• 3rd Summer School of Sustainability

    3rd to 8th July 2016

    Location: University of Reims, France


    The University of Reims hosted a Summer School on the Governance of Socio-Ecological Systems (SES), which is a rapidly emerging issue in many environment related disciplines and especially sustainability science. The GOSES Summer School was organized jointly with SENSE (Netherlands Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment). This is already the third edition of this very successful Summer School.

    This edition brought together 24 scholars (4 pre-docs, 14 doctoral candidates, 4 young scholars, 2 practitioners) from 14 countries (France, The Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Nepal, People’s Republic of China, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States) who work on the governance of socio-ecological systems at different levels, from local to regional to global, and from different perspectives, including ecology, biology, geography, planning, political science, international relations and the emerging discipline of sustainability science.

    For the first time, the program of the GOSES Summer School featured not only in situ observation of a socio-ecological system nearby, but also attempted to perform participatory research on the sustainability of this socio-ecological system with the support of local scholars, practitioners and citizens.

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    Final Program

    The final program of the GOSES Summer School is out! It contains all details about contents, organization and logistics.

    Please download it here

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      The course will take place in an environment that favors mutual learning, exchange and conviviality, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Champagne. The GOSES Summer School is composed of three modules, a fieldtrip and a final seminar. The specific topics of each module are the following:

      1. Sociological approaches;
      2. Epistemic approaches;
      3. Integrated approaches.

      Each module lasts a full day and is composed of two sessions:

      • Morning session: interactive lectures;
      • Afternoon session: parallel workshops:
      1. Research seminars;
      2. Abstract development;
      3. Methods lab.

      Each participant is expected to attend the morning lectures, as well as present and discuss his or her research and abstracts in the afternoon workshops. The fourth day will be dedicated to a fieldtrip and to participatory research. The last day will be devoted to a final seminar, which is aimed at wrapping up lessons learnt from the GOSES Summer School, identifying the cutting edge of research on the governance of socio-ecological systems and discussing the way forward.


      The GOSES Summer School is hosted by the University of Reims at the Robert de Sorbonne University Library, which is a beautiful, cutting-edge venue. It will start on Sunday 3 July in the early afternoon and finish on Friday 8 July 2016 in the late morning. It is planned so to allow most participants to arrive and leave Reims the same day. The final conference will be held at the inspiring, ancient Library of the College of the Jesuits, which is now part of the new campus of Sciences Po in Reims.


      The GOSES Summer School fees will cover all standard expenses except travel to Reims. Participants will be hosted in a CROUS student residence ( Lunch will be provided at the venue. Local transport will be ensured using public transportation. 

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        Socio-Ecological Systems

        A socio-ecological system consists of a bio-geophysical unit and its associated social actors and institutions (Glaser et al. 2011).

        There is a large number of scholars that are currently working on socio-ecological systems. The analysis of the governance of socio-ecological systems is frequently problematic. The GOSES Summer School aims at addressing this emerging challenge. We expect that this will attract scholars working along the lines of Elinor Ostrom’s integrated diagnostic approach. The Summer School is also expected to appeal to those researchers who focus on global and regional environmental governance, and those who come from structuralistic and rationalist scholarly traditions, as well as constructivist and critical ones. This Summer School will be an opportunity for much needed cross-fertilization among scholars employing different approaches. 

        Levels of governance

        Concerning the level of governance, we expect most participants to be primarily interested in the local or regional level with regard to specific resources or sectors, but the research of those looking at the planet as a socio-ecological system itself could also provide interesting perspectives. 

        Also known as

        Human-environment systems (HES) - Coupled human and natural system (CHANS) - Bio-geographical provinces - Environmental regions - Ecoregions - Bioregions - Georegions - In Dutch: Sociaal-ecologisch systeem - In French: Systèmes socio-écologiques (SSE)

        Examples of socio-ecological systems

        Fisheries - pastures - forests - parks - landscapes - food systems - irrigation schemes - aquifers - river basins - regional seas - mountain ranges - oceans - atmosphere - some endangered species

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          Three modules in the morning – four hours each with a coffee break for each module:

          1. Sociological approaches: SES governance from a regime perspective;
          2. Epistemic approaches: knowledge and power in SES governance;
          3. Integrated approaches: analysis of the sustainability of SES governance systems.


          Three types of workshops in the afternoon facilitated by established scholars and young researchers – three hours each with a coffee break for each workshop:

          1. Research seminars: presentation of the participants’ research projects to small groups and discussion led by a scholar;
          2. Abstract development: small groups of young researchers present and discuss their abstracts;
          3. Methods lab: initiation to qualitative and quantitative methods applied to socio-ecological systems, including modelling.


          Participation in a fieldtrip to the Ardennes, which are a beautiful, transboundary socio-ecological system nearby and performance of participatory research on the sustainability of this socio-ecological system with the support of local scholars, practitioners and citizens. Based on the outcomes of this fieldtrip, a research paper will be drafted jointly by interested participants and leading faculty with the aim of submitting it to peer reviewed scholarly journals such as Environment & Society and Natures Sciences Sociétés for publication. 


          Participation in a final conference on the governance of socio-ecological systems, which is aimed at wrapping up lessons learnt from the GOSES Summer School, at identifying the cutting edge of research on the governance of socio-ecological systems and at discussing the way forward. High level guest scholars and practitioners will deliver keynote presentations. This conference will be held at the inspiring, ancient Library of the College of the Jesuits, which is now part of the new campus of Sciences Po in Reims.


