Synthesis II-Workshop „From Dynamics of Structure to Functions of Complex Networks“

From August, 8 - 19 2016 TU Dresden hosted the Synthesis II-Workshop on the topic complex networks in various areas of environmental research. It was organized by CAWR as well as international universities and aimed to promote young scientists regarding interdisciplinary thinking on complex networks as well as the international research cooperation.

Following the Synthesis I-workshops in Seoul (2015) and Lafayette (2016), the Synthesis II-workshop titled “From Dymamics of Structure to Functions of Complex Networks” was hosted at Technische Universität (TU) Dresden from August 8 -19. It was jointly organized by TU Dresden and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) - which together form the Center of Advanced Water Research (CAWR)- in cooperation with the Purdue University and University of Florida.

gruppic Group picture, Copyright: Eike Dusi, TUD The two weeks workshop was introduced by a Kick-Off event with a series of keynote and introductory lectures. Among the almost 80 participants were professors, Senior Scientists, PostDocs, PhD students from various research areas such as land use, hydrology, social sciences, biology and chemistry as well as from different countries as e.g. USA, Australia, Austria and Korea.
The event was introduced by Hans Müller-Steinhagen (Rector of TU Dresden), Peter Krebs (TU Dresden/ CAWR), Dietrich Borchardt (UFZ/ TU Dresden/ CAWR) and Suresh Rao (Purdue University). Andrea Rinaldo (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) gave a keynote lecture on “Networks in hydrologic systems”. The lecture was followed by impulse presentations by Ralf Seppelt (UFZ), James Jawitz (University of Florida), Thomas Berendonk (TU Dresden), Volker Grimm (UFZ), Suresh Rao (Purdue University) and Christian Bernhofer (TU Dresden).

Disk Discussion during the posterwalk, Copyright: Marina Chkolinkov, UFZ The focus of the event was on complex networks of different types as natural, technical and social; how they interconnect in different settings, e.g. in terrestrial or aquatic systems and the impacts of e.g. disruptions on existing networks. Several structure-function relationships between networks and circumstances were discussed and explained in the context of the importance of building and reflecting overarching concepts of networks

The following days after the Kick-Off event, the participants of the different research institutions formed groups to further work on complex network topics. For the content-related collaboration the young scientists identified 6 different interdisciplinary topics of interest:

  1. Trajectories – Pathways in Rivers and effects on water quality & humans
  2. Source location optimization – Rivers, water quality & ecology
  3. Response of water systems in urban drainages
  4. Travel times distribution in urban systems
  5. Disruption and recovery – natural/ engineered/ human network structures
  6. Patterns and responses – climatological patterns and networks and effects on natural and urban systems

Field Trip Field trip to the river Elbe, Copyright: Greta Jäckel, UFZ The Synthesis II-Workshop aimed at strengthening interdisciplinary thinking in terms of the overall topic 'complex water networks', also mediating different interdisciplinary approaches, methods, collaborative working, as well as intensifying the international cooperation between excellent scientific research institutions.

The Synthesis II-Workshop was part of the synthesis-activities at the UFZ and the internationalization strategy of TUD as well as of the joint activities within the Memorandum of Understanding between Center for Advanced Water Research (CAWR), Purdue University and University of Florida. The workshop is also included in the curriculum of the CAWR International Research Training Group (IRTG), in order to promote young scientists in terms of interdisciplinarity.

Marina Chkolinkov, Greta Jäckel & Eike Dusi