About the ISU

The ARIES team is leading the development of advanced methods to quantify and value the flows of services that ecosystems provide to society. We encourage potential ARIES model users and developers and advanced modelers with experience using other approaches to apply. Instruction will cover basic and advanced modules according to the participant interests.

During two weeks of intensive instruction, both the theory and practice of integrated modelling are covered: participants learn how to effectively model social-ecological systems of different scope and scale. Using the latest ecoinformatics research, including a high-level modeling language (k.IM) and infrastructure (k.LAB) that supports the integration of data and models with different modeling paradigms, participants will learn to:

  1. Describe socio-economic problems, data, and models using a common language that allows their integration and reuse.
  2. Build data and model components to address the peculiar needs of specific case studies.
  3. Find and use missing model components in the ARIES model base, covering much of the biophysical and socio-economic problem area, so that highly complex problems can be addressed with a minimum of new work.
  4. Share the results on a semantic network for use in other integrated modeling applications.

Skills learned range from GIS-driven statistical analysis to complex agent-based models of coupled human-natural interactions. Scholars and IT experts from around the world will help participants independently write, run, and analyze coupled human-environmental models and scenarios. The school will tackle key modeling questions related to integrated vs. stand-alone modeling tools, semantic modeling, ecosystem service quantification, and how to promote data interoperability. Techniques to integrate ARIES with existing models (written in Java, R, Python, etc.) will be also discussed.

We typically accept 25 participants from governmental, non-profit, and academic institutions. Scholarships may be available for exceptional applicants from developing countries. Participation is competitive and will be evaluated by the school’s scientific board. All software, skills, and materials obtained during the school will remain available to participants indefinitely for not-for-profit use. Prospective participants from the private sector are welcome to apply, but should contact us by e-mail before applying to discuss potential limitations on commercial use of the software.

Participants will have the option to continue their interaction with the ARIES network to benefit from and contribute to one of the largest public repositories of ecosystem services models and data. The school also serves as an entry point for participants to join the ARIES community platform, which provides a means of sharing their own ARIES projects/models online, together with a set of communication and collaboration tools, such as issue management, live chat, and model documentation tools.

We expect that most participants will bring a case study and data to describe it and will leave with a developed framework tailored to their case study, along with the knowledge needed to build a working solution. Upon acceptance, the school’s scientific board will contact each participant to discuss the specific problems they wish to investigate during the course. Based on the interests of  accepted applicants, a limited number of thematic groups will be identified, and the participants with similar proposed problem areas will be grouped. In addition to daily plenary instruction and discussion, each group will be assisted by a dedicated instructor and teaching assistant.