Welcome to the Earth System Sciences Research School!

09/2016: Two book publications during the ESSReS funding phase. During the ESSReS funding phase two books have been published, describing the structure and educational concept of the interdisciplinary research school and giving insights into the PhD projects

Lohmann, G., K. Grosfeld, D. Wolf-Gladrow, V. Unnithan, J. Notholt, Justus and A. Wegner (eds.) (2013): Earth System Science: Bridging the Gaps between Disciplines: Perspectives from a Multi-disciplinary Helmholtz Research School, Springer Heidelberg, 134 p., ISBN: 978-3-642-32234-1. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-32235-8.


Earth system science is traditionally split into various disciplines (Geology, Physics, Meteorology, Oceanography, Biology etc.) and several sub-disciplines. Overall, the diversity of expertise provides a solid base for interdisciplinary research. However, gaining holistic insights into the Earth system requires the integration of observations, paleoclimate data, analysis tools and modeling. These different approaches of Earth system science are rooted in various disciplines that cut across a broad range of timescales. It is, therefore, necessary to link these disciplines at a relatively early stage in PhD programs. The linking of ‘data and modeling’, as it is the special emphasis in our graduate school, enables graduate students from a variety of disciplines to cooperate and exchange views on the common theme of Earth system science, which leads to a better understanding of processes within a global context.

Lohmann, G., H. Meggers, V. Unnithan, D. Wolf-Gladrow, J. Notholt and A. Bracher (eds.) (2015): Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach in Earth System Science, Springer Earth System Sciences, Heidelberg, Springer, 9 p., ISBN: 978-3-319-13864-0. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-13865-7.


This book describes the latest advances at the Helmholtz "Earth System Science Research School" where scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, the University of Bremen, and the Jacobs University are involved in research. One of the greatest challenges is understanding ongoing environmental changes and how this can affect the ability for a local plumber, for example, to travel to places of work. The longer the time scale the more components of the Earth system are involved, e.g. interannual and decadal variations are related to the coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice system, whereas longer variations like glacial-interglacial or Cenozoic transitions involve the carbon cycle, ice sheets and gateways. In order to get deep insights into Earth system science, observations, remote sensing, past environmental data, as well as modeling need to be integrated. These different approaches are traditionally taught in separated disciplines at bachelor and master levels. It is, therefore, necessary to bring these disciplines together in PhD programs.

11/2015: The Earth System Science Research School ESSReS is drawing to a close. Between 2008 and 2014 two classes of PhD students underwent the school's educational programme made up of lectures, exercises and practicals in Earth System Sciences as well as of several sets of social skill courses. Social activities, counselling and excursions rounded the scope of events during those years. ESSReS looks back onto two classes of dedicated early career scientists. Several of our PhD students are in the final stages of their dissertation, most others have already received their doctoral degree. Please note that ESSReS does not take on new students.

The Earth System Science Research School (ESSReS) Programme

ESSReS is a joint initiative of  Alfred Wegener Institute Bremerhaven (AWI), University of Bremen (Uni-HB), and Jacobs University Bremen. New generations of outstanding junior scientists have been trained and prepared in the interdisciplinary field of Earth System Sciences toward a doctoral degree.

The existing research infrastructure at the Alfred Wegener Institute Bremerhaven (AWI), University of Bremen, Institute for Environmental Physics (Uni-HB/IUP), and Jacobs University Bremen offers a unique research environment to study past, present and future changes of the climate system.

ESSReS focusses on the integration of observations, palaeoclimate data, and climate modelling to better understand natural climate variations over a broad range of timescales and disciplines. The overall expertise available in observation, modelling, and reconstruction at the participating institutions provides an extremely solid base for interdisciplinary research. This excellent working and scientific environment provides PhD students with advanced training and research support. The Research School offers world-class educational possibilities thanks to its staff of internationally reknown and highly rated expert scientists.

International research in an interdisciplinary context

23 students from 12 countries form the 2nd ESSReS class with its overall idea of linking earth science data and modeling.


Spokesman of the Research School:
Prof. Dr. Gerrit Lohmann 

Coordinator ESSReS Phase 1:
Dr. Klaus Grosfeld

Coordinator ESSReS Phase 2:
Dr. Helge Meggers

Partnership Institutions