Research Assistant (Risk and Resilience)

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Vienna, Austria
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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The Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program at IIASA aims to better understand the risks to economic, ecological, and social systems arising from global change and to help transform the ways in which societies manage them. Society needs to make effective responses to the risks associated with global change. To that end, scientists must understand the systemic and dynamic linkages of environmental, social, and economic risks and how these are impacted by different policy measures. This will enable risk management and governance systems to improve in order to facilitate long-term sustainable development. Systems analysis, risk modeling, and transformative governance are fundamental to the mission of Risk and Resilience (RISK). The Program examines environmental and socioeconomic risks and policy options across multiple spatial and temporal scales to provide an analytical foundation for improved management and governance of natural disasters, addressing climate change, and ease the technological, social and ecological transitions and transformations to sustainability.

The position:

The RISK Program is offering a full-time position (40 hours per week) for a Research Assistant to work on the Flood Resilience Project. The Flood Resilience Alliance project is a unique partnership for informing transformational change for dealing with the large and increasing burdens that flood risks have on lives and livelihoods across the globe. IIASA brings in hard and soft systems science insight for understanding, measuring and shaping flood resilience in communities as well as providing decision support for enhanced investment at national and global levels to build resilience. The research is innovative in the design of robust, user-accepted and -friendly policy support, which in collaboration with INGOs and the private sector critically informs the implementation of and advocacy for portfolios of measures that contribute to building resilience. A special focus of the work has been on developing and applying the Flood Resilience Measurement Tool (FRMC) in more than 100 communities around the globe. 

Main Tasks and Responsibilities:

The successful applicant will support the ongoing work in the Flood Resilience Project with a specific focus on decision-making on risk and resilience, policy analysis and advocacy, as well as project management. Specific tasks and requirements of the successful applicant include:

  • Examine methods and metrics for innovative decision-making on risk and resilience in the flood risk space,
  • Assess the role of transformational risk management,
  • Contribute to research on financing mechanisms for flood resilience,
  • Contribute to building bridges across the science-policy-practice interface on resilience, including supporting the organization of relevant workshops and meetings,
  • Support the engagement with Flood Resilience partners and support project coordination,
  • Co-publish in academic journals and co-write policy-relevant reports and briefings.

Required Skills and Qualifications:

  • Relevant university degree in economics, geography, policy studies or similar
  • Excellent research, writing and communication skills
  • Experience with science-policy interactions, including policy briefs
  • Strong organizational skills (project meetings with research partners)
  • Strong coordination skills (coordinating project outputs and publications with other research partners),
  • Fluency in English (written and verbal), proficiency in other languages is welcome.

Appointment Terms:

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg (near Vienna), Austria.

The successful candidate is expected to begin their assignment by January 2019, and will be offered a full-time employment contract for one year initially. Following successful evaluation of the first years work, there will be the possibility of an extension thereafter. 

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 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.