The UK joins the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

16 July 2015

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) announces today that the United Kingdom has become its newest member country. The UK joins 22 other countries that guide and support IIASA's research into critical global environmental, economic, technological, and social change issues facing us in the twenty-first century.

Three UK research councils, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), now jointly represent the UK membership of IIASA. They are establishing a UK National Member Organisation of IIASA to include representatives from UK universities, government and the private sector to develop activities in multiple areas between IIASA and the UK.

Welcoming the announcement in a speech on UK science and innovation at the University of Sheffield today, Minister for Universities & Science Jo Johnson said:

"Membership of IIASA is a further boost to our international collaborations and will enable UK researchers to work with world-leading data experts and access new knowledge to help tackle critical issues of global change."

IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr Pavel Kabat also welcomed the new membership:

"We are delighted that the UK, a world leader in science, has joined IIASA. Although significant collaboration already exists between IIASA and UK researchers, membership facilitates greater research cooperation, not just between IIASA and UK researchers but with researchers from all of IIASA's member countries ranging from China to Germany to Japan to the USA, resulting in even higher-quality research output on all sides."

IIASA's interdisciplinary research focuses on finding solutions to the complex, interconnected global problems confronting humanity, ranging from achieving global food security to transitioning to sustainable energy systems. Underpinning these studies is big data and systems analysis - one of the few research tools with the breadth and depth to explore complex problems across multiple sectors, countries, and timeframes.

The visit of the UK panel to assess IIASA in December 2014.

The visit of the UK panel to assess IIASA in December 2014.

NERC, ESRC and EPSRC conducted a rigorous analysis of the value of IIASA membership to the UK between September 2014 and May 2015. This included a site visit in December 2014 by a panel of experts led by Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK government chief scientific adviser.

Sir Mark Walport commented:

"The panel was impressed with the quality of IIASA's research and saw value, among others, in joining in order to develop UK capacity in integrated assessment modelling - something that IIASA has considerable expertise in."

Integrated assessment modelling is a type of scientific modelling that integrates knowledge from multiple areas into a single framework to generate useful information for policy making.

IIASA also has over 40 years' experience in science diplomacy. Membership of IIASA provides opportunities for the UK to broker new international scientific partnerships not just with traditional partner countries such as Europe, Japan, and the USA, but also with high-growth and emerging economies including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa - all members of IIASA.

Chief executive of NERC, Professor Duncan Wingham, who will represent the UK on IIASA's governing council, explained:

"As the world becomes increasingly globalised and interconnected, the need for scientists from different countries to work together to achieve consensus on complex issues and for science to become a more important component of diplomacy and foreign relations is greater than ever."

Further information

NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215


1. IIASA - external link is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Their findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

IIASA's twenty-three National Member Organisations represent the scholarly community in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, UK, USA, and Vietnam.