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Deadline: 15 January 2023

Program Director

The Program Director (PD) will lead BNR, one of our six research programs, to bring research vision, innovation, leadership, and strategic positioning to the program and head four research groups, each managed by a Research Group Leader.


The BNR Program fully exploits the potential for integrated natural resource assessments by bringing together different elements of land and aquatic ecosystems including agriculture, forests, bioenergy, fisheries, biodiversity with water and the marine environment. This research is aimed at informing global and regional land-use and resource policy assessments and provide robust science-based knowledge and foresight for evidence based policy making.

The program establishes IIASA as an international community hub for biosphere related research through innovative tool development; to lead the integration of biophysical-economic modeling with governance and population assessments; to engage with stakeholders; and to facilitate community driven policy interventions. It provides evidence for policymaking through core program and group specific research undertaken in the four BNR research groups.

The program delivers its research objectives through the following four well defined research groups: Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE), Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation (BEC), Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF) and Water Security (WAT).

BNR further engages in multilateral collaborations with other IIASA research programs and groups at the institute on key cross-cutting themes such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, the green economy, resilient food systems, energy options, transboundary governance, resource depletion, population demographics and migration, as well as digital transformation.

The position

The successful applicant will work closely with the IIASA Executive and other program directors to develop further the vision for the BNR Program, broadening the current research portfolio to support institute-wide cross-cutting research activities. Through high level, goal-oriented management and effective advocacy, they will ensure that program objectives are met, and aligned with the IIASA Strategies and values. Additionally, the PD also collaborates with other IIASA programs/groups with the aim of strengthening the institute's ability to attract and satisfy the ambitions of our membership organizations and external funders through interdisciplinary scientific excellence and innovative and trend setting research.


  • Bring leading and excellent research through personal research contributions to the IIASA BNR landscape.
  • Engage in external grant raising activities, effectively manage relationships with funders and act as ambassador for IIASA with research partner institutions, Member Organizations, other international organizations as well as governmental and research funding agencies from across the world.
  • Provide exemplary leadership in line with our IIASA-values for diverse and multidisciplinary teams and ensure the effective development of employees and teams.
  • Attract highly qualified researchers and employees through proper and efficient workforce and project planning.
  • Ensure dissemination of innovations in research methods and findings by maintaining and developing international and in-house cooperation, and research networks.
  • Ensure institutional obligations such as open access to data, models, publications, and repositories are met.
  • Coordinate allocation of the internal budget and external contracts across the program and attract external research funding
  • Contribute to the science-policy discourse, as well as participate in scientific assessment and advisory panels.


  • PhD or equivalent scientific qualification with a track record of excellent publications and scientific output and experience in a research leadership and/or staff management position.
  • Recognition as a leading, internationally respected scientist in key focus areas of the BNR Program; experience interacting with global, international, and national institutions as well as policy and decision makers; a sound global network and participation in relevant international expert committees.
  • A team player, able to work in and have respect for an intercultural environment and IIASA core values.
  • Demonstrated innovative, critical thinking, familiarity with systems analysis, in particular soft systems approach.
  • Significant demonstrated experience and a proven track record in attracting international research funding.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills including full fluency in the English language.

appointment terms

IIASA is offering an initial appointment term of five years as program director to the successful candidate. This may be renewable for a further term of five years subject to an evaluation by the IIASA Executive. 

At the end of the first term as a program director, the successful applicant can opt to join the science track at IIASA.

A full-time appointment is strongly preferred.

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

It is foreseen that the selected candidate will take up the position by March, 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter). 

WE offer

The successful candidate will be appointed in accordance with the IIASA profiles for research careers. The salary is exempt from income tax in Austria and negotiable, based on the qualifications, skills and experience of the selected individual. 

In addition, IIASA salaries are:

  • 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).
  • 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, irrespective of gender, 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 Member Organization.

Further Information

For further information about this opportunity please contact:

Prof. Wolfgang Lutz, Interim Deputy Director General for Science.

For further information about employment at IIASA, please contact: