Summer School: SuRe – Sustainable and Resilient societies

External course. Registration via the University of Groningen
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The fragility of social systems and their underlying institutional foundations being widely recognized, makes resilience an urgent item in the research agenda of contemporary social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. The related attempts at enhancing resilience are multilevel, ranging from individuals, communities, to organizations, to more concerted large-scale attempts addressing the resilience of entire policy domains or sectors.

Polycrisis and disruptive transformations happen at different levels, and SuRe will focus on demographic crisis; disasters; socio-economic crises; technological innovations; organizational crises. Divergent as they might be, a common denominator uniting scholarly attempts, policy initiatives and other interventions is the insight that getting grip on resilience problems analytically and societally requires transcending disciplinary silos, monocausal explanations and single-issue policies and interventions.

SuRe intends to shed new light on urgent questions about the relationship between sustainability and resilience by providing advanced social sciences knowledge on the multi-levelness of these concepts and their complex relationship. SuRe aims to bring together scholars and students from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences and humanities whose work is related to resilience issues at the micro-level of individuals, the meso-level of collectivities (organizations, communities, families), the macro-level of societies and their institutions, as well as its conceptual or ethical dimensions. Equipped with this knowledge, participants will be trained in an inter- and transdisciplinary learning environment combining theory, methods and practice into group projects. The summer school will be held at the KNIR Institute in Rome, and it will be connected to disciplines as diverse as demography, history, sociology, psychology and economics. Top scholars from Europe will introduce key topics and they will work in close contact with the students to develop research projects.

Rafael Wittek, Francesca Giardini, Letizia Mencarini, Enrica Martinetti Chiappero, Kees Boersma, Domenico Cecere, Alessandro Lomi

Requirements – this school is aimed at:

  • excellent REMA students
  • Postgraduate students: PhD – post doc students
  • Other external stakeholders: national and local
    It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Course schedule
The course will offer a combination of lectures, seminars and hands-on activities in small groups coordinated by the lecturers. A detailed course schedule will follow.

Learning outcomes – after this course you will be able to:

1. Apply inter- and multi-disciplinary knowledge about polycrises, sustainability and resilience;
2. Critically reflect on different strategies to strengthen resilience across levels;
3. Apply analytical reasoning to polycrises in order to be able to disentangle their complexity
4. Propose workable solutions to meet the societal challenges associated with polycrises


  • Preparation (including reading, approx. 200 pages – the time spent on preparation depends on the students’ background): max 70 hours
  • Contact hours (class and online activities): 25 hours
  • Group projects: 17 hours

Upon successful completion of the programme, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 112 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Application procedure
To apply, kindly fill out this online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter, clearly stating why you want to join this summer school, what you will bring to the school and what you hope to learn (max. 1 page)

1 March 2024. Selected applicants will be informed by 15 March 2024.

Practical information

24 – 29 June 2024
Rome, Italy, Royal Netherlands Institute
€ 250 (RUG and Enlight)

€ 350 (non UG students)

€ 500 (practitioners
Academic coordinators
Prof. Dr. Rafael Wittek (Sociology, Behavioral and Social Sciences)
Dr. Francesca Giardini (Sociology, Behavioral and Social Sciences)



This summer school has been organised in collaboration with

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© photo tile: Ignacio Amenábar