The study of current sustainability challenges and possible solutions benefit from approaches originating in complexity science. Different environmental and social crises are intrinsically interlinked, and show characteristics of complex systems such as delays, tipping points, causal feedback and path dependencies. ERASME Jean Monnet Excellence Centre on Sustainability is organising a pilot summer workshop on the use of complexity science for sustainability research.

Programme description

The workshop will bring together a group of advanced graduate students and a small faculty for an intensive two-week study of sustainability challenges and quantitative complexity tools. From Sunday the 1st of August to Friday the 13th of August 2021, ERASME will immerse the students in the world of complexity science for sustainability. 

The primary goal of the summer workshop is to assist graduate students and early career researchers pursuing research agendas which include a computational modelling component towards analysing and addressing complex sustainability challenges. The focus of the workshop lies on advancing the students’ personal research projects. At the same time, the students will learn about the general characteristics of sustainability challenges from a complexity viewpoint, and how complexity sciences and various computational modelling approaches can be applied to address them. 

Advanced graduate students are encouraged to apply with a research proposal. The proposal should describe an ongoing project or research idea in which quantitative approaches from complexity science are used to analyse sustainability challenges. During the workshop a team of mentors from different backgrounds is available to support the graduate students in moving their projects forward. The workshop program also includes lectures and seminars by experts in the field of complexity science applying methods to face sustainability challenges. 

Tuition fee

The tuition fee is 1200 Euros, including food and accommodation but excluding travel. Accommodation is offered in shared rooms, single rooms are available at additional cost, please contact us if you need a room by yourself.

Students are encouraged to seek financial support for tuition from their home institutions, funding organisations, departments, or other sources. ERASME is happy to provide supporting information about the summer school to accompany such requests or applications. ERASME provides a limited amount of tuition assistance based on an individual’s need and merit and subject to the applicant showing they have been unsuccessful in securing external funding. In that case, please contact us. Women and Minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

Application instructions

Send your application materials (one page research proposal, CV, motivation letter and one recommendation letter) to

The application deadline is the 25th of April, 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified within two weeks from the application deadline. If the Corona situation does not allow international travel and physical gatherings, we will cancel the summer school this year. If this is the case, it will be communicated within two weeks from the application deadline.


The Summer School on Complexity Science for Sustainability will take place in Laschamps, a small village in the Auvergne Volcano Area, close to Clermont Ferrand, France. This event will run in parallel to ERASME’s Summer School on System dynamics, with common networking events planned by our organising teams. Both summer schools will only take place if COVID regulations allow in-person participation. A decision on whether this is possible will be taken at the end of April 2021. Read the call for applications here: