14 March 2013

IIASA and CSIRO formalize cooperation

IIASA and the Australian national science organization, CSIRO, have established new areas for research collaboration in the fields of energy, water, and biodiversity and environmental research.


CSIRO logo

Discussions between the two organizations focused on opportunities for collaboration on integrated assessments at global, regional, and local levels. 

The proposed collaborations came about through a visit to IIASA by representatives of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). CSIRO serves as the National Member Organization (NMO) for Australia and is IIASA’s newest NMO. 

CSIRO Environment Group Executive and IIASA Council Member Andrew Johnson led the delegation to IIASA. He says, “How does humanity feed, fuel, power, and provide water for 9 billion people over the next hundred years without destroying the environment? In order to answer these questions we need to grow our relationships with organizations like IIASA.”

Energy expert Dr Alex Wonhas leads CSIRO’s national flagship program on energy – a major focus in the country, which has the potential in the next 5 years to become the world’s 2nd largest exporter of LNG in the world. At IIASA Wonhas met with energy program researchers and presented CSIRO’s energy agenda and research focus. 

In particular, he noted that the IIASA-led Global Energy Assessment (GEA) could provide many insights for Australian energy researchers, policy-makers, and industry and that CSIRO researchers could contribute local and regional research to help expand GEA’s findings. He says, “This is a strong opportunity to take a global integrated assessment to a local level. Australia could serve as a model for other nations in having a nested approach for integrated assessments.”

Science Director of the CSIRO Water Flagship Dr Ian Prosser highlighted water resources as another area of potential collaboration. Water is a particular area of concern in Australia. “Australia lives in the face of extreme hydrological variability, and climate change is already leading to a dryer climate,” says Prosser. “We’re living in a different world now, and we need to come up with different policy options.”

IIASA Director & CEO Professor Dr Pavel Kabat invited CSIRO to join IIASA’s World Futures and Solutions initiative, a new global assessment aimed at providing a global, integrated assessment of water challenges and solutions. 

Dr Mark Lonsdale, Chief of CSIRO’s Ecosystem Sciences and Biodiversity Portfolio, raised a number of other areas of potential collaboration between the Australian NMO and IIASA, including biodiversity, land use change, sustainable agriculture, and biosecurity. Australia is dealing with an astonishing loss of biodiversity in recent years, says Lonsdale. But, he says, “As biologists, we need to do more than just say how bad the problem is. We need to try to fix the problem, work at a transformational scale with policymakers and the private sector.” Lonsdale met with researchers in IIASA’s Ecosystems Services and Management program to discuss potential areas of collaboration and synergies.

CSIRO full group (c) IIASA

Left to right: Ian Prosser, Science Director of CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, Alex Wonhas, Director of CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship, Maggie Collins, IIASA NMO Secretary, Andrew Johnson, CSIRO Group Executive Environment, Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director and CEO, Mark Lonsdale, CSIRO Chief of Ecosystem Sciences and Biodiversity Portfolio Leader, Leane Regan, Communication Manager, CSIRO Water for a Healthy Flagship.


Left to right: Andrew Johnson, Group Executive Environment CSIRO and IIASA Council member representing Australian NMO, Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director and CEO, Mark Lonsdale, CSIRO Chief of Ecosystem Sciences and Biodiversity Portfolio Leader and Australian NMO Secretary.

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Last edited: 25 February 2014

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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