Course Circle U. PhD summer school: Negotiating Climate Change in the context of absolute CO2 limits and timeframes 


Course leader: Anne Jensen

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Technical Sciences

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is finished

Semester: Fall 2023

Application deadline: 26/03/2023

Cancellation deadline: 26/03/2023

Course type: Summer school

Start date: 07/08/2023

Administrator: Thilde Møller Risgaard

Please note when applying

This is a Circle U. Summer School which is open for students enrolled in a PhD programme at one of the 9 Circle U. Universities

Therefore, when signing up for the course, the applicant submits a document with 1) Short description of the PhD project and 2) Motivation for participation and confirmation of enrolment.

All applicants will be placed on waiting list.

A committee of Circle U. Universities will select participants based on motivation and PhD projects.

You will receive an e-mail after 5th of April whether you are admitted for the course or if you are registered on the waiting list.

The PhD Summer School on Negotiating Climate Change in the context of absolute CO2 limits and timeframes will be hosted by Aarhus University on August 7th-11th, 2023. 

The summer school establishes an interdisciplinary approach to understand, examine and address the negotiations that determine current and future climate changes and actions to handle the challenges of climate changes, in a perspective where societal actions are linked to the bio-physical reality of climate changes, and the bio-physical climate sets absolute CO2 limits and time horizons for societal action. Negotiations and their outcomes are vital for climate actions, and for understanding climate change causes, impacts and solutions. Climate negotiations refer to the difficult dilemmas and decisions that are negotiated a) in policies and politics at different levels where competing interests are balanced, as well as b) in citizens’ everyday choices and behaviour, c) in business development, and d) in innovation, choice and application of technologies. 

The summer school will foster a critical approach to knowledge production and research into climate change issues that are linked to negotiations. Through shifting between classes, exercises, design engagement with own research objectives, and peer assessment of PhD article or chapter, the summer school engages participants in a critical and interdisciplinary learning. The lectures centre on topics that are significant to climate negotiation, and which afford students a stronger disciplinary knowledge on their research in a systemic interdisciplinary perspective. The summer school covers topics such as: Negotiating climate politics; Climate security; Climate change as environmental crises; Behavioural changes; 360o Activism; Climate in cultural representations; Social equity; and Post carbon transition.

Objectives of the course
The summer school aims to develop early career researchers’ skills in interdisciplinary and critical analysis. Through integration of the participating PhD students’ own research, skills in examination and synergizing climate change topics related to the causes, impacts and solutions of climate change as a multidisciplinary and contested research problem will be strengthened. The primary focus of the theoretical perspectives and included topics is climate research in the social sciences.

The Summer School is coordinated by Academic Chair for Climate, Anne Jensen, Aarhus University, together with co-coordinators Academic Chair for Climate Hillary Briffa, Kings College London, and Academic Chair for the Think and Do Tank Susan Wright, Aarhus University. The summer school has contributions from Climate Knowledge Hub members, and will in addition benefit from esteemed guest lecturers, including Professor in Environmental Politics Duncan Russell, Exeter University, executive consultant Pernille Hagedorn (IDA) and leading planner Signe Iversen, (Climate adaptation and nature), City of Aarhus. 

For queries or more information, please contact Dr Anne Jensen, AU,, or Dr Hillary Briffa, Kings College London,

Students must fulfil the following criteria to be awarded the 5 ECTS: 

  1. Completing the pre-reading and preparation for each session of the course;
  2. Submit draft/outline for a paper or chapter from students’ own PhD, which will be targeted with feedback during the course. 
  3. 2 minute video presentation of the core research problem and design of students’ own PhD projects; (this will be requested upon acceptance to the course)
  4. After the course, submission of 1-2 pages on how the paper/chapter will be adapted or amended on the basis of course lectures, texts, discussions, feedback, and exercises related to the course topic;
  5. Participation, including in peer assessment, design workshop and exercises.

Cost and travel grant
The summer school is free of charge and comes with a grant. Depending on your status (this might vary for some universities and needs to be cleared with the respective coordinator at your home institution), your sending institution will either cover actual costs according to relevant travel policy or fund the rates of 70 EUR/ day (max. 7 days) and travel costs which will be calculated according to distance (Erasmus+ Distance Calculator). 

Venue: Campus Aarhus


Important information to all applicants
The participants in the PhD Climate Summer School are PhD students from the Circle U. partner universities, who in their PhDs engage with climate change from a social science perspective. After the selection process, each partner university will be represented by up to 3 PhD Students. The final composition of the group of participants will reflect the interdisciplinary social sciences approach of the programme.


Criteria for acceptance

  • Candidates must have initiated a social sciences PhD on a topic of climate change at one of the nine Circle U. universities.
  • Candidates must have interest in and recognition of the interdisciplinary character of climate change research problems.


To apply to the summer school, please submit:

  1. A 1 - 1.5 pages letter of motivation including the following ():
    1. a) Briefly introduce your academic self, including academic background,
    2. b) your project including main research question/hypothesis; key theoretical approaches; methods; empirics; which social science discipline you feel your PhD is mainly situated within; and how far in my PhD research I am
    3. c) Outline why you want to participate in the course, and how you expect that the programme will enhance your research
    4. d) Why you believe interdisciplinary research in the social sciences is important
  1. As appendix, please enclose Enrolment certificate from home university’s PhD school


You can use the below template or make your own letter of motivation, as long as you do not exceed 1 - 1.5 pages


Letter of motivation for Negotiating Climate Change Interdisciplinary Circle U. Summer School

Introduction to the academic me and my PhD project


  • Title of PhD project
  • My academic background
  • Main research question/hypothesis;
  • Key theoretical approaches;
  • Methods;
  • Empirics,
  • Which social science discipline my PhD is mainly situated within
  • How far in my PhD research I am>

Why I want to participate in the summer school

How I expect that the programme will enhance my own research

Why I believe interdisciplinarity in the social sciences is important

Please upload as a single PDF file your letter of motivation and confirmation of enrolment of PhD student at your Circle U. University.


Course dates:

  • 07 August 2023
  • 08 August 2023
  • 09 August 2023
  • 10 August 2023
  • 11 August 2023