Reaching out to the IIASA constituency
The Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program’s strategy for engagement with the IIASA science and policy communities include a focus on a few high-level international science and policy initiatives and the dissemination of results from its research activities on various open source web-based platforms. To respond to growing demand for targeted capacity building, the program experimented with a new format in 2017, with three interactive research seminars held in China and India.
Given its small size, the TNT Program relies on a few high-level high-visibility international fora, and science and policy initiatives to disseminate research findings and to engage at the science-policy interface. Key partners at the international level include the United Nations, the World Bank, and in particular the Global Environmental Facility, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative in which the program actively participates, involves more than 30 partners and collaborating institutions. Individual collaborations with researchers involved in ongoing TNT research, involve institutions from multiple countries including Austria, China, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, UK, and the USA.
Documentation of the program’s research output is achieved through the IIASA online publication repository PURE, as well as a number of other online resources. The community-service database tools jointly managed by TNT and the IIASA Energy (ENE) Program, and spearheaded by Peter Kolp, have become a hallmark of the institute’s mission of supporting scientific research, documentation, and dissemination, and provide the widest possible outreach with limited in-house resources. The use of TNT online tools and the TNT-ENE community service data bases, has grown exceptionally and is fast approaching 100,000 unique visitors and four million page downloads, which represents 54% of all internet downloads for the institute in 2017.
In order to respond to a growing demand for more targeted capacity building outside of the IIASA premises, three interactive research seminars were held at collaborating institutions in China and India in 2017. The events combined a classical seminar format aimed at disseminating conceptual and methodological advances achieved at IIASA with interactive discussion sessions where local researchers presented ongoing research projects for feedback, and explored potential collaboration opportunities. Organized by collaborating or partner institutions in member countries, local seminar participants were selected through a competitive application process. IIASA and the local collaborating or partner institutions jointly developed the overall themes for each event. The workshops held in 2017 comprised a two-day seminar on the topic “Modeling Technological Change” at the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai; a five-day seminar titled, “An End-use Perspective on Transitions” at the Centre for Policy Research in New Dehli; and a one-day seminar on the topic “Energy Transformations and SDG Linkages” at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai.