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Welcome to the Earth System Science Research School (ESSRES) Programme!

In July 2007 the Helmholtz Association approved the foundation of a new Research School on Earth System Science which will officially start in summer 2008. In a joint initiative of Alfred Wegener Institute Bremerhaven (AWI), University of Bremen (Uni-HB), and Jacobs University Bremen new generations of outstanding junior scientists will be 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. The foundation of the Earth System Research School at the AWI will focus 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 will provide PhD students with advanced training and research support. The Research School will offer world-class educational possibilities thanks to its staff of internationally-recognised and highly rated expert scientists.


The central idea of linking ‘data and modelling’ enables graduate students from a variety of disciplines to cooperate and exchange views on a common theme which leads to a better understanding of local processes within a global context. Computational and conceptual models of the Earth system provide the ability to investigate different scenarios in biogeochemistry, such as the carbon cycle, the structure of marine sediments, and isotope distribution in climate components. Training and education, especially in time-series and data analysis, is a common key component for all participants.

In the ESSRES joint activities between the AWI, Uni-HB, and Jacobs University bring together a truly unique group of researchers and provide a great opportunity for young, talented aspiring scientists to integrate observations of past climate change based on different archives including ice cores, marine sediments and biological recorders, with models of the climate system and its components. The eight groups from AWI complement each other with respect to their expertise in the field of palaeo-climate studies. AWI has a broad foundation for studying climate change in marine archives and ice cores, has expertise in carbon cycle modelling at different scales, and applies approaches for reconstructing fundamental palaeo-bathymetric settings. The department of environmental physics at the Bremen University (Uni-HB/IUP) has excellent expertise in the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and remote sensing, with a focus on the measurement and monitoring of global methane and carbon cycle changes. Since data, and dealing with data, are key components of this Research School, Jacobs University’s computational modelling and geoinformation science group will provide algorithms and tools for temporal and spatial data analyses, data management and advanced visualization. Together, these twelve topics will define a unique new approach to the investigation of complex cycles (biogeochemical, isotopic or cycles of matter) within the Earth system in a common, highly interdisciplinary, context.


The expertise of the scientists involved guarantees an outstanding research and educational programme. In a three-year term, a number of basic and expert scientific courses and soft skill training modules provide a broad knowledge in the field of Earth System Sciences, which may attract the school’s alumni to continue their international research career. The Helmholtz Research School on Earth System Sciences, based at the AWI and supported by the Uni-HB and Jacobs University, will be a forum to maintain and enhance the city state Bremen’s existing reputation in research and education.

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