The Potsdam Summer School 2023 is calling for applications – Responsibility & Ethics in Sustainability Science

The Potsdam Summer School 2023 is calling for applications – Responsibility & Ethics in Sustainability Science

Responsibility & Ethics in Sustainability Science

The Potsdam Summer School 2023 is calling for applications – Responsibility & Ethics in Sustainability Science

We experience an age of constant and rapidly accelerating change in natural and societal living conditions. The human footprint has become so profound that humanity is among the most decisive factors influencing the development of the Earth system.

Human-induced climate change is often portrayed as the most substantial factor, but there are others for example the loss of biodiversity on a scale unprecedented in recent history.

The more complex the challenges become, the greater the role of science becomes in dealing with it. Politics and society seek expert solutions from scientific research, but this does not produce universally valid societal truths. Should science and scientists be truly neutral and objective, particularly when it comes to defining what is sustainable and what is not?

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To what extent do scientists need to question their own values, and what is the responsibility of the individual scientist here? Are they simply providers of knowledge, or should they be working towards a specific goal – and how should that goal be defined?

The Potsdam Summer School will be about reflecting on one´s own responsibility, on the responsibility of scientific institutions, the mechanisms, and systems in which they work. In addition we will explore the underlying foundations of research and whether explicit or implicit approaches are needed.

Ultimately, every scientist is also a person who is affected by global change. The different roles a scientist can assume – as a researcher, an advisor to others, or a private citizen – are blurring. If global crises seem insurmountable and the consequences perhaps catastrophic, are there still borders which scientists should not cross in their research, or would the end justify the means?

The Potsdam Summer School will deal with two major blocks of questions:

  • What is the social responsibility of the scientific community? How do ethical standards and social responsibility of science relate to the idea of freedom of science? How to deal with the danger that science can be instrumentalised by third parties? Which values, interests and mindsets determine which research is conducted?
  • How far does the responsibility of individual scientists go and to whom are they responsible? Should they strive to contribute to the transformation towards sustainability or should they concentrate on producing evidence-based knowledge and leave the conclusions to politics and society? Do scientists have to develop other patterns of communication in order to fulfil their role in society?

With its overarching theme – Responsibility & Ethics in Sustainability Science” – the 9th Potsdam Summer School will continue the transdisciplinary and interactive series of events that has been held annually in Potsdam, Germany since 2014.

The aim of the Potsdam Summer School is to bring together talented early-career scientists working in the field of sustainability. In addition, it is open to people from outside of academia interested to learn more about these questions.

Our goal is to improve science awareness and to help develop informed opinions and enhance the transferable skills of current researchers and practitioners.

Participants of the Potsdam Summer School will be engaged in discussions and group works and will be provided with tools to develop effective strategies to solve the challenges they face in their daily work, while also gaining a comprehensive perspective and overview surrounding various aspects of responsibility in science towards a sustainable transformation.

Experts, stakeholders, and guest lecturers from high level national and international institutes and organisations will contribute knowledge and insights to the Summer School programme.

In partnership with the City of Potsdam, the 2023 Potsdam Summer School will be conducted by the University of Potsdam, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS).

The call for applications has started on March 01, 2023. The deadline for submitting completed applications is on Sunday May 21, 2023, at 23:59 UTC.

The entire programme will be conducted in English.

We are looking forward to receiving applications from young professionals from various backgrounds.




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Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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