Options Magazine, Winter 2023: IIASA has a long history of being home to some of the most exceptional systems thinkers of our time. In the last year, several IIASA researchers were again honored with various awards and appointments.

W. Lutz © IIASA

IIASA Interim Deputy Director General for Science, Wolfgang Lutz, is an internationally recognized social scientist and demographer known for his work on international population trends with a special focus on population forecasting, population-development-environment interactions, and introducing education as a standard demographic dimension in addition to age and sex. In recognition of the scientific-political relevance and high topicality of his research throughout his career, Lutz was awarded the Austrian Research Association (OeFG)’s Science Prize in 2023.

Earlier this year, Lutz was also appointed as Special Adviser to Dubravka Šuica, the European Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography. In this role, he will provide tailored advice, representation, and support to Vice President Šuica, ensuring that demographic considerations are mainstreamed into the evaluation, preparation, and implementation of policy initiatives, legislation, and budgeting.

S. Scherbov © IIASA

IIASA Population and Just Societies Program researcher Sergei Scherbov has received an honor of his own in being elected to the prestigious Academia Europaea in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to demographic modeling, population projections, and innovative analyses of aging.

His inclusion in the Human Mobility, Governance, Environment, and Space category further underscores the far-reaching impact of his work.

In the realm of conservation science, IIASA researcher Martin Jung was awarded the Society for Conservation Biology’s 2023 European Early Career Conservation Award. His research, focused on the interconnectedness of land use, food production, and biodiversity indicators, has earned him acclaim for its role in shaping impactful spatial planning and impact assessment of conservation policies.

N. komendantova © IIASA

IIASA Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group Leader, Nadejda Komendantova, was appointed as an independent expert on the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Foresight Expert Panel established in cooperation with the International Science Council (ISC) to help identify and evaluate emerging issues and signals of change.

Energy, Climate, and Environment Program researcher, Nebojsa Nakicenovic was also appointed as a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) in acknowledgment of his dedication to advancing global civilization, human welfare, and sustainable development through transdisciplinary studies and operational projects throughout his career. The year’s recognition continued with IIASA’s impressive representation in the 2023 Research.com Top Scientists ranking, where 32 researchers and alumni affiliated with IIASA were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions. The rankings, determined through meticulous evaluation of profiles on Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Graph, highlight the institute’s commitment to excellence in research across diverse fields.

Lastly, six eminent researchers were honored with the title of IIASA Distinguished Emeritus Research Scholar. Günther Fischer, Arnulf Grübler, JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Sergei Scherbov, and Anatoly Shvidenko were all lauded for their significant contributions to systems analysis and their lifelong dedication to IIASA. Their impactful work spans fields such as world food systems, energy and technology, risk management, demography, and forest and vegetation carbon science.

By Ansa Heyl