The role of the Science Advisory Committee (SAC) established by the IIASA Council in 2002, is to ensure that IIASA work continues to meet the highest standards in both scientific and policy relevant communities.

The SAC was established in 2002 by the IIASA Council – the governing body of the institute – and is tasked with ensuring that IIASA work continues to meet the highest standards in terms of both scientific merit and policy relevance.

The Science Advisory Committee is an advisory structure constituted of independent scientists appointed by the IIASA Council with the task of providing scientific guidance and a research assurance function for IIASA. SAC reports directly to the IIASA Deputy Director General for Science and engages with the Director General, and indirectly to the Research and Engagement Committee of Council.

SAC members are appointed by the Council to three-year terms (for a maximum of six years), from a list of nominations solicited from IIASA Member Organizations, staff, and the IIASA scientific network. Members are selected based on their scientific and policy experience in the areas of IIASA research, with attention to balance regarding scientific disciplines, world regions, gender, and experience in global science-policy activities.

The committee meets approximately once per year, or more often if required, and the SAC Chair is invited to attend Council meetings as a guest.

Professor John R. Birge is the fifth SAC Chair, succeeding Professor Jim Hall of Oxford University.

Current SAC members

Chair from January 2023 to December 2023
Professor John R. BIRGE 
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Chicago, IL, USA
* Member from Aug 2017 to Dec 2023

Professor Dr. Ruth DEFRIES 
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Columbia University
New York, NY, USA
* Member from Aug 2017 to Aug 2023

Dr. Marianne Fay
Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Bank
Lima, Peru
* Member from Jan 2022 to Dec 2024

Prof. Leiwen Jiang
Founding Director and Professor, Asian Demographic Reserach Institute (ADRI), Shanghai University, China
Senior Associate, advisor for Population, Environmental Risks, and Climate Change Initiative, Population Council, New York, USA
* Member from Jan 2023 to Dec 2025

Dr. Olga KORDAS
Director of Viable Cities (a Swedish strategic innovation programme for smart and sustainable cities)
Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Sweden
* Member from July 2020 to June 2023

Professor Dr. Christoph MEINEL 
Internet Technologies and Systems
Hasso-Plattner-Institute
University of Potsdam
Germany
* Member from July 2020 to June 2023

Professor Yacob Mulugetta
Professor of Energy and Development Policy; Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy (STEaPP) at the University College London (UCL), UK;
Founding Member of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) 
* Member from Jan 2022 to Dec 2024

Professor Dr. Taikan OKI
Professor, Graduate School of Engineering
University of Tokyo
Japan
* Member from Jan 2022 to Dec 2024

Professor Ahti Salo
Professor in Systems Analysis
Systems Analysis Laboratory
Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis
Aalto University School of Science
Finland
* Member from Jan 2023 to Dec 2025

Professor Dr. Sonia Seneviratne
Professor for Land-Climate Dynamics
Department of Environmental Systems Science,
ETH Zürich
Switzerland
* Member from Jan 2023 to Dec 2025

Professor Dr.  Diana Ürge-Vorsatz
Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy;
Central European University
Austria
* Member from Jan 2022 to Dec 2024

Professor Elke U. WEBER
Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment
Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs
Princeton University
USA
* Member from July 2020 to June 2023