News Release

Modelling policy impacts on ecosystem services and biodiversity

Horizon 2020 BESTMAP project organises its first Summer School for Early Career Researchers

Meeting Announcement

Pensoft Publishers

BESTMAP Summer School

image: BESTMAP Summer School view more 

Credit: Pensoft Publishers

BESTMAP is hosting the project’s first Summer School on modelling policy impacts on ecosystem services and biodiversity. The event will take place in Olomouc, Czech Republic on September 12–16, 2022 and is organised jointly by Palacky University Olomouc, University of Leeds, UFZ–Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, TU Dresden and other partners involved in the European project BESTMAP. The Summer School is specifically tailored for early-career researchers but will also welcome Master’s students with relevant backgrounds in the field of agriculture-environment interactions.

The BESTMAP project is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and strives to develop a new modelling framework that will transform future EU rural policies’ design and monitoring, while promoting a sustainable future for the European agricultural sector. Formed by a consortium of 13 partners from 7 European countries, BESTMAP is coordinated by the University of Leeds, the UK.

Existing impact assessment models do not appropriately address the complexity of decisions made by farmers and ignore the wider impacts of policy on natural, social and cultural assets in rural areas. Therein, understanding the environmental impacts of agricultural policies, including measures such as agri-environmental schemes (AES) or organic farming, is a crucial step in assessing their effectiveness in European farmlands. Scientific models play an important role in quantifying such impacts, especially on biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by the agricultural landscapes. 

While actively working towards transforming the future design and monitoring of EU rural policies, BESTMAP is holding the project’s Summer School with the aim to draw upon developed methods and experience from the project, operating in five case studies across Europe. 

BESTMAP is delighted to offer this Summer School which draws on our work modelling agricultural policy across 5 case studies in Europe. This is a great opportunity for early career researchers to get hands-on experience, develop skills and knowledge, and to explore different types of models including biodiversity, ecosystem services and agent-based modelling” says the BESTMAP project coordinator Prof. Guy Ziv from the University of Leeds, the UK.

The five-day training will focus on obtaining understanding and knowledge exchange upon the different modelling approaches, including agent-based modelling, biodiversity/species distribution modelling and ecosystem services modelling (both provisioning and regulating ecosystem services). 

Furthermore, the Summer School will give the opportunity to its participants to learn through practical, interactive exercises about the potentials and limitations of the different modelling approaches, while also allowing them to obtain hands-on experience with specific models by applying them to real-world data from BESTMAP case studies. 

This event is not only a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with modelling policy effects on ecosystem services but also to see how agri-environmental practices are implemented on the ground. That is because we will be taking you for a field trip to the ‘Moravian Tuscany’ - a traditional agricultural landscape that is one of our case study regions in BESTMAP” says Tomas Vaclavik from the Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Everyone interested can learn more about the event and register here.


This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817501.


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