Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Tenth ESSA Summer School in Social Simulation 2019: Agent-Based Modelling of Human-Environment Interactions

Date: 17 June 2019 - 21 June 2019
Location: The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK


The summer school is aimed primarily at PhD students and early career researchers from academia and beyond (e.g. industry, policy), regardless of disciplinary background or specialism. Social simulation is an inherently interdisciplinary activity that thrives on collaborations among experts from various domains.

A maximum of 30 participants will be accepted. They will be working in small teams, with the task of delivering a working agent-based model by the end of the week. The model will address a research question identified at the beginning of the summer school.

Topics covered

  • By the end of this course, participants will have been exposed to:
  • The full modelling lifecycle with agent-based models
  • Developing formal representations of complex social systems
  • Writing simple agent-based models in NetLogo
  • Designing simulation experiments with NetLogo
  • Preparing an agent-based model for running on the cloud
  • Using data with agent-based models

The theme of the summer school is agent-based modelling of human-environment interactions. This emphasizes a key strength of agent-based modelling: its ability to bring together social and environmental dynamics in tightly coupled models, offering system-level insights that other approaches struggle to achieve. It also highlights that agent-based modelling is an inherently cross-disciplinary activity, and frequently takes on an integrative role in inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects. For this reason, there is a strong emphasis on collaborative work in ESSA summer schools.

An open access article outlining our strategy for agent-based modelling at the Institute is available at

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