Required participant qualifications

Participation in the course is competitive. The school is open to participants from governmental, non-profit, and academic institutions who wish to further their skills in understanding, modeling, and managing ecosystem services. Regardless of disciplinary background, each prospective candidate should possess the basic skills outlined below. 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 the school by e-mail before application to discuss potential limitations on use of the software.

Required participant qualifications

The school and its underlying modeling platform is technical in nature, so participants should be skilled, active practitioners of environmental science and modeling. Candidates with a special interests in the fields of ecoinformatics and integrated computer modeling should contact us by e-mail to discuss the school’s fit to their interests. The following should be intended as minimum requirements. Each participant must:

  1. Bring a recent laptop running a 64-bit operating system (Windows, Macintosh or Linux) with good hard drive storage and RAM (4GB minimum, more preferred). The software used in the school is not compatible with a 32-bit architecture. Please contact the school by e-mail with any questions on the adequacy of the hardware.
  2. Be conversant in the mainstream literature on coupled human-environmental systems.
  3. Have basic geographic information system (GIS) skills. Familiarity with open source packages (e.g. Quantum GIS) is an added value.
  4. Have good understanding of basic environmental modeling. Knowledge of system dynamics, integrated assessment modelling, agent-based modelling, etc. is an added value.
  5. Have robust mathematical and statistical skills. Familiarity with Bayesian modeling is an added value.

We expect most participants to be actively working in the field of ecosystem services and to be able to formulate a problem, collect basic data, and evaluate results.

As academic titles do not always indicate applicant qualifications, we do not impose requirements on your level of formal instruction. However, most participants will hold degrees at the M.Sc. level or above.

Because we teach a highly interdisciplinary field, we encourage qualified applicants from diverse quantitative disciplines (environmental science, engineering, computer science, economics, policy sciences, social science) to apply.

The course will be held in English and full language proficiency (spoken, read, and written) is expected. Case study proposals for non-English speaking contexts are acceptable, but all teaching and assistance during the course will be conducted in English.

Application process

To apply for the school, prospective participants must submit 1) their full CV, 2) a 1-page letter of intent detailing their interest in modeling and rationale for participation in the course, and 3) a 1/2-page description of how they plan to use the modeling skills taught in this course in future research or applied environmental management work (this could include a short description of a case study or general research areas of interest for applying ecosystem service modeling). The documents should accompany the completed application form which can be accessed here.

Upon acceptance, successful applicants may be contacted individually to define research goals more precisely to ensure a good fit with the school.