Governance and compliance
IIASA was established in 1972 as a non-governmental, international, autonomous scientific institution with headquarters in Laxenburg, Lower Austria. The objectives, governance, and activities of IIASA are laid out in the institute’s Charter. Careful compliance with robust policy guides the institute’s progress.
In 2012, a group of volunteers at IIASA—the footprinters—conducted a review of the environmental and sustainability targets at IIASA. The group, a dedicated team of scientists involved in footprint assessment activities, aimed to identify ways to reduce the environmental impact of IIASA, through finding alternative technical and management solutions for sustainability in general and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in particular. The group was established in 2005 and had produced two previous greenhouse gas inventories in 2005 and 2008.
The 2012 report showed that IIASA activities in 2010 had resulted in about 2000 tons of CO2 equivalent, with business travel accounting for about half, followed by heating (27%) and staff commute (10%). Consumption of food and new computers accounted for about 5% together. Following this report, IIASA switched its electricity supply to 100% renewable sources, and hence reduced its footprint by approximately 140 tons CO2 equivalent annually. The footprinters also came up with a number of other recommendations of actions that could be taken to further reduce the environmental impact of IIASA activities.
Because of the nature of IIASA work, a typical researcher is involved in multiple project activities and travels extensively. The amount of business travel increases exponentially for program directors and the Directorate. In 2010 IIASA offset its air travel emissions by carbon credits, and for the 2012 conference IIASA bought emission certificates from the European Carbon Emission Trading System. IIASA additionally invested in an afforestation and development project in Uganda certified to the Carbon Fix Standard in 2012 (to offset IIASA activities in 2010). In 2010, low carbon meals were introduced at the IIASA restaurant, and a detailed analysis of business travel and travelers’ attitudes was conducted. As a consequence of the business travel analysis, video- and web-conferencing equipment at IIASA was upgraded.
Since the 2012 report IIASA has experienced substantial growth and expansion of activities. In 2010 IIASA employed 209 researchers who made 908 business trips, compared to 348 staff in 2016 who made 1,345 business trips. The total flight distance in 2010 was 3.2 million kilometers, growing by over 40% to 4.6 million kilometers in 2016.
This expansion has required a substantial remodeling of IIASA infrastructure and facilities over recent years. The Directorate recognizes the need to work on a proposal for improving the institute’s environmental impact. Therefore, in 2017 IIASA will start to devise operational sustainability targets and policies for the future.
IIASA is legally registered as “Verein” (Association) in Austria with registration number (ZVR-Nr 524808900) and it is subject to the laws and jurisdiction of its host country, Austria. These include all laws typically impacting an organization of similar size., such as:
- IIASA as a “Verein”: Austrian Association Act
- IIASA as an organization with an annual income over €20 million: Austrian Commercial Law
- IIASA as an employer: Austrian Labor Law; Austrian Health and Safety Acts and regulations; Austrian Social Insurance Law including specific agreements for IIASA – see Human resource policy and compliance section) etc.
- IIASA as a publisher and provider of research material: Austrian Media Act; Austrian E-Commerce Act; Austrian Copyright Law; Austrian Intellectual Property Law
- IIASA as a holder of information about people: Austrian Privacy Law; Austrian Data Protection Act
Copyright and data policies
Intellectual property and copyright
IIASA follows the rules and procedures laid out in the institute’s Patent and Software policies. The Patent Policy ensures that any invention made in the course of the research activities at IIASA is used to bring about the widest possible benefits; that the institute gains financially from any commercial exploitation of patents resulting from the use of its resources; and that favorable terms shall be applied in granting licenses to organizations and citizens of NMO countries. The Software Policy defines and protects the intellectual property rights for software that has been developed by IIASA staff, and outlines the processes for commercialization, licensing, and distribution.
IIASA follows the rules and procedures laid out in the institute’s Copyright Policy. This takes into consideration the practices of international journals and publishers, and is designed to facilitate the widest possible dissemination of IIASA results.
Data protection and privacy
As a publisher and provider of research material, IIASA observes the Austrian Media Act; Austrian E-Commerce Act; Austrian Copyright Law; and Austrian Intellectual Property Law. The institute holds a range of information on over 18,500 individuals that have some connection with IIASA and it also mass mails some of these contacts for various purposes, ranging from asking them to attend an event to encouraging them to use IIASA research. The institute therefore observes the Austrian Privacy Law, the Austrian Data Protection Act, and the Austrian Telecommunications Act. In 2016 as part of the roll out of the institute’s new central contact database, it developed a Contact Relationship Management Policy and appropriate training to ensure that all IIASA staff who use the contact database are informed and follow best practices and Austrian law regarding the use of this information.
Data management and archive
The IIASA rules laid out in its policies on Good Scientific Practice and Conflict of Interest provides the institute’s current data archiving standard, which is intended to comply with the expectations of most funders. This ensures that for experimental work, an exact documentation of scientific procedure and results is mandatory, since the reproducibility of results is a fundamental feature of such research. Primary data is secured and stored for a duration of ten years. For model-based work, model specifications and methods of analysis have to be sufficiently documented, ideally in a peer-reviewed publication or its official supplement.