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            • University of Reims, France
            • HABITER Research Lab, France
            • SENSE, The Netherlands
            • Earth System Governance Project, Sweden
            • Sciences Po, Reims Campus, France 
            • Regional Natural Park of the Ardennes, France
            • UNESCO International Hydrological Programme

            The GOSES Summer School is a contribution to IHP-VIII.

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              Speakers, Lecturers, Instructors, Discussants

              • Alice Aureli, International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO
              • Alice Baillat, Sciences Po, France
              • Olivier Barreteau, IRSTEA, France
              • Jon Marco Church, University of Reims, France
              • Michael Cox, Dartmouth College, United States
              • Roxane de Flore, University of Reims, France
              • François Gemenne, University of Liege, Belgium
              • Elizabeth Haber, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
              • Sandra van der Hel, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
              • Virginie Joanne-Fabre, University of Reims, France
              • Leonardo Orlando, Sciences Po, France
              • Kari de Pryck, University of Geneva, Switzerland
              • Jetske Vaas, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

              Scientific Committee

              • Liliana Andonova, Graduate Institute of Geneva, Switzerland
              • Jörg Balsiger, University of Geneva, Switzerland
              • Frank Biermann, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
              • Michael Cox, Dartmouth College, United States
              • François Gemenne, Sciences Po, France

              Organizing Team

              • Jon Marco Church, University of Reims, France (coordinator)
              • Ad van Dommelen, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
              • Nicolien van der Grijp, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
              • Sébastien Piantoni, University of Reims, France
              • Stéphane Ondo Ze, University of Reims, France
              • Eliane Rutaganira, University of Reims, France
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                Practical Information

                Costs and Fees

                The tuition fee covers all standard costs related to the GOSES Summer School, except travel, dining and accommodation. Those submitting their inscription after the deadline will pay full tuition. Each participant is responsible for his or her own travel to Reims. The organizers found a convenient accommodation solution at the CROUS student residences and put together a convivial dining package, including a vegetarian option and a formal dinner, at a student friendly price. All participants are of course most welcome to join in, but participants are free to dine independently and find their own accommodation, if they prefer. Local transportation, the fieldtrip, coffee breaks, lunches, planned drinks and the cultural program are free of charge for all enrolled participants. The accommodation and dining packages need to be paid in advance.

                • Tuition: 300 euros (early bird) - 350 euros (full price)
                • Accommodation: 150 euros
                • Dining: 100 euros

                The following payment methods are available through the online system:

                • Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, CB)
                • Bank transfer
                • Chèque (French cheques only)
                • Bon de commande (France only)

                Getting there

                By air

                The best connected airport is Paris Charles de Gaulle, which is only 30 minutes away by direct high speed train (TGV). Concerning other airports in the vicinity, Paris Vatry, Paris Beauvais, Paris Orly and Brussels Charleroi are quite far away and connections are not very convenient.

                By rail

                The city has two major train stations: Reims Centre and Champagne Ardenne TGV. There are direct trains not only to Paris, which is only 45 minutes away, but also to Bordeaux, Dijon, Lille, Metz, Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg. The two stations are connected to each other through a local train and a direct tramway that runs across the city.

                By car

                Reims is located at the crossroads of the A4-E50 (Paris-Strasbourg) and A26-E17 (Calais-Troyes-Dijon) highways. It is situated at about 140 km from Paris (1.5 hours), 215 km from Brussels (2.5 hours) and 480 km from Amsterdam (4.5 hours). For those arriving from The Netherlands, this is usually the most convenient solution.

                If you are considering carpooling, the organizing team will be happy to put you in contact with other prospective participants from the same area. Of course, other common carpooling services may also be available.

                Visa support

                Once enrolment is confirmed, the organizers of the GOSES Summer School can issue letters for visa support upon request, but the responsibility for obtaining visas and all other documents necessary for traveling to France rests solely with the participants. The organizers decline any responsibility in this regard.

                Refund policy

                If, for any reason, you enroll in the GOSES Summer School and change your mind or you cannot make it, please let us know as soon as possible. Any cancellation received by 6 June 2016 will result in the full refund of your tuition, dining and accommodation fees at no cost except banking fees or differences in bank exchange rates. For cancellations received between 7 and 20 June 2016, we will be in a position to refund only dining and accommodation fees. The organizing team is not in a position to make refunds for cancellations received on or after 21 June 2016.


                Unfortunately, the organizers are not in a position to offer scholarships to attend the GOSES Summer School. However, scholarships may be available from your university, government, as well as a host of private organizations, foundations and generous individuals. The organizers strive to maintain costs at an affordable level and ensure the highest value-for-money possible.

                ECTS credits

                A certificate will be delivered at the end of the GOSES Summer School. Together with the program, this can normally be used to obtain 2 ECTS credits from your university. Please consult the international relations office of your university for more information regarding specific procedures.

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                  If you are interested in attending, you must inscribe yourself as soon as possible. Inscriptions are on a first-co-me first-serve basis. The deadline for inscriptions is 6 June 2016, but inscriptions may be closed at an earlier date if full capacity is met. Your enrolment will be confirmed upon receipt of your payment. Those who have already pre-registered please notice that you need to go through the inscription process and submit your payment in order for your participation to be confirmed. Inscriptions must be submitted on the following website:


                  Deadline: 6 June 2016

                  Organizers reserve the right to refuse the enrolment of prospective participants if they do not qualify as predocs, doctoral candidates, postdocs or young scholars, if their payment is missing or in case of dishonest behavior.

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                    Contact Information

                    If you have any question about the GOSES Summer School, our Organizing Team is at your disposal.


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