Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT) aims to analyze governance systems addressing sustainability at different scales and to generate cooperative solutions.

Societal transitions caused by unprecedented technological innovations and industrial transformations, such as energy transitions or digitalisation, as well as environmental or health related crises require new effective governance approaches to handle inherent social dilemmas and wicked problems.

Transformative governance includes formal and informal institutions which are involved - at multiple scales - in responding to, managing, and triggering positive shifts in coupled social-ecological systems towards sustainability. A growing complexity of decision-making processes in modern society requires improved synchronization and coordination of different branches and levels of governance. Transformative governance faces two major challenges. First, the underlying difficulty of any transformative governance process is a social dilemma, that is a collective action situation when interests of separate individuals contradict interests of a community or society. Second, transformative governance involves with wicked problems – problems that are difficult or impossible to solve as they are characterized by incomplete information and contradicting and constantly evolving views and objectives of involved stakeholders and social groups. 

Th CAT group focus is on wicked problems and social dilemmas in decision-making advancing appropriate methodologies and conducting a series of case studies. Areas of application include:

  1. Public health including COVID-19;
  2. Climate change and natural hazards,
  3. Biodiversity and ecosystems, including oceans;
  4. Societal transitions caused by technological innovations, industrial transformations or environmental changes; and
  5. Digital world and misinformation spread in the Internet. 

The CAT group is using the following methods:

  • cooperation models, including game-theoretical models for public good and common pool management with real-world complexities as well as bounded rationality, social heterogeneity, cultural dispositions, and institutional incentives;
  • decision support systems accounting for multiple conflicting objectives; and
  • methods to facilitate stakeholder dialogue, including participatory modelling, systems mapping, gamification, scenario planning. 

The overarching methodological ambition of CAT’s work is to advance the practice of using models to understand and support decision making processes that are characterized by uncertainty, volatility, ambiguity and complexity. 

CAT has a unique composition of researchers from a wide area range of disciplines that are fundamental for addressing its goals. The Research Group includes researchers from political sciences, mathematics, game theorists, behavioural economists, among others. The unique combination of deep disciplinary knowledge, a broad understanding of the practical challenges of transformative governance, and rigorous mathematical and systems-analytical focus is a strong basis for innovative work of high societal relevance. Extended networks of several young and senior scientists enables delivering real-world impact by addressing contested governance problems.

Models, tools, datasets


Qualitative systems analysis tools to inform strategic planning for policymaking (QSAM)


Integrated Risk and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis


Amazing agriculture landscape in Macin mountains

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium

Paper plane

Agent-based models to inform economic policies on migration (ABM2Policy)


Mia Landauer profile picture

Mia Landauer

Guest Research Scholar (SYRR, CAT)

Peyman Arjomandi profile picture

Peyman Arjomandi

Guest Research Assistant (CAT)

Aleksandr Martusevich profile picture

Aleksandr Martusevich

Guest Senior Research Scholar (CAT)

Reza Yeganegi profile picture

Reza Yeganegi

Research Scholar (CAT)


Two firefighters fighting fire with a hose and water

18 October 2023

Creating a platform for disaster management and risk reduction

IIASA researchers are contributing to the Horizon Europe funded PARATUS project, which aims to promote disaster preparedness and resilience by co-developing stakeholder support tools for managing the systemic risk of compounding disasters.
Wavelet coherence

27 September 2023

Social Media Intelligence Mining Tool

Introducing a Game-Changing Social Media Intelligence Mining Tool! The ASA/CAT Groups proudly unveil a groundbreaking tool that promises to redefine our understanding of public sentiment and discourse across digital landscapes. With support from contributors Hossein Hassani, Nadya Komendantova, Elena Rovenskaya, and Mohammad Reza Yeganegi, this cutting-edge innovation is set to transform the way we harness insights from platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Google, and news outlets.
Climat discussion on Twitter

12 July 2023

Unmasking Climate Conversations: Insights from Twitter Discourse. IIASA Researcher Presents Study at International Association for Media and Communication Research Pre-Conference

Dmitry Erokhin, a researcher at IIASA, presents a study on climate discussion on Twitter at a pre-conference organized by IAMCR. Analyzing over 250,000 tweets, the study reveals dominant topics and sentiments surrounding climate change. While concerns and calls for action prevail, the study also uncovers significant misinformation alleging climate change as a hoax. Erokhin emphasizes the need for targeted information campaigns to counter these narratives. The findings hold crucial importance for policymakers navigating the social media landscape.



20 February 2024

Unearthing the gold: the art and science of social intelligence mining

In the era of digital communication, myriads of social media and web platforms can be used as vital sources of data, which can help us explore the patterns of how public opinion and reactions are shaped, how new trends emerge, and how the market dynamics work. Being at the forefront of exploring this promising field, IIASA researchers Hossein Hassani and Nadejda Komendantova explain what social intelligence mining is and how can it be used for our collective benefit.

Young people protesting climate change with megaphone and posters

13 November 2023

Empowering youth to spearhead the energy transition

The newly established International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum provided an opportunity to discuss best practices and present solutions to tackle climate change and achieve a green energy transition. Hossein Hassani and Nadejda Komendantova share their insights from a fireside chat at the event that focused on the role of young people in clean energy transitions.