Dr. Stefan Kienberger
Dr. Stefan KienbergerSenior Scientist

Research Interests


  • Integrated Spatial Indicators

  • Spatial Analysis
  • Earth Observation


  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessment

  • Disaster Risk Reduction

  • Climate Change Adaptation

  • Public Health

About myself

My motivation for my applied research is to bridge the social and ecological divides we are currently facing at global and local levels. I aim to achieve this through the development of new concepts, methods and tools to capture complex and multi-dimensional phenomena (such as risk and vulnerability) through systems thinking and in a spatial-explicit manner. Ultimately, this aims to support decision makers and the society at large, to make better informed and aware decisions. Application domains include disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, public health and the wider humanitarian domain.

I have undertaken applied research in a number of different African, Asian, Latin American and European countries. My work is framed by internationally funded research projects and includes collaborations with UN agencies and NGOs.

I am senior researcher at the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg in Austria where I coordinate the research area ‘Integrated Spatial Indicators’ (ISI). In 2016 and 2017 I was seconded as a senior expert to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and its Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER).

My academic and educational journey began with an MSc in ‘Environmental System Sciences – Geography’ from the University of Graz, Austria and Macquarie University, Sydney – Australia and continued with a PhD in Geography from the University of Salzburg. Recently it continued with a one year transformative program at the Schumacher College, Totnes (UK) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan.

I was active in lecturing at the University of Salzburg (MSc Geography, BSc Geography and the UNIGIS distance learning program), Carinthia University of Applied Sciences and the University of Tübingen in Germany until recently.

Next to my direct engagement at the University of Salzburg, I am regularly working as a consultant for the UN, private organisations and research organisations.

I take great personal satisfaction from the exchange with others. I have been invited to, participated in and organised a number of different international conferences and workshops. Dedicated research stays include countries such as Mozambique, Rwanda, Kosovo, Uruguay and France.

I publish my research results in internationally peer-reviewed journals, as well as editing books and journals. Next to these traditional academic outlets, I aim to transfer my knowledge and insights by direct engagements with users and through capacity building activities.