Our people

HR strategy

The IIASA people strategy, Creating a working environment for success – a Human Resources (HR) framework approved in 2019 – details initiatives for creating an enabling environment that reaffirms IIASA as an institute of choice for researchers from around the world.

With the implementation of the IIASA people strategy underway, the Human Resources Department has changed its focus from an administrative support center to becoming a strategic partner for management across the institute.

Diversity and equality

The institute is committed to providing a working environment in which discrimination on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin, age, disability, socioeconomic background, religious or political beliefs, family circumstances, sexual orientation, or any other irrelevant distinction is prohibited.

Training and development

In line with the new IIASA Strategy 2021-2030 and the IIASA People Strategy, 2020 saw the creation of a dedicated professional training and development fund at institute level to support employees with professional training and development activities. In addition to the vast number of scientific training and development activities undertaken by researchers, professional development for all employees plays a significant role in capacity building at the institute and promotes employee performance, engagement, and career progression.

IIASA guidelines and regulations for good scientific practice

The IIASA guidelines and regulations for good scientific practice are intended to help avoid scientific misconduct, conflicts of interest and commitment, while promoting quality science. The institute recognizes its responsibility to nurture an environment of mutual respect, tolerance, and ethical behavior according to the general principles outlined in these rules.

Contracts and administration

On the administration side, the Human Resources Department continues to support staff members throughout their affiliation with IIASA. This includes dealing with staff contracts, compensation and benefits, and advising on employment law and IIASA policies and procedures. The team also provides services in terms of onboarding, housing, and supporting professional training and development.

In 2020, the Human Resources Department conducted an information campaign on the options and consequences of social security and insurance choices to give employees an informed basis for their decisions and to inform them about the various benefits these entail

Performance management

The IIASA Strategy 2021-2030 presents the institute’s commitment to provide an environment for research excellence and supporting staff to reach their full potential, by implementing best practice and fit for purpose operations. This approach is reinforced in the IIASA People Strategy, which has a defined goal of reinforcing performance management at the institute.

An effective process drives a high-performance culture and underpins many institutional outputs including career progression, succession planning, merit increases, and employee retention, and engagement.

An interim soft approach to individual performance evaluation and yearly reviews was introduced in 2020, while a longer-term solution was sourced that would ensure alignment across the institute regarding all performance management factors. A new system will be launched in 2021 that should effectively meet the institute’s future needs and provide support to facilitate performance management activities at IIASA.

Leadership and management

The IIASA People Strategy deems high-quality leaders as key to supporting the institute’s ability to thrive during the coming years and forthcoming periods of significant change. A vital aspect in its success, is the transparent selection of supervisors providing equal opportunity as well as the development of supervisors to deliver effective leadership across IIASA.

With the implementation of the new IIASA strategy 2021-2030, IIASA will see a major organizational change in its scientific programs. The year 2020 saw a large recruitment process to appoint program directors and research group leaders in line with the new structure taking effect as of 1 January 2021. In these new roles, managers will be required to provide research oversight and management for their respective programs and research groups. Through goal-oriented management and leadership they will ensure effective operations and collaborations within their own programs and groups. Furthermore all managers across IIASA will be expected to contribute to the institute’s goals of enhancing diversity; attracting, retaining, and managing the best talent; enhancing career development; reinforcing performance management; and providing inspirational and effective leadership at all levels.

To develop leaders, IIASA invested in formal leadership and management training for managers to expand their core leadership competencies.

The following focus areas were regarded as crucial:

  • Leadership roles and developing unique leadership styles
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Roles and responsibilities (accountability)
  • Legal framework (Austrian Labor law)

Other topics: Communication and feedback, and managing with intercultural sensitivity.


Core values

IIASA has been bringing people from different countries and cultures together to work on common goals since its foundation. As a result, fostering a workplace culture that promotes diversity and inclusion permeates and underscores each of the institute’s core values.