done to make cities more sustainable in terms of energy? More

The Global Energy Assessment: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future

Options Magazine, Summer 2012:  A comprehensive, integrated analysis of how to transform energy systems to meet the world’s multiple energy challenges—namely, providing affordable, safe, secure, and environmentally sound energy for all More

Alternative water futures

Options Magazine, Summer 2012:  IIASA is bringing its experience in scenario development and global assessments to a new partnership with UN-Water to explore alternative futures for the world’s water and its use to 2050 More

Sustainability & green job creation

Options Magazine, Summer 2012:  Projects using local labor, manufacturing, & technology can create significant job growth More

Fiscal planning for extreme events

Options - Winter 2011/2012. IIASA analysis has supported the Mexican government in trying to identify how best to prepare financially for a major natural disaster. More

Linking climate change, extreme events, and risk

Options Magazine, Summer, 2012. IIASA research is helping quantify the links between climate extremes, natural disasters, and socioeconomic vulnerability. More


Poverty alleviation is about people

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: New research aims to discover more about the people on the receiving end of our current aspirations to expand energy access. More

The quest for “clumsy solutions” in Nepal’s mountains

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: A simple cable system carrying milk across a valley in the Mahabharat Mountains provides insight into a complex theory of world views and conflict resolution More

The role of human behavioral games in international negotiations

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: Karl Sigmund, an IIASA mathematician, works in a world of games. He began his career studying dynamical systems, and then population dynamics and cooperation among early humans. He now applies his lessons learned from those first hunter–gatherers to countries and international organizations. More

Beating the poverty trap

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: People unable to escape from poverty without external help are caught in what’s commonly termed a “poverty trap.” Even people who are not extremely poor can be forced into a state of inescapable poverty by extreme events like floods or drought. Disaster microinsurance can offer resources for poor households to overcome the immediate impacts of natural disasters, but recent IIASA research shows that microinsurance, when integrated with additional adaptive measures, is much more effective than microinsurance alone in preventing people from falling into a poverty trap in the first place. More

Education spells hope for world wellbeing

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: Education has a positive effect on every aspect of human health, wealth, and wellbeing. Educational attainment, the evidence now clearly shows, is linked to economic growth as well as fertility and life expectancy. Even the transition of societies into modern democracies is rooted in widening educational participation among the young. But strong further investment in education in the developing world is needed if the potential benefits of education are to be realized. More

Feeding & fueling the 9 billion-sustainably

Options Magazine, Summer 2011: Food versus fuel isn’t the answer. Integrated land management and sustainable intensification are. More

Assessing the impacts of fisheries-induced evolution

Pressure from large-scale commercial fishing, as well as intense recreational and sport fishing, is accelerating evolution in some fish populations and threatening the sustainability of fisheries. Scientists are responding with tools to conduct evolutionary impact assessments that can lead to better management of fisheries. More

Food & water

Over the next decade, IIASA will study three interlinked global problem areas: Food and Water, Energy and Climate Change, and Poverty and Equity. The Food and Water Research Area will focus on how to improve the management of the world’s land, water resources, and ecosystems. More

IIASA looks to the future in European Nitrogen Assessment

GAINS model shows rise in damaging agricultural nitrogen More

Flexibility in livestock systems—More from less

High quality feed, improved breeding, and reduced disease significantly improve production. More

Russia faces tough climate change challenges

Melting permafrost, dying forests, and fragile ecosystems, combined with poor resource management, means climate change could hit the Russian people especially hard. More

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Last edited: 09 October 2015


Katherine Leitzell

Science Writer and Press Officer


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Options magazine

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