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ISES - International School on Energy Systems by Forschungszentrum Jülich

From August 28th to September 2nd 2016, Julia Marx participated in the ISES International Summer School on Energy Systems, organized by the Forschungszentrum Jülich at the Kloster Seeon. The participants were an interdisciplinary group of master students, PhDs, post- docs and young professionals from industry and international Organizations from all around the world with background in energy technology, energy economics and energy policy.

The Science school dealt with the challenges of existing energy systems, of the emerging sustainable ones and with transformation processes required for more sustainability. Besides engineering topics, the participants looked at the integration of social practices, institutional arrangements and actor constellations. Focus was given on System analysis and the integration of different sectors and levels with the aim to avoid harmful trade-offs. Multidisciplinary criteria for the assessment of energy determinants of future sustainable energy systems were presented, i.e. Integrated Assessment Models like Sustainable and Environmental Impact Assessments and Life- Cycle Assessments. A special focus was given to the nexus between energy, water and food security.

The School consisted of lectures given by speakers from the academia, politics and industry. There were two round tables, one on Energy & Technologies and another one on Energy & Development. After each input, there was time for student contributions and discussions.

Each participant prepared a poster related to his research to be exhibited throughout the week. Julia Marx' topic focused on the land, water and food security nexus: "Land grabbing and its controversial role for food security". The coffee breaks served as networking opportunity to get in touch with the authors of the posters. Julia Marx learned much about different energy technologies and got to know a participant from Ghana working for a company that buys land for biofuel production in Ghana and is directly involved in large scale land acquisitions.

Every evening there was space for a group work related to the different sectors that take part in the Energy Transition. The results of the group work were presented at the last day. Julia Marx' group work dealt with the public sector's role in a transition towards sustainable energy systems.

One of the mayor outcomes of the school was that there is not one energy system, as the world is diverse in terms of energy supply and that there will not be a single solution that fits all. The group was trained in adopting a holistic system perspective which consists of a multidisciplinary assessment of ecological, economic and social factors.

As the actual energy production together with other unsustainable practices constitutes the mayor drivers for Climate Change, there is a very direct and practical relation to Global Change Ecology. Julia Marx can definitely recommend this school for anyone interested in energy systems and system science. It will not be a problem for you if you don't have an engineering or technical background, as you will have the opportunity to exchange with many researchers focused in this field.

Text und Bild: Julia Marx

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