10 November 2014
Conference Center Laxenburg, Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg

IIASA/OeAW Public Lecture Series, Lecture 5: Obstacles and Opportunities in Environmental Management by Simon Levin

Environmental management presents major challenges, and a variety of obstacles stand in the pathways to solutions. These obstacles, however, also present opportunities, and Simon Levin will explore some of these.

Simon Levin

Simon Levin

This lecture is the fifth in a series on scientific topics of mutual interest, aimed at a broad academic audience, decision makers and the public, organized in collaboration with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The lecture will take place on Monday, 10 November 2014, at the Conference Center Laxenburg.

"Obstacles and Opportunities in Environmental Management"
- Professor Simon Levin,
Princeton University


Opening remarks by Professor Dr Pavel Kabat (Director General, IIASA) and Professor Dr. Gerhard Glatzel (Austrian Academy of Sciences).

17:45-18:30 Drinks reception
18:30-19:30 Lecture by Professor Simon Levin
19:30-19:40 Awarding the IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellowship to Professor Simon Levin


Conference Center Laxenburg, Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg
There will be a bus leaving at 17:00 from Museum für angewandte Kunst (Stadtpark entrance), Weiskirchnerstrasse 3, 1010 Vienna, and returning to Vienna at 19:45.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Ms. Claudia Heilig-Staindl ( or 02236-807-266) or Mag. Marie-Therese Pitner ( or 01-51581-3452), indicating also whether you need a bus transfer from Vienna to Laxenburg.


Environmental management presents major challenges, and a variety of obstacles stand in the pathways to solutions. These obstacles, however, also present opportunities, and this lecture will explore some of these. Key among them are the development of truly multidisciplinary approaches, exemplified by the Beijer Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, to the development of general conceptual and theoretical frameworks that lead to practical solution to specific problems. Ecosystems and the biosphere are complex adaptive systems, and are parts of a larger coupled social-environmental complex adaptive system that presents unique challenges for management.

Levin S (2010) Crossing Scales, Crossing Disciplines: Collective Motion and Collective Action in the Global Commons. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 365(1537):13-18.

Arrow KJ, P.R.Ehrlich, S.A.Levin (2014) Some Perspectives on Linked Ecosystems and Socioeconomic Systems. Barrett, S., K.-G.Maler, E.S.Maskin: Environment and Development Economics: Essays in Honour of Sir Partha Dasgupta:95-116.

Simon Levin

Simon A. Levin received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Maryland. At Cornell University 1965-1992, he was Chair of the Section of Ecology and Systematics, and then Director of the Ecosystems Research Center, the Center for Environmental Research and the Program on Theoretical and Computational Biology, as well as Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences (1985-1992). Since 1992, he has been at Princeton University, where he is currently George M. Moffett Professor of Biology at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He retains an Adjunct Professorship at Cornell. His research interests are in understanding how macroscopic patterns and processes are maintained at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere, in terms of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that operate primarily at the level of organisms; in infectious diseases; in ecological economics; and in the interface between basic and applied ecology. Levin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a Foreign Member of the Istituto Veneto and of the Istituto Lombardo. He chaired the Governing Council for IIASA (2003-2008). Levin is a former President of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Mathematical Biology, and a past Chair of the Board of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Among other awards, he won the MacArthur Award (1988), the Distinguished Service Citation (1998) and the Eminent Ecologist Award (2010) of the Ecological Society of America, the Okubo Award (2001) of the Society for Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Theoretical Biology, the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004), the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (2005) by the Inamori Foundation, and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Most recently, he was honored with the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology (2010) , the John and Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2014), and the Luca Pacioli Award (2014). Levin has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Print this page

Last edited: 19 September 2019

More information

Simon Levin wins Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

Former IIASA Council Chair Simon Levin wins Pacioli Award

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