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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Summer School 2017: Exploring current trends, discussions and methodologies in research on human-environment relations

IRI THESys is hosting its Summer School 2017 on human-environment-relations

The Summer School has been cancelled!


Research on human-environment relations is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. Various and often quite different disciplines spanning natural, social and human sciences engage in research focusing on how humans live in, affect, govern, reflect upon and perceive their natural environment, and how, in turn, that environment supports or constrains human life and culture. A multiplicity of methods, epistemologies and even ontologies thus intermingle in human-environment research. How well do these integrate to enable (truly) interdisciplinary research?

At the Integrated Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems, researchers from the humanities, social and natural sciences challenge each other in order to collaborate, develop and potentially solve research questions revolving around current transformations of human-environment systems. The PhD Summer School Exploring current trends, discussions and methodologies in research on human-environment relations is part of this agenda.

The Summer School will bring together scholars and PhD students from different disciplines. The scholars will be asked to present their personal as well as general disciplinary understanding of what a ‘human-environmental relation’ is. This understanding has implications for how research on human-environment relations is done in different disciplines. The scholars are therefore encouraged to link their personal and disciplinary understanding of human-environment relations with how they go about exploring these.

By providing the students (and invited scholars) with epistemological and methodological insights into how different disciplines engage with human-environment relations the Summer School hopes to provide

1) a better understanding of how different disciplines understand a ‘human-environment relation’,

2) how they go about researching it,

3) ways to identify and understand differences between disciplines, and

4) ways to identify common and complementary research topics and methodologies cutting across disparate disciplines.

The latter objective is a particularly important component of the Summer School. A major challenge for interdisciplinary research is the difficulty of developing research questions around which different disciplines can collaborate. It is our hope that the Summer School will equip the students with knowledge on how to think about and develop such questions.

Programme (download)



Application - Extended deadline: 09 June 2017

Applications are invited from highly-motivated doctoral researchers, working in fields such as geography, environmental science, anthropology, development studies, agricultural science, political science, institutional economics and applied philosophy, conducting research on human-environment relations.

The fee for the THESys Summer School is 425 € including material, lunches, coffee breaks and one diner. This will be payable two to three months (June/July) before the start of the summer school. 

Required documents for your application are:
  •       Application form (download)
  •       Letter of Motivation (download)
  •       Curriculum Vitae

Please send your application documents by email to kathrin.klementz@hu-berlin.de by 09 June 2017 at 9pm GMT. Applications received afterwards will not be considered. Places are limited, so recruitment will be by refereed selection. We let you know the outcome of the selection process by end of May.


Staying in Berlin
The City of Berlin is still very busy in September, and short-term accommodation can be hard to find and expensive. Successful applicants to the THESys Summer School will be provided with a list of reliable accommodation sources. It will be important for you to make your accommodation booking as soon as possible after you have been informed of the success of your application.


Jonas Nielsen
Photo: Jonas Nielsen

Scientific Coordinator


Prof. Dr. Jonas Østergaard Nielsen, Research Group Leader
Phone: +49 (030) 2093-66341
E-Mail: jonas.ostergaard.nielsen@hu-berlin.de


Kathrin Klementz
Photo: Kathrin Klementz


Kathrin Klementz, Graduate Program Coordination
Phone: +49 (030) 2093-66346
E-Mail: kathrin.klementz@hu-berlin.de