International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1 – A-2361
Laxenburg, Austria
(+43 2236) 807 0

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)


Founded in 1972, IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts policy-oriented research into problems too large or complex to be solved by a single country or academic discipline, or of common concern to many countries that require national and international cooperative action – such as climate change, energy security, population growth, and sustainable development. Funded by scientific institutions in the Americas, Europe, Asia Oceania and Africa, IIASA is independent and unconstrained by political or national self-interest; it is a not-for-profit, registered association in Austria. IIASA’s mission is to “provide insights and guidance to policymakers worldwide by finding solutions to global and universal problems through applied systems analysis in order to improve human and social wellbeing and protect the environment.”

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) program aims to improve our understanding of ecosystems in today’s changing world. The strategic goal of ESM is supporting policy makers in developing rational, realistic and science-based regional, national and global strategies for the production of food, feed, fiber, and bio-energy that sustain ecosystem services and safeguard food security. By using advanced theories of applied systems analysis, new information technologies and integrated biophysical, social and economic modeling techniques, ESM is charting possible pathways to the future by linking ecosystems, society, policy and governance.

ESM consists of six research groups, one of them being the Earth Observation Systems (EOS) group. EOS research on Earth Observations, in collaboration with GEO and national space agencies, devises new approaches and  technologies to collect, harmonize, and verify spatial information. At the core of these efforts is the Geo Wiki platform, which provides citizens with the means to engage in environmental monitoring of the earth by providing feedback on existing information overlaid on satellite imagery or by contributing entirely new data.
Data can be input via the traditional desktop platform or mobile devices, with campaigns and games used to incentivize input.

Main Role in the Project

As leader of WP1, IIASA will oversee overall project coordination and management roles including administration of contractual and financial agreements. IIASA will serve as the official contact to the European Commission. IIASA has vast experience in the management of numerous successful R&D and innovation projects in the field of EO, land cover and land use, and citizen science, and has taken part in the CSA ConnectinGEO. Some additional main tasks for IIASA in WeObserve include:

  • Contribute to the mapping of the EU landscape of COs (T2.1), the Communities of Practice (CoPs, T2.2) and the development of the CO ‘Cookbook’ (T2.3). IIASA will lead one of the five CoPs.
  • Contribute to the development of the WeObserve toolkits (T3.1) and MOOC (T3.2), and participate in capacity development activities and road shows (T3.3)
  • Help to forge strong links with GEO (T4.1) and the OGC (T4.2) and participate in the Copernicus pilot (T4.3)
  • Lead the activity on identifying where COs can contribute to SDGs (T4.4)
  • Help to develop the Dissemination, Exploitation and Communication Plan (T5.1) and contribute to the knowledge platform (T5.2)
  • Contribute to the hackathon and help to organize the workshops, events and the final WeObserve conference (T5.3)