Welcome to the homepage of the integrated training and knowledge exchange programme of the SPACES II (Science Partnerships for the Adaptation to Complex Earth System Processes in the Southern Africa) research network.

SPACES II is a systemic research programme, funded by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). It is a collaborative effort between Germany and several southern African countries. Its focus is on the complex interactions between land and sea, and between the atmosphere and biosphere, in southern Africa. The five terrestrial SPACES II projects focus on the impacts of climate change and land management, while the four marine projects look at the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources under the impacts of climate change. All nine SPACES II projects aim to produce science-based policy recommendations for Earth system management, sustainable use, and preservation of ecosystem services in the region.

Read more about the projects and partners of the SPACES II research network.


Capacity building and specifically the training of early-career researchers are central aims of the SPACES 2 research programme. The integrated training programme aims at linking the capacities of the southern African and German research communities, to strengthen competencies in the key areas of SPACES 2. These key competencies include for example various modelling approaches, ecosystem assessments, greenhouse gas measurements, earth observations, and field surveying methods. Some courses also focus on transferrable skills, such as intercultural communication. Training formats range from summer/winter schools and workshops to joint conference sessions, tutorials and online materials.

The main target group of the programme are Southern African students, early-career researchers and practitioners. However, some opportunities are open also for students and researchers based in Germany.

The Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture coordinates the integrated training programme on behalf of the PT-DLR and the BMBF. The programme is implemented under the strategic steering of the SPACES 2 Board and Steering Committee, and aligned with other southern African regional initiatives, including SASSCAL (Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management) and ACCESS (Applied Centre for Climate & Earth Systems Science).

Under the umbrella of capacity building activities for the SPACES 2 research network, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) coordinates the funding of southern African student projects and researcher exchange programmes (SPACES 2 CaBuDe).

General queries regarding the SPACES 2 research network and the aims of the training programme can be directed to Mari Bieri, and queries on course registrations and eligibility of funding to Sabine Rodriguez.

Ger-Nam student-tandem from an OPTIMASS Tandem-Thesis-project
Intercultural Communication & Competencies
Working in an intercultural context is mostly fun and a learning experience that widens our horizon. However, working in international teams with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds naturally presents various challenges...
Scientific Writing
In this 4-day course participants will learn in very practical and experiential ways about typical insights and challenges around intercultural communication in the context of international cooperation, while also having the opportunity to reflect on and work with very specific issues they may be facing in their professional working environment.
Short Course on Agent-Based Modelling & Simulation
This course will offer an overview on agent-based modelling and how/when it is applied. Participants will learn to design and implement basic models using the MARS framework. Specific course content will be tailored according to participant needs.
Regional climate and hydrology modeling and its application
This summer school offers two separate course options, introducing the participants either to soil erosion or atmosphere-hydrology modelling. The aim is to provide participants the foundation to start their own research.
Modelling of Land Degradation Processes
This online course offers an introduction to soil erosion modelling using the USLE/RUSLE model and global data sets. Participants need access to a computer and preferably arcGIS for hands-on exercises
Partner MOOC: Land in Focus
Open online courses on basics of remote sensing and theoretical knowledge on various ecosystems and fields of interest, offered by the EO College.