The Transatlantic Research Lab on Complex Societal Challenges was launched on September 30, 2021. It goes back to an initiative during the early beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, led by the University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems, Faculty of Business and Globalization, Department of Knowledge and Communication Management, and the Medical University of Vienna, Center for Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, in alliance with the Complexity Science Hub Vienna.Over the subsequent months, it developed scientific contributions to solutions for complex societal challenges based on a systems science approach. 

In the spring 2020, under the impression of the COVID-19-crisis unfolding and necessitating first lockdowns across the globe, a transatlantic group of researchers began to regularly meet online to discuss pressing societal challenges that might ensue from pandemic mitigation measures. The original core of the "COVID-Group" included its founders (Steiner, Schernhammer, Zenk) and researchers from Arizona State University, Santa Fe Institute, Harvard University, and the World Climate Forum.

What started out as a loose platform for scientific exchange and collaboration, developed into a permanent weekly working format. The original group expanded, incorporating experts for mineral resources (Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg) and social evolution (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research) and was elevated to the status of a "Transatlantic Research Lab on Complex Challenges“ on September 30, 2021,-  the concluding day of the first Global Transdisciplinarity Conference organized by Steiner and colleagues in Krems, Austria.

The Lab aims to apply interdisciplinary and systems science-based approaches to complex challenges through common research- and publication endeavours of the participating scientists, in order to provide scientific contributions to present and future societal real-world challenges.
To this purpose, the Lab has recently made an effort to incorporate transdisciplinarity and complexity science methodologies such as the Decision Theatre of Arizona State University.


Gerald Steiner

  • University of Continuing Education Krems

Eva Schernhammer

  • Medical University of Vienna

Manfred Laubichler

  • Arizona State University, Santa Fe

Martin Bertau

  • Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg

Guido Caniglia

  • Core Facility Konrad Lorenz Research Center for Behavior and Cognition

Brenda Birmann

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital und Harvard Medical School

Lukas Zenk

  • University of Continuing Education Krems

Jakob Weitzer

  • Medical University of Vienna

Emilie Han

  • Medical University of Vienna

Dina A. Ziganshina Lienhard

  • Arizona State University


An initiative of the University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems and the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) Vienna

Gemeinsames Logo Donau Uni CSH

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