Research Assistant (Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program)

Vienna, Austria 🇦🇹

Vacancy 24/2016 – IIASA’s program on Risk and Resilience (RISK) is offering a position to carry out applied research within its project on Flood Resilience.


The mission of the Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program is to contribute to transforming the way societies manage risks to economic, ecological, and social systems while confronting the global trends that are amplifying these risks. The program examines environmental and socio-economic interactions across multiple scales, providing the analytical foundation for improved management and governance of natural disasters, climate change, and technological and ecological transitions. Our specialty is applying advanced methods for assessing and analyzing risks and uncertainties, and designing risk governance processes, to improve policy outcomes on global change issues, such as extreme events, renewable energy investments, economic development and environmental degradation.


The work to be performed would largely form part of the Flood Resilience Alliance Project, which is funded by Zurich Insurance and carried out in partnership with Zurich, the Wharton School Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, Practical Action and the International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Alliance work addresses research gaps on flood resilience and community-based disaster risk reduction, demonstrates the benefits of pre-event risk reduction over post-event disaster relief, identifies innovative interventions and aims to improve public dialogue around disaster resilience.


The successful applicant will support the ongoing work of the Flood Resilience Alliance with a specific focus on measuring resilience and applying innovative crowdsourcing tools for assessing vulnerability and risk.

Specific tasks of the successful applicant include:

  • Support with statistical analysis of an innovative approach for measuring community-level resilience
  • Further development and application of crowdsourcing tools for assessing vulnerability and risk at community scales
  • Contribute to the socioeconomic analysis and modelling of risks (building on IIASA’s CATSIM model)
  • Publish (single and co-authored papers) in relevant journals/books and other media (e.g. press, internet)
  • Present research results in international fora.


The successful applicant should have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in economics, statistics, geography or other relevant field. There is potential for integrating the research with PhD studies. It is highly desirable that the applicant has an understanding of the literature regarding current issues related to disaster risk management, climate change and resilience. Knowledge of both quantitative (e.g. statistics, modeling, GIS, risk analysis, stochastic simulation) and qualitative (e.g. interview techniques) research methods is essential. Finally, strong English language communication and writing skills are necessary, and proficiency in other languages is welcome.

Appointment Terms:

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, near Vienna in Austria. The incumbent will be expected to undertake some travel. 

The position is full-time and the successful candidate will be offered an initial appointment until June 2017, with the possibility of extension thereafter. The salary level will depend upon educational background and demonstrated work experience.

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package (moving and settlement allowances, educational grants for children of school age, and five weeks’ annual vacation). IIASA salaries are exempt from taxation in the host country of Austria but subject to the principle of income aggregation.

IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants who are nationals of IIASA member countries.


To apply, please email a cover letter, curriculum vitae or résumé, up to two recent examples of research work, and the names and addresses (including title, affiliation, e-mail, and telephone number) of two work-related references (please do not send or include a photograph) to:  

Ms. Alia Harrison, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources Department,
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA),
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
E-mail: [email protected]

Review of applications will be ongoing and continue until the post has been filled.