YSSP Testimonials and Stories

Find stories on how the YSSP has impacted participants from all over the world here

Our young scientists from the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) 2012 talk about their experiences gained during their three months working with leading scientists on research relating to their own personal areas of research interest.

Lukas Figge, YSSP 2014, Maastricht University

"My time at IIASA in the Advanced Systems Analysis group was very valuable – just being in this environment was intellectually very stimulating and inspiring. I was able to present and receive feedback on other parts of my thesis. It was also where I got deeper into Cultural Theory and had the privilege to meet Mike Thompson, whose work inspired another chapter of my thesis." To read more about Lukas' PhD thesis and the impact of the YSSP on his works click here.

Miho Kamei, YSSP 2014, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Japan

"I would like to express great appreciation to IIASA and the energy team for providing me with a solid foundation to build my thesis research on and the many opportunities for interdisciplinary discussions with distinguished scientists during my stay there. I also learned the importance of collaborative team work, which can expand ideas and creativity. Being connected with fellow YSSPers encourages me to continuously promote research and reminds me of the great research family at IIASA." To find out about Miho's recent publication on socioeconomic scenarios at the city scale for Tokyo click here.

Pheakkdey Nguon, YSSP 2012
PhD student at the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, Recipient of IIASA's Annual Fund Fellowship, and the IPCC Fellowship

"The YSSP did tremendous wonder to my academic development as a young researcher. Therefore, I would like to ask the IIASA Annual Fund donors to “Please continue to support this wonderful program. Your contributions have made a great difference for me, and I hope that students from other developing countries would be able to benefit from this program.”

Stephy Makungwa, YSSP 2010
Senior Lecturer, University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture

"It was really an experience for me and I will cherish it throughout the years to come. The relationship was beyond student-supervisor/advisor, we were like friends! I benefited a lot from the YSSP. I was always amazed of the richness of knowledge and expertise and no wonder that IIASA, in particular the Forestry Program, is one of the world class research centres. I came back to Edinburgh with new tools and expertise that will help me to work on PhD research with ease. I trust that the collaboration we have established will flourish and will be beneficial for the African forests and the marginalized rural populance who depend on forests for their livelihoods."

Charlie Wilson, YSSP 2008

"It was a steep learning curve, but immensely stimulating and rewarding to work with and learn from experienced researchers at IIASA. This opened up a whole new research direction for me, and one in which I am now fully immersed. The professional relationships I developed have led to me returning on three separate occasions as a visiting research scholar, both to continue and extend work begun as a YSSP, and to work on other IIASA projects. These collaborations, and the regard with which IIASA is held internationally, have undoubtedly helped me successfully find a permanent position at an institution in my home country."

Vithal Karoshi, YSSP 2007
Country Coordinator, USAID's Agricultural Innovation Project (AIP)-Malawi


"Those 3 month were a real eye opener to me as I had plenty of opportunities to interact with senior researchers at IIASA. My interactions and research work at IIASA has changed me in everything- professionally and academically. The work at IIASA has laid a strong foundation in my career. IIASA is a perfect host to budding researchers. I hope future batches would have similar opportunities to enjoy their stay in Vienna and research work at IIASA."

Muhammad Arif Rashid Goheer, YSSP 2007
Senior Scientific Officer, Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), National Centre for Physics (NCP) Complex, Islamabad

"I believe the YSSP is a defining moment in the career of a young researcher. My experience at IIASA was challenging, stimulating, nurturing and rewarding. The Institute promoted and encouraged my personal and professional development by allowing me to explore my interests and get involved in the scientific activities. My work at IIASA helped me to think beyond science and its application in solving the real problems of society. It profoundly influenced my career by all means: from picking the problem to solving it; it helped me connect and establish professional relationships all across the world and gave me a lot of new ideas for future research."

Eri Saikawa, YSSP 2005
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, USA

"My YSSP experience helped me explore the problems I was interested in. Having a quality time with a mentor at IIASA with so many enthusiastic colleagues around me made one of the best environment for research, and it really was the moment when I fell in love with my research topic. After YSSP, I studied atmospheric chemistry, international relations, Chinese and Korean and conducted a very interdisciplinary research that was policy-oriented. All of this became possible because the breadth and the depth of research I got engaged in at IIASA made me motivated that such interdisciplinary work was possible."

Elena Rovenskaya, YSSP 2005
Program Leader, ASA Program (IIASA)

"My participation in YSSP changed my view on my possible way in science dramatically. I discovered a vast sphere of new applications of mathematical techniques. Traditionally, rigorous mathematical tools were being developed for and showed their effectiveness in ingeneering, mechanics and military applications. However, socio-economic-environmental models are principally new and different. It opens up possibilities for new optimal solutions of complex global issues which are of high importance for the humanity. My YSSP participation has resulted in an ongoing collaboration with the former DYN (now ASA) program."

Andrew Noymer, YSSP 1997

"It was a fantastic experience. It gave me a great perspective on applying research to real-world problems. The atmosphere at IIASA is very good for collaborative research. The professional networks I formed during my YSSP summer are with me still. Every year at the Population Association of America (PAA) annual meeting, the large annual gathering in my field, I see colleagues who I first came to know at IIASA. The YSSP program can work well for students just beginning graduate school, or those nearly finished, although the experience may be different for each group. For any graduate student working on areas covered by IIASA's diverse research programs, I would strongly encourage looking at YSSP."

R.R. Krishnamurthy, YSSP 1992
Associate Professor, University of Madras, India

"I have set a record by being the first YSSP from India in the year 1992, which was my first visit to a foreign country at the age of 28. I can firmly say that the experience and knowledge gained in the areas of remote sensing and GIS applications used as basis for my academic career on which I have developed my skills during the last two decades to carry out several field based action oriented research in the areas of coastal management and disaster management in India. My future vision is to establish strong collaborations with IIASA and its YSSP’s spread all over the world."

Erkki Ormala, YSSP 1982
Vice President, Business Environment, Corporate Relations & Responsibility, Nokia Corporation

"The program was a great experience and allowed me to conclude the theoretical part of my PhD in Engineering. The YSSP program provided me with support and an ideal working conditions in an area where there was no tradition in my home country, Finland. The degree and knowledge associated with it were very helpful in my future career as a scientist, policy adviser and, finally, as a business leader." 

Jesse H. Ausubel, YSSP 1979
Director of the Program for the Human Environment and Senior Research Associate, Rockefeller University, New York City

"My YSSP experience transformed my career.  It introduced me to many new areas of science, to many new colleagues with whom I continued to collaborate, and to a global view of problems. My experiences at IIASA profoundly influenced my career in every way: the problems I work on, the ways I approach the problems in a technical sense, the shift from a uni-national to a multi-national perspective, the networks of people with whom I work, and my belief in the contribution science can make to conflict resolution."

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Last edited: 08 October 2019


Tanja Huber

YSSP Coordinator & Team Leader

Young Scientists Summer Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 344

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313