Potsdam Summer School 2015

Potsdam Summer School 2015 – Facing Natural Hazards

The second Potsdam Summer School is calling for applications!

Under the overarching theme “Facing Natural Hazards”, this interdisciplinary and interactive event running from 14 – 23 September 2015 will continue the Potsdam Summer School series held annually in Potsdam, Germany. The aim is to bring together early-career scientists and young professionals from academia, governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations, as well as the private sector from all around the world in order to discuss frontier research questions related to a sustainable development of the future. In this context, the summer school will provide a unique opportunity for all participants to foster and enhance international cooperation and exchange of ideas.

Participants will grasp different aspects of disaster risk management. Based on selected examples for natural hazards, we want to focus on the complete chain from risk and vulnerability analysis over preparedness to mitigation and resilience. The summer school aims to link innovative methods of Earth, Environment and Sustainability research with applications of hazard knowledge in politics and administration. Building on Potsdam’s expertise, we would like to decipher what kinds of actions are necessary for individuals, public authorities and governments to be able to cope with natural hazards?

In partnership with the City of Potsdam, the 2015 Potsdam Summer School will be jointly conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute – Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the University of Potsdam. Experts, stakeholders, and guest lecturers from national and international institutes and organizations will contribute high level knowledge to the Summer School programme.

The focus of the second Potsdam Summer School will be “Facing Natural Hazards”. Against the backdrop of global change, a growing population and the increase of urbanisation have an enormous impact on vulnerability and exposure to hazards, and thus on risk and risk mitigation. An intense ten-day programme will explore the various risks and the very different methods to minimize risk, generate awareness, mitigate the impact to cope with natural disasters. Issues addressed will include:

Natural Hazard Monitoring

  • Examples for Geological and Meteorological Hazards
  • Cascading Effects
  • Modeling and Forecasting

Evaluating the Risk

  • Risk and Damage Mapping
  • Vulnerability and Exposure
  • Risk Modeling

Culture of Prevention

  • Education and Training
  • Contingency and Rescue Plans
  • Establishment of Warning Chains
  • Reaction and Evacuation

Defining the Framework

  • Insurance and Investments
  • Good Governance
  • Legal Framework
  • Involvement of Different Stakeholders

These issues will integrate a multitude of natural and social science disciplines and will foster the involvement of stakeholders from the public and private sector. The programme will comprise lectures, various discussion formats, field trips, and interactive project activities – including hands-on demonstrations, workshops, and group projects.

The entire summer school will be conducted in English.

The organising partners are looking forward to applications from young professionals from various backgrounds to discuss with us the challenges and options to be prepared in case of a natural hazards. The call procedures will start on April 01 2015. The deadline for submitting full applications will be May 31, 2015. For further inquiries, please contact or visit


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