11 February 2016 - 15 February 2016
Washington, DC

Making connections at the AAAS Conference

A IIASA delegation attended the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Washington DC this February, strengthening ties with US scientists and paving the way for continued fruitful collaborations.

© Dibrova | Dreamstime

© Dibrova | Dreamstime

This year the conference theme focused on how scientific enterprise can meet global challenges in need of innovation and international collaboration. These are, of course, also key issues at IIASA, and topics on which the institution can provide considerable expertise.

Prior to the conference, AAAS organized a special roundtable discussion to explore opportunities for collaboration between scientists from countries with varying levels of development. As IIASA supports research cooperation across this development divide, Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat attended, along with high-level representatives of government and non-government funding agencies, scientific and international organizations. 

IIASA in Washington, D.C.

Thursday 11 February

The IIASA delegation meet with the US National Member Organization for IIASA, the National Academy of Sciences



International Scientific Cooperation for Global Sustainability

Co-sponsored by IIASA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Austrian Embassy this symposium covered three extensive topics: developing pathways towards achieving the UN sustainable development goals; the use of biological carbon sequestration to meet climate goals, and the challenges of a rapidly changing Arctic. The panelists included Wolfgang Lutz, IIASA World Population Program director; Michael Obersteiner, IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program director; Charles Vörösmarty, co-chair of the IIASA Arctic Futures Initiative advisory group; Paul Berkman, member of the Arctic Futures Initiative steering group; and William Colglazier, distinguished visiting fellow at IIASA.



That evening a reception was hosted by the National Academy of Sciences, the Austrian Embassy and IIASA. 

Saturday 13 February


Conference Session

Sustainable Development Goals: Paths Forward  

This IIASA-organized session focused on the science behind UN Sustainable Development Goals and how scientific cooperation can contribute to achieving these ambitious targets. Wolfgang Lutz, IIASA World Population Program director, spoke during the session along with Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and IIASA distinguished visiting fellow, and Rosina Bierbaum, University of Michigan. William Colglazier, also a distinguished visiting fellow at IIASA, took part in the panel discussion that followed. The event was introduced and moderated by Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat.  

Sunday 14 February


Poster Session

Zhimin Mao, former participant of the IIASA Young Scientist Summer Program (YSSP), presented a poster on understanding the potential costs and effectiveness of the proposed action plan for China’s Pearl River Delta that aims to control the negative environmental and health impacts of air pollution.


Poster Session

Sennai Mesfin and Franziska Gaupp, both former participants of the YSSP, presented posters during this session. Mesfin examined the potential for converting the excess intermittent electricity from a renewable power system into chemical fuels that can be used in other sectors, such as transportation and heating. Gaupp modeled drought events and subsequent yield losses in regions that produce large proportions of the world’s food. 

Former YSSPers at the IIASA booth (row 1800 on the right in the Exhibit Hall) at the following times:

Friday 12 February, 10:00-11:00 Zhimin Mao,

YSSPer with IIASA Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases Program, and doctoral student at RAND Pardee School, USA.

Saturday 13 February, 10:00-11:00 Franziska Gaupp,

YSSPer with IIASA Risk, Policy and Vulnerability Program, and doctoral student at the Environmental Change Institute, UK.

Saturday 13 February, 11:00-12:00 Sennai Mesfin,

YSSPer with IIASA Ecosystem Services and Management Program, and doctoral student at the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.

This year’s theme: global science engagement

AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society, aims to promote cooperation among scientists, defend scientific freedom, encourage scientific responsibility, and support science outreach for the betterment of all humanity.

The theme this year focuses on the fact that science is a global endeavor that advances when knowledge is both generated and shared. Increasingly, scientists and engineers are working both within and outside of national boundaries on local and global issues. Challenges necessitating innovation and international scientific collaboration are abundant in food and water security, sustainable development, infectious disease and health, climate change, natural disasters, and energy. Countries with varying levels of development, education, and scientific capacity may have different goals and expectations for international scientific engagement. What elements make international collaboration successful and sustainable? What engagement opportunities are available, and what are the responsibilities of researchers, entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers in global scientific endeavors?

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Last edited: 16 June 2016


Bettina Greenwell

Communications Officer Communications and External Relations Department


IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program

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