Potsdam Summer School 2021 – Water: Our Global Common Good – The Hydrosphere across Land and Sea

Due to the ongoing pandemic situation it has been decided to conduct it as an online event.

This summer school will provide its participants with a comprehensive perspective and overview of the relevant aspects when dealing with the hydrosphere. They will be engaged in discussions and group works and will be provided with tools to develop effective strategies in order to deal with the challenges they face in their daily work.

Image: Pxhere, CC0

The aim of the Potsdam Summer School is to bring together talented early-career scientists and young professionals operating in the private sector, governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations from many different parts of the world to discuss frontier (research) questions on future sustainable development.

Experts, stakeholders, and guest lecturers from high level national and international institutes and organisations will contribute knowledge and insights to the Summer School programme. The programme will comprise lectures, various discussion formats, and interactive group work activities.

During this summer school, people will learn about the influence of the state of the hydrosphere on humankind and vice versa. People will discuss local, regional and global challenges in order to gain a better understanding of the state of the hydrosphere. Within the programme people will focus on three major aspects:

Too much

  • Heavy precipitation
  • Flooding
  • Sea level rise

Too little

  • Extreme droughts
  • Exploitation of drinking water

Too bad

  • Pollution
  • Accessibility
  • Sanitation

People will merge expertise from various scientific disciplines and perspectives from societal stakeholders. Since the sharing of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertiseis highly relevant to find answers to the global grand challenges, the following questions will guide the ten-day programme:

  • What do people know – and don’t know – about the role of the hydrosphere within the earth system?
  • Who are stakeholders and actors in terms of hydrosphere services?
  • How can multiple perspectives be merged into integrated strategies?
  • What can be done on a local, regional and global level?
  • How can people prevent political conflicts?
  • How can scientists address audiences from all societal areas?


  • Drinking water
  • Earth system
  • Extreme events
  • Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
  • Rainfall
  • Sea level

In partnership with Geo.X and the City of Potsdam, the 2020 Potsdam Summer School will be jointly organised by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the University of Potsdam.
Languages: English