Dr Gansen Pillay, Deputy-CEO of RISA, has been appointed as the Deputy Chairperson of the International institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Council in Austria.
The International institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an independent, international scientific institute established in 1946 that conducts policy-oriented research into grand challenges or problems that are too large or complex to be solved by a single country. IIASA has 26 member countries representing 71% of the world’s economy and 63% of the world’s population (http://www.iiasa.ac.at/)
Since South Africa’s membership to IIASA during 2007, a range of research collaboration and capacity building activities have been developed by IIASA and more than twenty South African research partners.
A prominent aspect of the development of the IIASA and South Africa engagement was the launch of the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP), spearheaded by Dr Pillay, that has developed system analytical research skills of more than 80 doctoral students from 30 countries including 35 students from South Africa during 2012-2014. In June 2015 the NRF concluded a MoU with IIASA.
In direct response to the success of the SA-YSSP, the Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa officially launched the Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC) during 2016. SASAC, co-hosted in South Africa by the Universities of the Western Cape, Limpopo, Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch, provides an opportunity for young, emerging doctoral candidates to advance their research under the supervision of senior IIASA and South African researchers/scientists, and at the same time contribute to the development of a globally competitive science system.
South Africa’s coordination with IIASA is led by a National Member Organisation (NMO), comprised of representatives of the NRF and DST, senior academics, and other stakeholders. The NMO Committee also contributes to the national strategy of developing systems analysis capacity and establishing systems analysis as a research approach in the country.
Dr Pillay has in-depth international experience, professional and scholarly credentials, and a long-standing engagement with IIASA. In addition, the innovation and insight he has brought to IIASA on a variety of transformation aspects will further contribute towards the effectiveness of this global organisation.