It is our pleasure to announce the appointment of Professor Karen Lips as the new IIASA Deputy Director General effective from 1 July 2024.

Lips will bring a wealth of experience gained in both leadership and academic positions to IIASA. She leverages over thirty years of scientific research and international policy experience to catalyze international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral collaborations ranging from ecology to education. She has extensive experience in academic leadership, strategic planning, and educational policy; in domestic and international science policy and science diplomacy; and in program management, public engagement, and experiential training.

Her experience in international science policy comes from participating in the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program at the US Department of State, and by serving as a Program Director in the Office of International Science and Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF). At the NSF, she led the Global Centers Program, a flagship program designed to address global challenges through multilateral funding of international teams conducting use-inspired research. She also served as the NSF’s representative to the Executive Support Group of the Global Research Council.

Starting in 2008, Lips became a Professor at University of Maryland, College Park, where she served as the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology. Her research primarily centered on understanding the ecological and environmental factors that influence how amphibian species respond to diseases in order to devise evidence-based strategies for conservation and recovery of endangered species. Additionally, she studied how human activities can contribute to the spread of diseases and the ultimate loss of biodiversity.

Lips, who holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Miami, has developed international research collaborations among scientists, university researchers, and stakeholders to produce data to advance evidence-based policy decisions on biodiversity conservation, invasive species, and wildlife disease.

She brings extensive experience in three focal areas: long-term research in global change biology and biodiversity; sustained engagement with international science, science policy, and science diplomacy; and skills in science communication and organizational management.

“We are delighted to welcome Karen Lips," says IIASA Director General John Schellnhuber. "This partnership is a perfect match for running the Institute together. The old world meets the new world. We have two major complementarities in the fields of biodiversity and climate, both of which are critical global challenges that we are facing today."

"On behalf of the IIASA Council, I am delighted to welcome Karen to the IIASA family. I am sure that she will be able to further develop our scientific agenda based on her rich and professional background. Please join us in welcoming her to the IIASA leadership team and wishing her great success in her new role as Deputy Director General,” concludes Kazuhiko Takemoto, IIASA Council Chair.



John Schellnhuber lecture

14 June 2024

IIASA Leadership visits Washington DC

In May, IIASA Director General John Schellnhuber and Head of Communications and External Relations Barbara Kreissler traveled to Washington DC for a series of meetings with members of the US IIASA Committee and other key stakeholders. The trip aimed to strengthen relationships and explore new opportunities for collaboration.
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.
IIASA participants in front of the venue (Little Finlandia Conference Hall, Helsinki)

13 September 2023

FLAM Sparks Interest and Conversation at the 2023 IBFRA Conference in Helsinki

Boreal forests often bring to mind a winter wonderland: spruce and pine forests as far as the eye can see, fluffy snow dotted with reindeer beneath a nighttime sky brightened by the aurora borealis. Climate change threatens this fragile, pristine habitat that spans 8 countries in the far north. Now boreal forests are associated not just with snowy landscapes, they are becoming synonymous with raging wildfires and massive plumes of smoke, such as those found currently in Canada. Mitigating the threats posed by climate change in this unique ecosystem and discussing the most recent boreal-related research is the focus of the International Boreal Forest Association conference. Organized in large part by IIASA’s own Florian Kraxner, IBFRA 2023 was held in Helsinki, Finland, where researchers from around the globe gathered to discuss recent findings, foster new connections, and contribute to a plan of attack to save boreal forests as we know them.