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Research Group Leaders - Population and Just Societies Program

In support of the IIASA Strategic Plan 2021-2030 and its research programs, we invite applications for two Research Group Leader opportunities for 1) the Migration and Sustainable Development (MIG) research group and 2) the Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing (SHAW) research group, both within the IIASA Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) program.


Founded in 1972, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) conducts policy-oriented research into problems of a global nature that are too large or too complex to be solved by a single country or academic discipline. 

IIASA is sponsored by its National Member Organizations (NMOs) in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Its research is independent and completely unconstrained by political or national self-interest.

the population and just societies (POPJUS) program: 

The POPJUS program is one of six IIASA research programs, together with the Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA), Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE), Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR), Economic Frontiers (EF), and Strategic Initiatives (SI) programs. POPJUS has a research agenda that seeks to produce empirical knowledge relevant for transformations towards sustainable, resilient, equitable and just societies, explore people-centric systems solutions for global challenges, and explicitly integrate the concept of equity and justice into the empirical identification of inequality of opportunity, process, and distribution. The program focuses on strengthening the human-centered and population-based approach, taking into consideration equity and the just distribution of opportunities, outcomes, and processes. In doing so, the program builds on existing strengths and expertise in population and human capital modeling as well as expertise in understanding, managing, and equitably governing systemic and existential risks associated with global change.

The program delivers its research objectives through the following four well defined research groups: Equity and Justice (EQU), Multidimensional Demographic Modeling (MDM), Migration and Sustainable Development (MIG), and Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing (SHAW).   

THE migration and sustainable development (mig) research group:

MIG focuses on applying advanced data collection and estimation methods to quantify and better understand the trends, patterns, drivers, and consequences of different types of migration considering its interactions with the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

The novel approaches employed by MIG allows for the production of comprehensive estimates of internal and international migration and its drivers at the global, national, and sub-national level. The group’s research provides comprehensive insight into the social, economic, and environmental drivers of migration considering changes and interactions between the drivers. In particular, the group focuses on investigating the direct and indirect pathways through which environmental changes influence internal and international migration and how the effects vary across geographical locations and population subgroups.


SHAW research activities directly and comprehensively addresses the measurement of human wellbeing in its multiple dimensions with a special focus on health as a key component and social cohesion as a key determinant of wellbeing.

SHAW employs various demographic methods, statistical techniques, and empirical concepts to comprehensively assess different dimensions of good health and wellbeing, while also considering equity in the distribution of wellbeing over time and over the life course for different populations around the world. In doing so, the group aims to develop alternative indicators of wellbeing to effectively measure development progress. The aim is for such indicators of wellbeing to be applied as long-term sustainability criteria that can help to pinpoint vulnerable subgroups of populations for policy priorities. Due to the group’s strong focus on sustainable human wellbeing, particular attention is paid to the feedback of emerging situations such as pandemics, economic crises, and extreme weather events that can pose risks to human health and wellbeing.


The successful applicants will provide research oversight and management, facilitation and coordination functions for their respective research group. Through goal-oriented management and leadership they will ensure effective operations and collaborations within their own groups, as well as across other IIASA groups/programs with the aim of strengthening the ability of the institute to attract and satisfy NMOs and external funders through scientific excellence and innovative and trend setting research.

IIASA Research Group Leaders are expected to entrench IIASA research principles into their groups while ensuring that group/program objectives are met and are aligned with the IIASA Strategy and institute values. Main responsibilities will include:

  • Developing and facilitating research plans for the group in alignment with the program research plan
  • Engaging in business development activities in support of group objectives, and managing the financial activities of the group
  • Identifying human resource needs of the group and supporting career development, mentoring, and growth of colleagues within the research group
  • Organizing frequent, regular research coordination meetings of group scientists (with Program Directors when possible) for direction and brainstorming; giving project presentations at relevant milestones for quality assurance
  • Facilitating inter-group coordination within program or across other IIASA programs
  • Identifying and resolving any challenges being faced within the group and promote teamwork; Ensuring a working environment aligned with the IIASA Values
  • Providing effective group leadership in line with institute values and manage allocated HR responsibilities
  • Supporting the continued engagement of NMOs and strengthening the ability of the institute to attract and satisfy NMOs and other donors through scientific excellence and innovative research.


Scientific excellence, visionary thinking, and management skills in interdisciplinary research and policy applications within an international setting are prerequisites for this position.

In particular, candidates should:

  • Have extensive experience (preferably at least 15 years) in an international and multicultural research or academic environment, inclusive of PhD training, combined with a background in interdisciplinary research, preferably related to demographic research in the contexts of human well-being, equity and global change
  • Have a well-established international reputation and recognition in their field
  • Be cognizant of research opportunities in their field of research and recognize path-breaking solutions to research problems
  • Be able to lead the execution of collaborative research projects
  • Have credible science and team management experience combined with at least five years’ experience in a research leadership or staff management position
  • Have a strong publication and citation profile in leading journals as lead author as well as experience in policy-related analyses
  • Have significant demonstrated external grant raising competencies, also for self-initiated proposals
  • Have strong networking skills with global, international, and national institutions and experience in interacting with policy and decision makers
  • Be able to create an innovative, creative, and nurturing research environment
  • Preferably be familiar with systems analysis, in particular soft systems approaches
  • Have excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills including full fluency in the English language.

The successful candidate must be able to work in, and have respect for, an intercultural environment, and IIASA core values.


appointment terms

IIASA is offering an initial appointment term of four years as research group leader to the successful candidates. This may be renewable for a further term of four years subject to an evaluation by the IIASA Executive. 

At the end of their term as a research group leaders, the successful applicants can opt to join the science track at IIASA.

These appointments will be offered on a full-time basis only.

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg (with the possibility of up to 100 home office days).

It is foreseen that the selected candidates will take up their positions by January 1, 2022 (or as soon as possible thereafter). 


The successful candidate will be appointed in accordance with the IIASA profiles for research careers as a Senior Research Scholar (R3) with a minimum salary of EURO 58,000.00 per annum or as a Principal Research Scholar (R4) with a minimum salary of EURO 77,000.00 per annum.

The advertised minimum salary is:

  • Exempt from income tax in Austria 
  • Negotiable, based on the qualifications, skills and experience of the selected individual
  • Subject to deductions for health insurance and/or social security
  • Not directly comparable with other employers in Austria, due to the unique legal status and privileges granted to IIASA
  • Subject to the principle of income aggregation (Progressionsvorbehalt in German).


  • Educational subsidies for children of school age enrolled in private schools in Austria
  • A generous annual leave entitlement
  • Tax free shopping privileges
  • Moving and settlement allowances and paid home leave for employees in scientific and professional categories hired from international locations (rules apply)
  • The possibility to work up to 100 days per year in home office (within Austria)
  • Assistance for newcomers to Austria with visa, work and residency permit applications
  • Support finding accommodation in Austria



IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce. This is reflected in our Core Values. We encourage qualified candidates from all religious, ethnic, and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants from countries where IIASA has a National Member Organization (NMO).

Further Information

For further information about this opportunity please contact:

Dr. Albert S. van Jaarsveld Director General

For further information about employment at IIASA, please contact: