Essentials of Modelling

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Essentials of Modelling

Monday 6 -  Friday 10, Friday 17 February 2023

Wageningen University - Campus


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Models are simplified representations of a part of reality. Many modelling projects deal with global issues such as climate change, sustainability, or the management of socio-ecological or socio-technical systems. When modelling one must consider an array of aspects that do not directly relate to the mathematical and computational side of modelling such as establishing a common definition, a model ontology, settling on a model purpose, conceptualizing the model to match the model purpose, and considering what data are available or required.

Elements that will be addressed in this course:
- How to involve stakeholders?
- How to establish a shared model ontology?
- How to balance scientific model credibility and technical detail with relevance and societal views and needs?

This course is primarily aimed at participants who are in the start-up of a modelling project. We purposefully aim to involve people from different scientific backgrounds. The emphasis is not on the mathematical, computational, and statistical aspects of modelling per se, but on the elements of the modelling process before that. You will learn about the scoping of a model, and to think critically about the choices in modelling. The set-up is to have participants cooperate with peers from other disciplines to reflect on the foundational design, requirements and purpose of their own modelling projects.


The following lecturing programme is proposed:

  • The modelling process, and what can go wrong with it
  • Model scoping, ontology, stakeholder involvement
  • Data and metrics, and balancing model complexity
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly: modelling in real life Presentations and discussions of team assignments

This course will take place at the campus of WUR. The first week (6-10 February) involves lectures, assignments and group-work. Prior to lectures, participants have to prepare questions/points of discussion for after the lectures based on provided reading material. The second week involves working on your own work/project where you can receive feedback from course lecturers on Friday 17 February. Beforehand the course, we will ask participants to submit a brief note with an answer to the question: “What scares you in your modelling project?”. The goal is to have students exchange their (good/bad) experiences and devise possible solutions during the course.

Note: This is the resit period 6 February – 17 February in the WUR educational curriculum. Directly following in P4 is the course Agent-Based Modelling of Complex Adaptive Systems (INF34806), which may be of interest to participants as well.

Course organisers and lecturers
Preliminary schedule
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General information
Target Group The workshop is intended for participants who want to learn about modelling essentials.
Group Size Min. 20 / Max. 24 participants
Course duration 2 weeks
Language of instruction English
Number of credits 2 ECTS
Prior knowledge No prior experience of modelling is required.
Location Wageningen University Campus, Orion building, room B3040. Please note that you have to bring your own laptop.
Options for accommodation Accommodation is not included in the fee of the course, but there are several possibilities in Wageningen. For non-WUR PE&RC members 50% of the accommodation costs can be reimbursed with a maximum of €30,- per night. For more information contact Miriam van Heist ( For information on B&B's and hotels in Wageningen please visit Another option is Short Stay Wageningen. Furthermore Airbnb offers several rooms in the area. Finally, there are a number of groups on Facebook where students announce subrent possibilities and things like that. Examples include: Wageningen Room Subrent, Wageningen Room Sublets, and Wageningen Student Plaza. Wageningen has a range of restaurants, but there are also options to have dinner on the University Campus.
Fees 1
PE&RC / WIMEK / WASS / EPS / VLAG / WIAS PhD candidates with an approved TSP € 310,- € 360,-
All other academic participants € 660,- € 710,-
Non academic participants € 970,- € 1020,-

1 The course fee includes coffee/tea, and lunches. It does not include accommodation (NB: options for accommodation are given above)
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 12 DECEMBER 2022


  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 310,- will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 660,- will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all, a fee of € 970,- will nevertheless be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us and do not assume that by NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is automatically cancelled, because it isn't (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions).

More information

Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)


To register, please enter your details below and click "Register".