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Opening Retreat of the Junior Research Group POLISES

by David

In early February, our 5-member Junior Research Group got together in the snowy village of Großbothen for two days to properly launch our common activities. The Wilhelm Ostwald Park offered us a pleasant and serene environment to get to know each other better and to outline a research agenda for the coming years.

The retreat started with a warm-up exercise, followed by an introductory talk by Birgit on the project’s contents and goals. This resulted in a discussion and brainstorming session on ‘the potential of modelling for analysing the effects of policies on food security.’ After an invigorating afternoon walk in the surrounding hills, Gunnar presented some of the simulation models that had been designed in earlier research projects. In the evening, we took to the game board and played a round of NomadSed, also taking the opportunity to explore ideas for our own web-based game on food security.

The next morning was dedicated to case studies. David shared some insights from his Moroccan fieldwork, and Gunnar and Birgit presented the work done by cooperation partners in Ethiopia and Kenya. To make clearer who will work on which of the five work packages laid out in the research programme, Felix and Niklas presented the current state of their respective PhD agendas. The retreat concluded with a summary and discussion of the next steps.

In retrospect, all the main goals of this meeting were achieved, namely: introducing all team members to the overarching themes of POLISES; further elaborating our research questions; updating our work schedules; fostering team building; and integrating everyone’s contributions into the project. We left Großbothen with a feeling of inspiration and renewed motivation for our coming tasks.

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