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.

Projects

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)

Staff

Nikita Strelkovskii profile picture

Nikita Strelkovskii

Research Scholar (EM, CAT)

Tahereh Zobeidi profile picture

Tahereh Zobeidi

Research Assistant (CAT)

Darina Zlatanova profile picture

Darina Zlatanova

Program and Project Officer (ASA, EM, CAT)

Mia Landauer profile picture

Mia Landauer

Guest Research Scholar (SYRR, CAT)

News

Close-up of someone's finger clicking on Twitter app on a tablet

19 October 2022

Why do COVID-19 conspiracy theories persist on social media?

IIASA researchers have analyzed the discussion on eight different conspiracy theories that was spread widely on Twitter during the pandemic. Their work makes it possible to not only estimate the number of conspiracy related tweets, but also to compare the theories among themselves and identify patterns in their discussion.
Digital world - 3d concept image

13 June 2022

Nadejda Komendantova appointed to UK Digital Environment Expert Network

IIASA Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group Leader, Nadejda Komendantova, has been appointed as an international expert for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)/Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)’s Constructing a Digital Environment Program.

Focus

11 July 2022

Strategic thinking for pandemics

Bringing together a wide range of stakeholder viewpoints, IIASA has developed an approach to identify strategic policies for COVID-19 as well as future pandemics.
World map showing coronavirus covid-19 pandemic virus, focus on Europe

02 December 2021

Where are they now: Jessica Jewell

Options Winter 2021: Jessica Jewell was a 2010 YSSP participant and researcher at IIASA between 2011 and 2019. She continues to support the work of the institute as a guest researcher.
wind

10 August 2021

Defense of the natural realm

Options Magazine, Summer 2021: At a crucial moment for beleaguered nature, IIASA research is showing that we can reverse biodiversity loss. It will need an effort that is grand in scale and focused where rewards are greatest.
Animals in front of a mountain