iDiv Summer School 2018 – Ecological Theory and Modelling for the Biodiversity Crisis

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) will conduct its fourth summer school “Ecological Theory and Modelling for the Biodiversity Crisis” from 20 to 31 August 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. The lead teacher is Henrique Pereira, iDiv Professor and head of the research group Biodiversity Conservation. Please find more information about the theme, contents and further teachers below.

Over a period of two weeks, students will be immersed in a “hands-on” course addressing different topics on biodiversity conservation through modelling and informed by ecological theory.

The course will address different levels of biological organization, from individuals to ecosystems, in a social-ecological perspective. We will consider both how biodiversity change is driven by society (with an emphasis on land-use change) and how society benefits from ecosystem services.

The summer school is aimed mainly at PhD students working on biodiversity topics, but applications from advanced master’s level students and postdocs will also be considered. Please note that basic knowledge of R and GIS is required, as the course emphasizes the development of R programming skills and spatial analysis.

The application deadline for the course is Sunday, 13 May 2018.


Topics to be covered include:

  • Game theory and optimal foraging for habitat selection
  • The dynamics of dispersal in countryside landscapes
  • Monitoring of biological populations and communities
  • Economics of harvesting populations and food webs
  • Land-use scenarios for biodiversity
  • Modelling ecosystem services, designing protected areas for biodiversity and rewilding
  • The biodiversity footprint of nations and tipping points in social-ecological systems.


The programme of the summer school will consist of:

  • Keynote lectures
  • Methodological lectures and exercises
  • Hands-on sessions
  • Working in small groups lead by an experienced researcher
  • Presentation of the results by participants
  • Exchange with iDiv researchers
  • Field excursion


The lecturers and project leaders of this summer school will include the scientific staff of the Biodiversity Conservation group:

Date and venue

The summer school will take place from 20 to 31 August 2018 at iDiv, which is located at the Biocity Leipzig. The site has good transport connections in the immediate vicinity of the university’s natural science campus and the German National Library. It is surrounded by other cutting-edge research centres in the field of biosciences, including the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI). The Leipzig Botanical Garden is also located at a walking distance from iDiv.


As course fee, all participants are expected to pay EUR 150.00. This covers the costs of teaching and materials, coffee breaks, lunch, the excursion, and the cultural programme.

Participants are generally asked to cover the costs of their travel, accommodation and evening meals (except when included as part of the summer school programme).

iDiv is able to offer a limited number of travel grants to cover the full costs of travel and accommodation. Funded positions are primarily aimed at applicants who have limited opportunities to fund their participation via other means.


An excursion will be organised in the course of the summer school. More information will follow soon.

In addition, several joint side events will be offered in the evenings, including a guided city tour and visits to local beer gardens. Leipzig is a vibrant city offering a variety of cultural attractions for those participants who would also like to explore the city on their own.

In general we recommend all participants to prepare with all-weather clothing: sunglasses, hats, and sun cream will be needed, but you should also pack raincoats and a good backpack.


We are currently accepting applications from PhD students! Advanced master’s students and postdocs are also welcome to apply.

Please submit your application via the iDiv application portal at and prepare to include the following information:

1)     Your name, position, home institution and contact (e-mail and video-conference)

2)     A motivation letter describing your research project, how the participation to the summer school is relevant to you and to your career objectives

3)     An up-to-date CV including past and in prep publications

4)     (In case of non-native speakers) proof of proficiency in English, e.g. an official English test result, or if you haven't, you can proof your language skills also with your scientific output, like your M.Sc. thesis, a publication, conference programmes, conference proposals etc.

5)     In case you want to apply for a travel grant (see section “costs”), attach an essay signed by your supervisor, justifying the reasons for the need of the grant in less than 500 words.

The application deadline is Sunday, 13 May 2018, and each applicant will be informed about admission by the end of May. The selection will be done by the Biodiversity Conservation group. In the case of several applications of equally high quality, we may conduct telephone interviews.

The maximum number of participants is 15. The gender and nationality of applicants will be taken into account to maintain diverse participation. Applications from developing countries, in particular from female applicants, will be particularly welcome.

iDiv is a family-friendly workplace, and we offer various support for young families. For the summer school participants, we are able to offer on-site childcare during the daily programme. If you require this service, please let us know when you apply!

20–31 August 2018

iDiv at BioCity Campus Leipzig
Deutscher Platz 5e
04103 Leipzig, Germany

Deadline 13 May 2018

iDiv Online Recruitment Portal:
Questions and queries:

Dr. Nicole Sachmerda-Schulz
yDiv Coordinator

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