An Ambitious New International Cooperation: Changing Our Approach to Global Challenges

The University of Koblenz-Landau and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have signed an agreement on cooperation. Both institutions aim for a strategic partnership on the international advancement of systems thinking in education, research, and knowledge transfer.

Staff from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Koblenz-Landau (UKOLD) met for the announcement of the agreement. Photo: University of Koblenz-Landau

Staff from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Koblenz-Landau (UKOLD) met for the announcement of the agreement. Photo: University of Koblenz-Landau

The new agreement on cooperation between the University of Koblenz-Landau and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is ambitious. It aims at changing our approach to global challenges like climate change, environmental pollution, sustainable development, land and water use, population growth, resource exploitation, ecosystem management, as well as uncertainty, risk management, and resilience. “Our two institutions are united in recognizing that, around the world, these issues are still predominantly analyzed in isolation, without sufficiently accounting for how they are embedded and interconnected in broader systemic contexts. These types of problems are therefore too large and complex to be solved by a reductionist approach, a single academic discipline, or individual countries.” says Program Director Dr. Ulf Dieckmann, who has helped develop the strategic partnership from IIASA’s side.

Through their strategic partnership, IIASA and the University aim at developing and disseminating research-based tools for advancing systems thinking around the globe. These will be used for the training of scientists and students as well as the transfer of knowledge to decision-makers in society and the general public. Systems thinking can enhance conclusions and recommendations for action on global challenges. It offers a more holistic approach by analyzing the dynamic interactions between key elements of an issue over extended periods and as an interrelated system. As a first step, both partners will distill the essence of systems thinking into basic didactic modules that can be adapted to different target groups. Other international organizations have already expressed their interest in joining this initiative.

The Memorandum of Understanding for Scientific and Technical Collaboration between both institutions arose from a series of mutual visits since November 2016. It was now concluded by an exchange of the signed document. “IIASA is a powerhouse when it comes to the data-driven systemic analysis of key global problems. The University will use access to this expertise to boost the international scientific relevance of its systems thinking program. In turn, the University of Koblenz-Landau has extensive and research-based know-how in pedagogy, ranging from pre-school to adult education. Access to this expertise will help IIASA to explore new ways in its capacity development program.” emphasized Prof. Dr. May-Britt Kallenrode, the President of the University.

The Partners

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is a non-governmental international research organization funded and governed by national scientific organizations. It is located in Laxenburg, near Vienna in Austria, and has 22 members in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, representing industrialized countries as well as emerging and developing countries. The institute has about 450 employees and research associates, who are nationals of about 50 countries. IIASA is conducting interdisciplinary scientific studies on environmental, economic, technological, and social issues in the context of human dimensions of global change. The Institute provides scientific insight and guidance to policymakers worldwide, offering solutions to global problems through applied systems analysis. IIASA cooperates with the University of Koblenz-Landau to extend and enhance its capacity development activities on training and knowledge transfer to various target groups.

The University of Koblenz-Landau is a public institution of higher education in Germany. It has about 16,000 students and two campuses in Koblenz and Landau in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The University emphasizes its mission of teaching, research and knowledge transfer at the interdisciplinary interfaces of its three core themes: learning, society and environment. In line with this prioritization it launched a first systems thinking project in 2016. Its traditional strength is in teacher training and educational research. The University cooperates with IIASA to enhance the global relevance and international scope of its system thinking activities.

 

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Date of news Sep 04, 2018 03:00
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