Systems Analysis Forum

The Systems Analysis Forum (SAF) facilitates and catalyzes methodological advances needed for innovating the interdisciplinary and integrated perspectives lying at the core of the IIASA research agenda. All IIASA programs are involved in SAF activities. 

Applied systems analyses build on mathematical models for investigating complex systems. It is increasingly recognized that accelerating global transformations and interconnectedness necessitate novel methods for identifying scientifically sound policy options. Among the many challenges requiring radically new approaches are decentralized decision-making and bounded rationality; compounding uncertainties and systemic risks; nonlinearities and regime shifts; social interactions and collective phenomena; spatial hierarchies and network dynamics; synergisms and antagonisms across multiple objectives; and scientific visualization and communication.

Co-led by the Advanced Systems Analysis and Evolution and Ecology Programs, the SAF pursues these objectives by building synergies between in-house capacities, world-leading experts, and IIASA member countries. Specific activities include: 

1. Regular conferences to attract world leaders in systems-analysis methodology to discuss challenges and opportunities in the context of IIASA research

2. Regular internal calls for proposals for exploratory, methodologically oriented, small-scale projects are issued

3. Presentations by methodological innovators from around the world and discussions

4. Workshops and schools on systems-analysis methods, models, and tools 

5. Partnership with the Complexity Science Hub Vienna 

Selected projects supported by SAF in 2016:

Eco-Spill: Accounting for behavioral spillovers in the global adoption of sustainable technologies and lifestyles

The Eco-Spill project aims to better understand how the preferences and lifestyle choices of diverse actors are influenced by those of others, both within and across countries; and then to incorporate these behavioral features into the IIASA-integrated assessment modeling framework. This work will help to develop more realistic portraits of the long-term sustainability transition. More

Freedom, Emergence, and Dimensions

The Freedom, Emergence, and Dimensions (FRED) project will explore contributions from the Ergodic Theory of Chaos to systems analysis. More

Simulation Games as New Methods for Understanding Stakeholder Interaction and Decision-Making in Complex Systems

A research project which uses social simulation as a new method to examine stakeholder cognition and interaction, and explores how gaming-based empirical observations may be used in quantitative analysis. More

Systems thinking for transformation

The systems thinking for transformation (SYSTRANS) project will explore ways in which IIASA can extend its public engagement and education efforts to foster systems thinking and transformation. More

Navigating the Pareto front: Understanding economic – environmental tradeoffs under value diversity among stakeholders

This research project funded through the IIASA’s Systems Analysis Forum (SAF) explores methods of finding efficient, consensus-enabling solutions reconciling competing goals of diverse agents with potentially unequal bargaining positions. More

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Last edited: 11 July 2018


Elena Rovenskaya

Program Director and Principal Research Scholar Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Ulf Dieckmann

Principal Research Scholar Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Principal Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Principal Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Systems Analysis 2015

Exploring the current state and future directions of systems analysis

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