Exceptional young scientists awarded


IIASA is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) awards. The awards provide financial support for three exceptional young scientists to return to IIASA for an additional three months of research.

The Peccei and Mikhalevich awards are given annually for extraordinary papers from the previous year’s YSSP cohort. The Peccei award is named in honor of IIASA alumnus Aurelio Peccei and recognizes policy-related research, while the Mikhalevich award, named for IIASA alumnus Vladimir S. Mikhalevich, is aimed at mathematically and methodologically oriented research. This year, the institute has also introduced an additional IIASA Special YSSP Award to recognize outstanding work by participants.

Candidates are nominated by the program director of the relevant IIASA research program and assessed by a committee comprised of one member from each research program. Each candidate’s paper is evaluated based on its quality, originality, and relevance. The final decision is made by IIASA Director General Albert van Jaarsveld.

Melissa Chapman © M Chapman

The winner of this year’s Peccei Award is Melissa Chapman from the University of Berkeley, USA, for her study: “Meeting 2030 biodiversity targets under land use constraints in the EU”. Chapman worked under the supervision of IIASA researchers Martin Jung and Piero Visconti in the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program.

Xander Huggins © Xander Huggins

Xander Huggins from the University of Victoria and the Global Institute for Water Security in Canada, has won the Mikhalevich Award for his study: “Global archetypes of groundwater interactions in social-ecological systems”, which he undertook under the supervision of Taher Kahil and Amanda Palazzo in the Water Security Research Group of the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program.

Romain © Romain Clercq-Roques

The winner of the newly established IIASA Special YSSP Award is Romain Clercq-Roques from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK for his study: “Coupled dynamics of biodiversity loss and undernutrition in eastern Madagascar: a participatory agent-based model”. Over the summer, Clercq-Roques worked in the IIASA Strategic Initiatives Program where he was supervised by Marta Kozicka and Katya Perez-Guzman.

In addition to the three award winners, Dipesh Chapagain from University of Bonn in Germany and Hyun-Woo Jo from Korea University, Korea, also received honorable mentions for their research.

Chapagain was jointly associated with the IIASA Advancing Systems Analysis and Population and Just Societies programs where Reinhard Mechler and Samir KC oversaw his study on: “Understanding the role of climate change in disaster mortality: Empirical evidence from Nepal”. Jo was recognized for his study on “Optimization of the IIASA FLAM model to represent forest fires in South Korea”, which was overseen by Andrey Krasovskiy and Florian Kraxner in the Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program.

“The YSSP pushes each one of the participants to produce substantial research that helps them in achieving their PhD objectives,” says Fabian Wagner, Dean of the IIASA Capacity Development and Academic Training Unit. “The work of the award winners stands out in quality and maturity. Congratulations on this fine achievement.”

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