Four exceptional young scientists from the 2020 Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) have been recognized as YSSP awards finalists. Two will receive funding to continue their research projects at IIASA.

IIASA has announced the winners of the annual Peccei and Mikhalevich awards for Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) participants. These awards will enable two participants from the 2020 YSSP to return to the institute for an additional three months to continue their research projects.

The awards are given annually for exceptional papers from the previous year’s YSSP cohort. Candidates are nominated by the program director of the relevant IIASA research program and assessed by a committee comprised of one member from each research program. Each candidate’s paper is evaluated based on its quality, originality, and relevance. The final decision is made by IIASA Director General Albert van Jaarsveld.

The Peccei awards are named in honor of IIASA alumnus Aurelio Peccei and recognize policy-related research, while the Mikhalevich awards, named for IIASA alumnus Vladimir S. Mikhalevich, are aimed at mathematically and methodologically oriented research.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 YSSP was held as a fully virtual program.

The 2020 YSSP Peccei and Mihalevich Awards Winners


Setu © IIASA

Setu Pelz from the Europa Universität Flensburg, Germany and Johns Hopkins University, USA has won the Peccei Award for his study:

“Impacts of grid electricity access on rural non-farm entrepreneurship and employment in Ethiopia and Nigeria”.

IIASA program: Energy (ENE), Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)

IIASA supervisor: Shonali Pachauri


Bernardo Buarque © IIASA

Bernardo Buarque from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, won the Mikhalevich Award for his study: “Evolving the knowledge space: Towards a selection dynamics model of patent classes

IIASA program: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA), Evolution and Ecology (EEP)

IIASA supervisors: Gergely Boza, Gerald Silverberg

Honorable mentions:


Janet Molina Maturano © IIASA

An honorable mention goes to Janet Molina Maturano from Ghent University, Belgium, for her study on: “Responsible scaling of citizen science projects for farmers: Developing a SDGs-guided toolkit.”

IIASA program: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)

IIASA supervisors: JC Laso Bayas, Steffen Fritz


Simon Plakolb © IIASA

An honorable mention goes to Simon Plakolb from the Technical University and the University of Graz in Austria, for his study on: “Using the Future State Maximization paradigm to analyze the emergence of socially sub-optimal mobility behavior”.

IIASA program: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)

IIASA supervisor: Nikita Strelkovski


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