Summer school

Joint ESSA / DeSIRE Summer School 2021 "Agent Based Modelling for Resilience - Making it happen!"

Important notice:

Due to the Corona situation the summer school has been delayed until 2021. Also, the summer school is transformed into an online format. Updates will become available in January 2021.


"Agent Based Modelling for Resilience - Making it happen" is the joint ESSA / DeSIRE Summer School aimed at working on resilience of complex systems, varying from engineering systems to social systems to ecological systems. It follows up on the successful ESSA summer schools in Wageningen in 2015 and 2017. During the week of June 22 to 26, 2020, five mixed teams of up to six people (i.e., up to a maximum of 30 participants total) will each work on delivering an operational Agent Based Model (ABM) simulation aimed at addressing a specific research question regarding resilience. You will learn about the development of an ABM and using it for the description and analysis of resilience of complex systems. You will learn how to implement an ABM in NetLogo, analyse it using R, and how to conceptualize and quantify resilience. On the last day, the teams will present the results of their work to an academic audience.

For whom?

This summer school is primarily intended for PhD students, academics, R&D people from industry, and people working on the interface of academia and policy making, interested in Agent Based Models and resilience of coupled social-technical-environmental systems, regardless of specialization. We actively seek cross-fertilization between research fields and between academia and industry.

Where and When?

The summer school will take place online. More information will become available in due time.


The summer school will consist of several online talks and workshops, while teams of participants will work on a particular case using ABM for a resilience application. Speakers for the cancelled 2020 summer school will need to be reconfirmed, and were:

How much?

We still need to decide what to do with the fees. If at all there is a fee, it is expected to be low. Please contact us via the address mentioned at the right for more information.

How to apply?

If you are interested in participating, you can send your resume and a short motivation why you want to participate and what you hope to learn from this to We have not yet set a submission closure deadline.

Resilience – making it happen! The title has multiple meanings.

Politically and culturally, our world is fragmented. For survival, all societies are linked through their common environment. Planet Earth and its inhabitants are one system, under threat of climate change and its consequences. We urgently need to learn to manage this system. The time is here to create a society that is based on resilience. Resilience is the capacity of a system to maintain or recover certain functions while undergoing shocks and pressures. It emerges from the many interactions between people and natural and/or artificial system components, and the capacity of people to adapt. We work on food security, flood protection, continuous energy supply, sustainable cities, and so forth. All these topics involve aspects of resilience. We need to involve other people in our resilience thinking, build a community of resilience thinkers. Hence this summer school: making the resilience community happen. We invite you to participate.

Talking about resilience is one, but doing things with it is two. Resilience is a nontrivial, emerging property of the social systems we study, whether they are cities, agri-food systems, electrical grids, or otherwise. People have an active role as autonomous, decision-making agents in all these systems. Whether we are managers, policy-makers, or citizens, we cannot just force the systems we intend to govern into a resilient regime. We first have to understand not only the technical and natural aspects of these systems, but also the human side. This includes psychological, behavioural, sociological, economic, and institutional aspects. Without an understanding of systems as complex adaptive systems, we cannot hope to properly govern them or create the needed resilience. To implement your ideas about resilience you have to construct models that are capable of describing these agents and simulating the emerging resilience. Hence this summer school: by means of simulating with agent-based modelling we are making resilience happen.