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)


Abraham Yosipof profile picture

Abraham Yosipof

Guest Research Scholar (CAT)

Dmitry Erokhin profile picture

Dmitry Erokhin

Researcher (CAT)

No image available

Oleksandr Bogdanov

Guest Research Assistant (CAT)

Nadejda Komendantova profile picture

Nadejda Komendantova

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar (CAT)


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.
Social Media

13 June 2023

Rise of malicious bots: how automatons shake up Twitter with earthquake conspiracies

Numerous wild conspiracies gained momentum online following significant seismic events in the past. In light of the growing dominance of social media and the spread of misinformation, a new paper reveals how bots contribute to the dissemination of conspiracy theories surrounding earthquakes.
WiFi city

04 May 2023

A Data Treasure Trove: How social media has become an unexpected source of natural experiments

A person using digital communication leaves behind a trail of information on their activities, their interactions, and even some about who they are. Social media has become quintessential to the modern lives of billions of people which means that billions of trails are recorded on social media and communications platforms. This data has come to be a treasure trove of aggregated information which scientists can use to decipher the most unique trends and behaviors on a societal level. As part of her ongoing research at ASA, Elena Rovenskaya presented on the significance of social media as a source of information for science and its usefulness in understanding complex systems behaviors.



Thousands of people marched and held signs during the March for Science on Earth Day to defend the vital role of science in our lives in March 2017

03 July 2023

The science activist: should science get political?

For science to become more value-neutral and less biased, it needs to question existing social norms and transcend the status quo, writes Pratik Patil, a researcher in the Advancing Systems Analysis Program and a member of the Transformations within Reach initiative coordination team.

28 June 2023

Applying a methodological framework for COVID-19 management in Botswana

Options Magazine, Summer 2023: Researchers developed a framework using multi-criteria decision analysis to aid Botswana in formulating a COVID-19 strategy, considering stakeholder opinions and risk assessments.
Bostwana- Regional Impacts

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