Options Magazine, Winter 2022: IIASA Connect presents a great opportunity for the system analysis community to engage and connect with colleagues around the world.

Since its launch in autumn 2020, this exclusive online platform has been bringing together the institute's global network comprising of staff, alumni, and collaborators. Members come from academia, government, policy, and funding organizations. The platform is a tool for network members to directly engage with one another, either around topics or directly, build connections in real time, organize and coordinate events, share opportunities, and co-create and build communities of practice.

IIASA Connect provides an ideal environment for interaction with like-minded colleagues from around the world through two new event series titled: Coffee Talks and Features. Coffee Talks bring together the network for conversations that span across research topics, such as engaging science with society, the gender dimension in research, science reaching policy, and open science. Each event includes an IIASA staff member, an alumnus, and a colleague from one of the IIASA member organization communities as speakers.

Feature events focus on accomplishments or opportunities and have included an open call for members of the Global Young Academy, a discussion about the experiences of recent PhD graduates at IIASA, an open call for proposals for the 2022 Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress (SRI2022), and communicating complex risks through humor. In addition, the authors of the Sustainability Puzzle – a popular book that delves into how sustainability can be achieved by simultaneously addressing social, economic, and environmental issues – shared how they engage non-expert audiences in complex topics.

To date, the platform has also virtually hosted two regional conferences, the 2022 Scenarios Forum Conference, and several 50th anniversary events. Groups include communities such as early career researchers, three Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) cohorts, and women in science, along with research and project themes, 15 regional member groups, and trainings.

by Kekeletso Makau