Big Global Challenges

In the face of big global challenges, like the financial crisis, the refugee crisis or climate crisis, we have to ask ourselves whether our predominant approaches to analysis and action are sufficient to address the relevant changes and problems. In science in particular, we can see the dominance of fragmented and linear analytical approaches and the courses of action that are recommended based on scientific results are usually also fragmented and incremental.

Can scientists use a sensible alternative approach in their analyses and for formulating recommendations for social actions based on their results? How can they tackle the challenge of complexity that they commonly face? How can they learn and teach such alternative approaches and communicate their relevant findings in public?

Young Scientists can learn about the systems thinking approach in a transdisciplinary manner as well as experience and test it at the Trifels Summer School 2019. As the list of examples shows, the topic systems thinking has long moved from the circles of environmental activists to the area of the mainstream economy and politics.

Systems Thinking as an Action-oriented Approach

In essence systems thinking holds that many individual problems cannot be approached in isolation, because they do not fit academic disciplinary boundaries. System thinking aims at solving particular problems, i.e. at learning from the understanding of a system in order to derive useful options for action.

A system can best be understood as a dynamic process with interdependent internal and external factors. Systems thinking tries to identify few key parameters, including so-called soft facts, and build a useful quantitative or qualitative model of systems. As closed systems are rather rare in our complex world, it is necessary to define appropriate boundaries for any system to be studied.

Experts from several universities and other institutions will teach young scientists the basics and key examples for the application of systems thinking based on contemporary research and developments in international organizations,  A special emphasis will be on the issues of qualitative systems thinking and climate change.

Designed for Young Scientists

If you are a PhD student or Postdoc in the humanities or natural, social or technical sciences, you can participate at the Trifels Summer School 2019. All participants can actively engage in a transdisciplinary dialogue on their research and practice because the interdisciplinary and practice-oriented approach, including among other things playing a serious game (website), fosters such exchanges. All participants will receive the Certificate of the Trifels Summer School at the end.

Up to 20 persons can participate for free, which includes room and board in the Kurhaus Trifels for the time of the Summer School (see Program). Participants only have to cover their travel expenses to get to and leave the venue.

Basis for a participation is a short application (final deadline is 19 August 2019). Be aware that participation is granted on a first-come-first serve basis for all qualified applicants (for more details, see Participation & Contact).