Initiated through a common endeavour of the University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems and the Complexity Science Hub Vienna a transatlantic cooperation-platform was launched over the year 2020/2021. It develops scientific contributions to solutions for complex societal challenges based on a systems science approach. 

In spring 2020 under the impression of the COVID-19-crisis and the first lockdown on Austria, a transatlantic group of researchers gathered online to discuss pressing societal challenges made visible by the pandemic. This original core of the "COVID-Group" was founded by a network of researchers from Danube University, Arizona State University, the Medical University of Vienna, the World Climate Forum and Harvard University. 

The group of european and US scientists established under the impact of the current events found an appropriate format in weekly online meetings and began do develop common projects, publications and activities reflecting on current challenges and developments. 

What started out as a loose platform for co-working and exchange developed into a permanent institution. The original group expanded, encorporating experts for mineral resources (Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg) and social evolution (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research) was elevated to the status of a "Transatlantic Research Lab on Complex Challenges“ early in 2021. 

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 future real world problems. 

To this purpose the Lab has established a cooperation with the Decision Theatre of Arizona State University and published common results in notable journals. 



Brenda Bierman Brenda Biermann
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School 
Carlo Jaeger

Carlo Jaeger
Global Climate Forum 

Eva Scherhammer Eva Schernhammer
Medical University of Vienna
Gerald Steiner Gerald Steiner
University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems
Guido Caniglia Guido Caniglia
Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research
Jakob Weitzer Jakob Weitzer
Medical University of Vienna
Lukas Zenk Lukas Zenk
University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems
Manfred Laubichler Manfred Laubichler
Arizona State University, Santa Fe
Martin Bertau Martin Bertau
Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg



  • Caniglia, G., Jaeger, C., Schernhammer, E. et al. COVID-19 heralds a new epistemology of science for the public good. HPLS 43, 59 (2021).
  • Weitzer, J., Papantoniou, K., Seidel, S. et al. Working from home, quality of life, and perceived productivity during the first 50-day COVID-19 mitigation measures in Austria: a cross-sectional study. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2021).
  • Schernhammer E, Weitzer J, Laubichler MD, et al. Correlates of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Austria: trust and the government [published online ahead of print, 2021 May 5]. J Public Health (Oxf). 2021;fdab122. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdab122
  • Steiner, G.; Zenk, L.; Schernhammer, E. Preparing for the Next Wave of COVID-19: Resilience in the Face of a Spreading Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4098.
  • Zenk L, Steiner G, Pina E Cunha M, Laubichler MD, Bertau M, Kainz MJ, Jäger C, Schernhammer ES. Fast Response to Superspreading: Uncertainty and Complexity in the Context of COVID-19. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 27;17(21):7884.
    doi: 10.3390/ijerph17217884.
  • Steiner, G.; Geissler, B.; Schernhammer, E.S. Hunger and Obesity as Symptoms of Non-Sustainable Food Systems and Malnutrition. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 1062.

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

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