Photo: A. Künzelmann, Graphic Design: G. Dreßler

The International Summer School “Modelling Food Security”

for PhD students and postdocs will take place from September 8 to 14, 2019 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig, Germany. It is jointly organised by the UFZ, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).


Achieving food security in a changing and globalized world remains a critical challenge, especially for the most vulnerable parts of the world’s population. In a context of competing claims on land resources, the food security challenge requires innovative solutions to reduce trade-offs with environmental objectives. Success in this endeavour can be supported by insights obtained from science-based modelling of the complex interactions across global to household scales, and across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Course Contents

The objectives of this summer school are threefold. You will:

  1. Obtain an introduction to different modelling approaches, some operating at a global scale (e.g. agro-economic food system models, global vegetation models) while others focus on the local scale (e.g. farm-level crop models, agent-based approaches).
  2. Learn in practical workshops and exercises about the potential, but also about limitations of the different approaches.
  3. Work in teams to develop your own coupled stylised models that integrate different aspects of food security and bridge different spatial scales.

Please circulate the PDF version of this announcement in your networks or place it as a poster in your institution.


We invite you to apply for the course by filling out the online form by February 28, 2019. The number of participants is limited to 18. Participants should have previous experience in modelling/coding in a high-level programming language (such as R, C++, or Java). We will work in R during the summer school.
Application Form


Benjamin Bodirsky, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Gunnar Dreßler, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Birgit Müller, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Christoph Müller, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Mark van Wijk, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)


The summer school is locally organised and financially supported by the BMBF-funded Junior Research Group POLISES at the UFZ.
If you have any question, please write us: