Workshop Description


Workshop 1: Climate change and climate engineering
Schepanski (TROPOS), Tegen (TROPOS)

The idea and thus the history of climate engineering goes back to 1877, when Nathaniel Shaler, an American scientist suggested to reroute the Pacific’s warm ocean current to raise the Arctic temperature as much as 15°C. More recent ideas discuss approaches controlling weather and reducing the impact of climate change. The latter is often referred as “climate engineering” and particularly addresses the reduction of solar radiation and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to alleviate the effects of climate change.
The complexity of climate change and related mitigating, adaptation and climate engineering approaches strongly demands the collaboration among various research disciplines involving Earth and climate science, ecology, economy, social, law and political sciences to elaborate a topic highly relevant to the global population as all-encompassing as possible.The structure of the workshop aims at engaging the participants to actively discuss different aspects, opinions and hypotheses of climate engineering following a brief introductory overview on the thematic in the beginning. In preparation for this workshop, participants are expected to read the beforehand distributed literature and to give thoughts on aspects of climate engineering.
This workshop explicitly invites participants from all disciplines. On the basis of scientific publications and governmental assessments different perspectives on climate engineering ideas will be discussed.
Workshop 2: The Art of Survey Design
Stadtmüller (GESIS), Ehlers (FZB)
Within the field of public health, gaining information about beliefs, attitudes or socio-demographic characteristics of various target groups (e. g. doctors, patients) is sometimes crucial. If researchers want to know, for instance, why doctors prefer certain therapies over others, or why patients do not comply with their treatment, or what the barriers to health care provision are for specific groups, it is inevitable to ask them.
Nowadays, standardized surveys are widespread in science, marketing or in the media. This is partially due to the fact, that the victory of the internet has facilitated the creation of surveys and the achievement of quick responses enormously. Accordingly, much more people than in the past think of themselves as mastering the art of survey design. However, the quality of most surveys as well as the data they yield is far from being acceptable. That may have contributed to the trend of lower response rates in representative surveys of the population.
The question our workshop addresses is therefore, how to conduct surveys properly, comprising the formulation of survey questions and the provision of answering options. Furthermore, the workshop aims to consider aspects of the adequate survey mode (face-to-face, mail/written, phone or web), sampling issues (e. g. random vs. convenient samples) and the field of nonresponse (consequences and ways to reduce it).
The workshop targets PhD students or Postdocs who plan to conduct a survey within their research project. Participants are asked to submit a short proposal in advance in which they sketch their research question and the target group(s) of their survey as well as some ideas about survey mode and sampling strategy (at least 500 words). Moreover, participants should deliver at least ten questions (together with answering options) of those variables that are crucial for their research question. Out of all submission, the lecturers will select three projects that are discussed in more detail during the session.
Workshop 4: Citizens and science: does citizen science enhance professional science?
Hofer (IZW)

In this workshop we will discuss the potential opportunities and pitfalls of engaging - as professional scientists - with members of the general public to conduct scientific research projects. These include people interested in a topic, stakeholders (such as patients) who have "interest-driven" science as their focus and politicians who wish to see more societal relevance of the research topics which professional scientists engage in. If we do this, will science - particularly basic science - be undermined? What happens if we do engage other people in "citizen science"? And if we work with stakeholders, how do we persuade them that seeking the truth is at the forefront of our minds rather than satisfying their particular interests?  We will discuss these using examples from the past and then design a citizen science project for infection research which hopefully can address these limitations.
Workshop 6: Challenges to and challenges caused by infectious agents in the 21st century
Greenwood (IZW), Grossart (IGB), Schaible (FZB)
Infectious diseases can be spread and transmitted in various ways among and to animals. Every method of transmission imposes constraints on and presents opportunities to pathogens. The challenges and adaptations to them likely drive the incredible diversity and rapid evolution of microorganisms. A holistic approach across disciplines is required to better understand transmission dynamics and to achieve optimal infection control strategies. Biomedical, evolutionary, ecological, socio-economic and political aspects all need to be considered. In this workshop,

  • We will introduce you to the Leibniz Research Alliance Infections 21 and its focus on pathogen transmission ways from individual to individual, by air, by vector and by water. 
  • We will explore what challenges pathogens face in being transmitted by each route and also the non-pathogenic communities of microorganisms that influence them for example the various microbiomes which appear to protect the organism from harmful microorganisms.
  • We will examine evolution and diversity of selected microorganisms
  • We will explore host-pathogen conflicts that can arise and the various evolutionary outcomes that result
  • In small groups, we will explore these challenges including simulation of outbreaks to illustrate for example, how hard it is in fact for pathogens to successfully cause epidemics or pandemics.

This workshop targets PhD and Postdocs interested in any aspect of infection biology and particularly those with an interest in either learning about or incorporating ecological and evolutionary approaches in their research.