PhD Summer School 2011

Adaptive management in relation to climate change

NONAM PhD course organised in association with FIVA


The PhD course is organised by the Nordic Network for Adaptive Management in relation to Climate Change, NONAM, in association with FIVA, the International Research School of Water Resources. The organisers are:

  • Jens Christian Refsgaard, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS (Course Leader)
  • Hans Jørgen Henriksen, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS
  • Adriaan Perrels, Finnish Meteorological Institute, FMI
  • Sigrún Karlsdóttir, Icelandic Meteorological Office, IMO
  • Frederik Uldal, International Research School of Water Resources (FIVA)


  • Kasper Kok, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Louise Eriksson, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Matt Hare, Seecon, Germany
  • Jens Christian Refsgaard, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS
  • Hans Jørgen Henriksen, GEUS
  • Adriaan Perrels, FMI


The course will give 5 ECTS credits. This assumes that students have read some material beforehand and hand in a brief written report at the end of the course.


August 22 - 26, 2011


Geocenter Copenhagen, Østervoldgade 10, Copenhagen, Denmark

Registration deadline

April 30, 2011.

For details see Registration.


Adaptation to future changing climate poses enormous challenges for societies, both for designing and implementing technical infrastructure modifications and for changing societal priorities as well as people’s attitude to risk, ethics and basic values. Decision making in relation to climate change is complex in several respects. First of all, assessment of climate change effects involves large uncertainties. Hence identification of robust decisions is often difficult. Secondly, some of these uncertainties can be quantified statistically, while others can only be characterized qualitatively. Finally, decision making in a changing world requires consideration of consequences of events in economical and political terms, probabilities of these events, people’s risk perception, and willingness to change this. Therefore adaptive management is truly multidisciplinary with uncertainty, stakeholder involvement, risk attitude and possible future developments (scenarios) as key elements.

The PhD course will provide a thorough introduction to adaptive management and present the participants for methodologies and tools related to the four key areas:

  • scenario building
  • stakeholder involvement
  • risk attitude
  • uncertainty assessments

The course will comprise a combination of lectures and exercises. The exercises will be based on two case studies, one on water resources management and another on a national road sector. The different aspects of adaptive management are distributed among student groups, so that they collectively cover the entire adaptive management procedure. Each group will study one aspect of adaptive management in detail by using specific tools introduced in the lectures. Groups report back to plenary on the use of these tools and attempt jointly to arrive at integrating the different tools into an adaptive management methodology.

The target group for the course is PhD students with an interest in adaptive management in relation to climate change. In addition, young researchers and professionals with interest in the topic may also benefit from following the course.

Course program

The program for the PhD course is available as a pdf file (0.02 Mb).

Further information

  • The course is limited to 25 participants studying or employed in the five Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark).
  • Preference will be given to PhD students and next to postdocs. If free places are available the course is also open to other professionals working in the subject area.
  • Attending the course is free of charge.
  • NONAM will provide accommodation for PhD students near the university free of charge. Participants are requested to cover travel expenses and daily allowances from their own funding. Other participants are requested to make their own arrangements.
  • Applicants are requested to send applications before the above deadline. The applications must include a brief description of their PhD/research project and a recommendation from their supervisor supporting their participation. Participation is applied for at FIVA's web-site.The applicants will be informed of the acceptance shortly after the registration deadline.

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