Options Magazine, Winter 2022: Leila Niamir is a computational economist and climate researcher driven by a passion for global change.

Originally from Iran, Niamir discovered her interest in human-nature relationships at a young age.

“Growing up in Teheran, I faced many school closures due to air pollution, which made me realize that environmental challenges endanger human health and wellbeing. I was unhappy about the forced holidays
and kept asking my parents for an explanation. Maybe this is why I later decided to become a scientist in this field,” she says.

Niamir first came to IIASA in 2017 as a participant in the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). She was enthralled by the prospect of making a tangible impact through her academic work, which centers around energy behavior and climate change mitigation. After obtaining her PhD from the University of Twente in 2019, she held appointments at think tanks in the Netherlands and Germany.

IIASA Corner © Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

Now a research scholar in the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program, she continues to navigate the boundary between science, policy, and civil society. As a member of the Global Young Academy, she is committed to building trust in science and actively involving the public through science communication. Most recently, she served as a lead author and chapter scientist for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Bringing together different spheres is extremely important. We should not put a border between scientists, policymakers, and the  public; particularlywhen we talk about global commons,” she concludes.

By Jakob Angeli