IIASA is taking a leading role in promoting science diplomacy and fostering debates about how science can help build trust between nations and support foreign policies.

IIASA was established in 1972 with the aim to use scientific cooperation to build bridges across the Cold War divide and to jointly confront growing problems on an international scale. This was the result of US President Lyndon B. Johnson initiative to create such an international research organization, which found support from Soviet Prime Minister Alexey Kosygin. Negotiations took several years and led to the signature of IIASA Charter in London in 1972 by twelve founding National Member Organizations from Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, UK, USA, USSR and West Germany. 

When the Cold War ended, IIASA broadened its mandate to achieve a greater global mandate. Today it continues to successfully provide scientific insight to policymakers worldwide by finding solutions to global problems through applied systems analysis. Building on its strengths, and within its overall research framework, IIASA delivers impact globally and to its member countries by helping them to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations through science diplomacy and through scientific input to international negotiations. 

With global problems becoming more complex and the world more divided, the concept of science diplomacy gained new traction. Science diplomacy is seen as a tool to foster relations between nations and as scientific support to foreign policies. Science diplomacy helps to ensure that foreign policies, as well as global policy efforts, remain informed by scientific evidence.


USA flag

23 April 2024

US Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna visits IIASA

H.E. Ambassador Laura Holgate, US Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, met with IIASA Director General John Schellnhuber to discuss advancing collaboration on leveraging systems analysis for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The visit strengthened ties between IIASA and the US, emphasizing a commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange for informed decision making.
WG4 workshop

07 March 2024

Advancing European Science Diplomacy: Co-creation Workshop at IIASA

From 6-7 March, the European Union Science Diplomacy Working Group 4 on building capacity for European science diplomacy convened for a two-day co-creation workshop hosted by IIASA and the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. 
Eco friendly environmental technology and sustainable development concept

28 February 2024

Keywan Riahi reappointed to UN Secretary-General's Group of Ten High-level Representatives

IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program Director, Keywan Riahi, has been re-appointed to the UN Secretary-General's Group of Ten High-level Representatives for the 2024-2025 term.


United Arab Emirates


Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice, Italy

IIASA at the Sixteenth IAMC Annual Meeting 2023


11 November 2023

The IIASA Flagship Report: Illuminating the path to sustainable wellbeing

Options Magazine, Winter 2023: Looking back and moving forward: Systems analysis for sustainable wellbeing. 50 years of IIASA research, 40 years after the Brundtland Commission, and contributing to the post‑2030 global agenda.

10 November 2023

IIASA and the G20: Systems thinking to help reform multilateralism

Options Magazine, Winter 2023: The G20 is a global platform for the discussion of cooperation, policy, and governance pathways aligned with the common interests of its member states. This year, India held the Presidency of the G20 under the banner of One Earth, One Family, One Future. To support India’s Presidency, IIASA produced four policy papers providing insight into the complexities of potential multilateral institutional reforms.
Options 2023

11 June 2022

Systems of understanding - building a network of science diplomacy

Options Magazine, Summer 2022: As it forges the links of systems science, IIASA can also help to connect the world in a network of science diplomacy.