IIASA at 50

IIASA was founded in 1972 to promote East-West scientific cooperation during the Cold War. Today, it researches the global challenges of the 21st century. The 50th anniversary provides an opportune moment to both take stock of the institute’s achievements and to look forward.

On 4 October 1972, representatives of the Soviet Union, the United States, and 10 other countries from the Eastern and Western blocs met in London to sign the charter establishing IIASA.

It was the culmination of six years’ effort by then US President Lyndon Johnson and USSR Premier Alexey Kosygin, and marked the beginning of a remarkable project to use scientific cooperation to build bridges across the Cold War divide and to confront growing global problems on an international scale.

IIASA History

Over the years and thanks to the scientific achievements of IIASA researchers and the policy impact of its research, IIASA has shown the value of developing systems analysis to find solutions to complex global and regional problems. These include issues such as tackling climate change, strengthening disaster resilience, and improving energy, food, and water security. As a leader in applied systems analysis, IIASA is uniquely placed to support transformations to sustainability. IIASA has also broadened its membership. Today, the institute’s members and funders span the globe from Africa to the Americas, Asia, and Europe. 

Today, IIASA member countries (in blue) span the globe.













Anniversary Activities


To celebrate the 50th anniversary, IIASA will be organizing a series of activities to take stock of its achievements as well as look forward to the future. These will include:

  • An anniversary website, including a timeline of achievements from 1972 to 2022
  • An evening event on Science diplomacy: From Cold War to COVID-19, the need for multilateralism in Vienna in June 2022.
  • A series of roundtable discussions hosted by member countries on Systems science for transformations to sustainability throughout 2022.
  • A series of one-day online courses in systems analysis for PhD students hosted by member countries during 2022.
  • A celebration of systems analysis in Vienna in November 2022 on Systems analysis: The next 50 years followed by an academic conference on systems analysis.
  • Alumni events in member countries throughout the year to reconnect former colleagues and collaborators.
  • A birthday celebration at IIASA on 4 October 2022 for IIASA, alumni, and local supporters.

More information on these activities will be published in due course and we encourage you to join us in celebrating this important milestone for IIASA.


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Last edited: 06 September 2021

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The founding of IIASA

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313