The Strategic Initiatives (SI) Program engages in active horizon scanning to identify initiatives of high strategic impact in order to continuously push the boundaries of systemic analyses.   

The program works closely with the IIASA National Member Organizations (NMOs) to identify NMO specific research interests and needs, and leverage the expertise available across the institute to break new ground in systems research and applications while also establishing and building strategic partnerships. IIASA strategic initiatives are time-bound and set up via periodic competitive, rigorously scrutinized, internal calls for proposals.

Initiatives are selected based on their ability to draw on cross-program expertise and expand the IIASA research portfolio beyond that identified in the research plans of other programs. The initiatives pursued under the auspices of the program are typically of value and interest to several or all NMOs and serve as a vehicle to better align the research interests of NMOs and IIASA, albeit with a clear focus on themes identified in the IIASA strategy

The objectives of a Strategic Initiative include:

  1. Leverage cross-program expertise and expand IIASA’s research portfolio beyond that identified in research plans of other Programs.
  2. Lead to high strategic impact scientific outputs
  3. Be a vehicle to better align NMOs and IIASA’s research interests, albeit with a clear focus on themes identified in IIASA’s strategy
  4. Act as a magnet for external co-funding
  5. Be set up via a formal call for proposals with a defined selection process and evaluation criteria.
Strategic Initiatives © Photo 207979263 / Strategic © Gajus |

Strategic Initiatives Program Impact:

  • SI activities lead to wide NMO engagement through opportunities to co-design overarching SI research themes as well as project proposals
  • Until now 4 SI projects (FairSTREAM, JustTrans4All, RESIST, TRUST) have been funded with active, strong input from NMO countries
  • SI provides opportunities for young and mid-career female researchers to take up the role as PI or Co-PI, thus increasing the number of women in leading positions: 3 SI projects are women-led and 1 project has a female Co-PI
  • SI facilitates cross-program collaboration that would otherwise not take place: Funded projects involve around 40 IIASA researchers from 11 research groups and 5 programs

IIASA Connect is bringing together our NMO network and the Strategic Initiative researchers.



Just Transitions to Net-Zero Carbon Emissions for All (JustTrans4ALL)



Concept of idea and innovation. Hand with a burning gear in the globe.

Tools for Raising and UnderStanding Trust in systems science through citizen engagement (TRUST)


Resilience of Ecosystem Services provided by Intact and Sustainably managed Terrestrial ecosystems (RESIST)


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Holger Hoff

Guest Research Scholar (SI)

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Steffen Fritz

Program Director and Principal Research Scholar (SI); Principal Research Scholar (NODES)

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Katya Perez Guzman

Research Scholar (NODES, SI)

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Sandra Brozek

Program and Project Officer (NODES, SI)


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27 November 2023

EQU Justice Framework Workshop at IIASA

The Equity and Justice Research Group, in collaboration with the IIASA Strategic Initiative projects fairSTREAM, JustTRans4ALL and TRUST, hosted a Justice Framework Workshop on 16 November at IIASA. 
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13 September 2023

IIASA Flagship Report: Illuminating the path to sustainable wellbeing

IIASA is proud to announce the launch of its Flagship Report, "Systems Analysis for Sustainable Wellbeing. 50 Years of IIASA Research, 40 Years After the Brundtland Commission, Contributing to the Post-2030 Global Agenda” on Wednesday, 13 September 2023 at an official UN event in the framework of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly and the Sustainable Development Goals mid-term review.
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03 February 2023

Exceptional young scientists awarded

IIASA is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) awards. The awards provide financial support for three exceptional young scientists to return to IIASA for an additional three months of research.


23 June 2023

Into the great wide open

Options Magazine, Summer 2023: By opening up access to science, IIASA is sparking new insights into our planet’s health.
Options Magazine Summer 2023 cover
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03 November 2022

How do droughts affect the ability of trees to absorb CO2?

Jaideep Joshi highlights the results of a recent study in which he and his colleagues looked into the impacts of the novel environmental conditions that plants are exposed to today as a result of the changing climate.