The fourth edition of the International Spring University on Ecosystem Services Modeling is being held in Bilbao

The Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) in collaboration with Conservation International and the University of Vermont, organizes the 2016 edition of the International Spring University on Ecosystem Services Modeling.

The International Spring University (ISU) on Ecosystem Services Modelling is the fourth edition of an annual 2-week intensive course that is building a new generation of scientists and policy analysts who can effectively use coupled human-environmental models in research, policy and management to address and solve sustainability problems.

This is the fourth edition of the school and as in the previous editions, applications came from professionals in the field, academics and governmental sectors.

This edition will emphasize the theory and practice of collaborative, integrated modelling on networked repositories, applied to concrete ecological and social issues of interest to the participants and to the larger community built around the ARIES project (

During two weeks of intensive instruction, both theory and practice of integrated modelling are covered: participants learn how to effectively model social-ecological systems of different scope and scale. Using the latest advances of ecoinformatics research, including a high-level modeling language (k.IM) and an infrastructure (k.LAB) that supports the integration of data and models with different modeling paradigms stant.

Participants will learn to

– Describe socio-economic problems, data and models in a common language to allow their integration and reuse.
–  Build data and model components to address the peculiar needs of specific contexts or case studies.
– Find and use missing model components inthe ARIES model base, covering much of the biophysical and socio-economic   problem area, so that highly complex problems can be addressed with a minimum of new work;
– Share the results on a semantic network for use in other integrated modeling applications.

The skills learned will range from GIS-driven statistical analysis to complex agent-based models of coupled human-natural interactions. Scholars and IT experts from around the world will be on hand to help the participants independently create, run and analyze coupled human-environmental models and scenarios. The school will tackle key modeling questions related to integrated vs. standalone modeling tools, semantic modeling, how to measure models and data interoperability, etc. Ways of extending ARIES with other existing models (written in Java, R, Python, etc.) will be also discussed during the school.

Participants will have the option of continuing their interaction with the ARIES network to benefit from and contribute to one of the largest public repositories of ecosystem services models and data. The school also serves as an entry point for the students to become part of the ARIES community platform which will provide them with means of sharing their own ARIES projects/models online, together with a set of communication and collaboration tools, such as issue management, live chat and model documentation tools.

The participants brought a problem statement and some data to describe it, and will leave with a developed framework tailored to their case study, together with the knowledge required to build a working solution. Upon acceptance of the participants, the School’s scientific board will approach them to discuss the specific problems they wish to investigate during the course.A limited number of thematic groups were identified, and the participants are grouped according to the similarities of the problem proposed in their application. In addition to daily plenary instruction and discussion, each group will be assisted by a dedicated teacher and teaching assistants.

Geospatial Solutions

BC3 is leading the development of some of the most advanced cloud-based data and modeling methodologies to quantify and value the flows of services that ecosystems provide to societies.

The Software

The ARIES team combines an innovative simulation platform and a domain-specific programming language to address the task of integrated social ecological systems.


The International Spring University on Ecosystem Services Modeling is supported by Bilbao City Council and Bizkaia Provincial Council through Bilbao Ekintza, EPEL and Beaz.

We are thankful to all these institutions who provided us the venue, KBI digital, to organize the 2016 edition of the school during two weeks.

We are also  specially grateful to Bilbao Ekintza for backing this project and for all their help.

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