06 October 2014

Researcher - Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program

Vacancy 18/2014 -  In order to expand, IIASA's TNT Program is seeking to recruit a junior-level research scholar (Postdoc level) or research assistant (pre-PhD level).


The strategic goal of the Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program is to further the understanding of the patterns, drivers, constraints, and impacts of technological change, particularly in the areas that are key for framing global sustainability conditions such as climate change. TNT’s research focuses on the systemic aspects of technological change and draws on empirical case studies, associated "meta" analysis, novel modeling approaches, as well as scenario studies and robustness analysis to inform technology policy choices from a systemic perspective. Research focuses inter alia on the representation and treatment of technological uncertainty and spatial and actor heterogeneity, aiming to identify robust patterns of change that can both constrain as well as help to accelerate change in desirable directions. Details on TNT’s research as well as recent publications are posted here.

The Position:

The successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to work with some for the world’s leading scientists in the area of transformational change for a sustainable future. The research position will involve working directly with the IIASA Deputy Director General, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, in the areas of activities of technological change, planetary boundaries, and development.


The successful applicant will contribute to ongoing research activities with an emphasis on modeling and analysis of technology diffusion from an interdisciplinary perspective. Research activities will include both empirical case studies of the diffusion of individual technologies, and of technological combinations, as well as contributions to the further development of a wider technology innovation systems framework that explains technology diffusion in integrating characteristics of adoption environments with technology characteristics proper. Thematic foci of the diffusion research will be in the areas of information and telecommunication technologies, mobility and transport, energy, water, and food. Furthermore these technology and development issues would be framed in the concept of planetary boundaries and involve the development of scenarios that lead to a transformation towards sustainable futures. 

The research work will be conducted in close collaboration with scientists at IIASA and their international partners. Specific tasks will depend on the interests, skills and experience of the successful candidate, with research likely to be in the following areas:

  • Quantitative assessments of effectiveness of innovation efforts and policies within a comparative context including energy, water, and agricultural innovations
  • Developing scenarios of technological and institutional innovations
  • Research in the areas of activities of technological change, planetary boundaries, and development
  • Case studies of technology diffusion with special emphasis on spatial, economic, and social adopter heterogeneity in the domain of information, communication and mobility, for instance in analyzing the influence of education on technology adoption behavior
  • Contributions to ongoing research on unit-level and industry-level scaling dynamics of technologies, with a focus on large scale (energy and greenhouse gas intensive) manufacturing technologies and processes
  • Applying, maintaining and extending existing analytical tools, e.g., simple or multiple logistic diffusion and substitution models, or agent-based models of technology choice.

The successful candidate will also be involved in developing research proposals, preparing journal papers and reports, and attending scientific and professional meetings.

The incumbent must be prepared to process and manage large datasets, become proficient with a complex energy system model, and analyze results. In addition, the incumbent must be prepared to develop new modeling approaches and think critically and independently about her/his research. 

Qualification Profile:

Candidates should have a master's degree (research assistant) or PhD degree (research scholar) in innovation studies, economics, engineering, or in natural sciences. A good understanding of the basics of technology innovation and diffusion, familiarity with related models and data sources, as well as "hand-on" experience in quantitative analysis are required. The successful candidate should have the ability to work in an international team with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, take initiative in undertaking research and be flexible and adaptable in responding to deadlines. Good written and oral communication skills in English are essential.

Appointment Terms:

The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract of one year with the possibility of extension thereafter, and should be available to take up the position as soon as possible. 

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package including moving and settlement allowances and provides for an exceptional working environment arising both from its diverse and interdisciplinary research teams and beautiful work environment. IIASA salaries are exempt from taxation in Austria, but subject to the principle of income aggregation.

The Institute’s management and staff alike are committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, and tolerance. The Institute encourages applications from all qualified candidates. Preference will be given to applicants who are nationals of IIASA member countries.

The TNT Program offers the possibility to adapt the Research Assistant position terms for combination with a PhD program centering on the applicants research in the Program.


To apply, send a cover letter, résumé, two recent examples of research work together with names and email addresses and telephone numbers of three work-related references by email to:

Ms. Alia Harrison, Human Resources
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Fax: (+43) 2236/713-13

Deadline for receipt of applications: 15th November 2014 (review of applications will begin immediately). 

For general information about our Institute and its research activities, please visit our IIASA Web site.

Internal reference # 140181

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Last edited: 07 October 2014


Alia Harrison

Recruitment Coordinator

Human Resources Department

T +43(0) 2236 807 286

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