Summer School 2024

Summer School 2024

Plant science to tackle climate change

June 16-21, 2024 – Saint-Lambert-des-Bois – 40km from Paris (France)



This Summer school is co-organized by the French Saclay Plant Sciences (SPS) network and the German Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS).


Mankind is facing an unprecedented challenge from anthropogenic climate change. This is already associated with altered rainfall patterns, extreme weather events and less predictable seasonal patterns, which are expected to increase in the future. Climate change is a major challenge to crop production, food security and therefore to human society.

Sécheresse - Drought

Agriculture is a victim of climate change but also a culprit since 20-25% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are released through agricultural activities. Without a substantial diet change, the ever-growing world population will require a 70-100% increase of agricultural productivity by 2050 to produce enough food. This must be achieved in a sustainable manner without compromising nutritional quality and in a context of decreasing GHG emissions and increasing C-sequestration to help mitigate global climate change. This complex scenario will require resilient, higher yielding crops having a more efficient use of water and minerals, and suited to climate-change adapted cultivation schemes and practices. Moreover, laboratory/researcher practices will also have to be modified to accommodate low energy-use/low C-footprint research activities.

In this context, the SPS-CEPLAS Summer School 2024 will focus on introducing and discussing strategies, techniques and practices to carry out next generation plant research aimed at improving sustainable climate-change friendly plant productivity.

The summer school will bring together outstanding and enthusiastic young scientists (PhD students and young post-docs) and high-level researchers from all over the world in order to exchange knowledge and ideas. It is limited to a small group of participants (20 maximum) to privilege informal interactions and scientific discussions.

Provisional program and speakers

Download the provisional program of the Summer School

This Summer School will include:

         > Theoretical modules and discussions (~18 hours):

The objective is to address key climate change challenges from the perspective of plant sciences. Scientists will give lectures and lead discussions, giving the participants an insight into the latest research findings and identifying key open questions in the field. Lectures will focus on reducing agricultural GHG emissions, improving plant productivity/resilience to climate change, and the challenges of next generation low energy-use/low C-footprint research. They will be presented in 4 sessions comprising a general overview followed by more focused research/technical talks from invited experts.

       N-inputs & emissions


Concepts addressed:
N-use-efficiency in crop species, N signalisation, allocation & remobilization, N metabolism & microbes in the context of climate change
Confirmed speakers:
Jacques Le-Gouis, (GDEC, Clermont-Ferrand, France)
Anne Krapp (IJPB, Versailles, France)
Fabien Chardon (IJPB, Versailles, France)
Alia Dellagi (IJPB, Versailles, France)

       CO2 capture and C sequestration


Concepts addressed:
Improving photosynthesis, sugar transport & partitioning, C-sequestration in trees and soil
Confirmed speakers:
Amanda Cavanagh (Essex University, UK)
Sylvie Dinant (IJPB, Versailles, France)
Philippe Ciais (LSCE, Saclay, France)
Marc-André Selosse (Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle - MNHN, Paris, France)

       Plant resilience to predicted climate change conditions


Concepts addressed:
The interaction of elevated atmospheric CO2 with plant mineral nutrition & abiotic stresses, stomata & stress signalling, the influence of bacteria on environmental stress resilience & N-nutrition, the influence of climate change on biotic stress resistance and computational modeling of photosynthetic acclimation
Confirmed speakers:
Hannes Kollist (Institute of Technology, Tartu University, Estonia)
Antoine Martin (IPSiM, Montpellier, France)
Guillem Rigaill (IPS2, University Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
Marina Cotta (MPIPZ, Cologne, Germany)
Heribert Hirt (KAUST, Saudi Arabia)
Axel de Zélicourt (IPS2, University Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
Richard Berthomé (LIPME, Toulouse, France)
Anna Matuszynska (RWTH Aachen University, Germany)

       Future research practices & opportunities

Concepts addressed:
How to reduce the C-footprint of scientific research & implement and promote environmentally friendly research practices, agroecology, biodiversity & climate change, and how to help farmers move towards a climate change sustainable agriculture
Confirmed speakers:
Jean Colcombet (IPS2, University Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
Paul Leadley (ESE, IDEEV, University Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
Sophie Gendre (Arvalis, France)

         > Workshop on outreach and communication (7 hours)

This workshop will be led by Isabel Mendoza of the Global Plant Council. After a presentation on different forms of scientific communication including social media, participants will form groups, given a hot-topic paper on plants & climate change and asked to deliver communications aimed at the general public.

         > Collaborative Climate Fresk workshop (3 hours)

Climate Fresk

Climate Fresk is a powerful tool that provides a quality climate education. It requires all participants to take an active role in building the Fresk by linking causes and effects of climate change.

         > Participant flash-talks and poster session (5 hours)

Each participant will give a short “get to know me” flash talk at the beginning of the Summer School. The poster session will be organized to allow each participant to discuss his/her poster and to see all posters. It will finish with a general discussion and a “best” poster prize.

         > Visit to the Barbeau forest C-flux tower field station


Participants will join Daniel Berveiller for a visit of the Barbeau forest field station and this will be followed by a talk by Nicolas Delpierre after returning to the conference center. Daniel and Nicolas both work at the ESE, University Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


         > Social activities

The Summer School proposes

© Communicationchateaudefontainebleau / Jvillafruela


The Summer School will finish with communication and outreach workshop presentations and a round-table to discuss the scientific and socio-economic issues and technical challenges relative to the global Summer School theme.

This intensive and varied one-week program will allow many opportunities to discuss with speakers and fellow participants.


Michael Hodges1 (Coordinator)
Fabien Chardon2
Jean Colcombet1
Etienne Delannoy1
Alia Dellagi2
Sylvie Dinant2
Stan Kopriva4
Anne Krapp2
Anja Krieger-Liszkay3
Sébastien Thomine3
Andreas Weber5

      1Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay - IPS2 (Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
      2Jean-Pierre Bourgin Institute - IJPB (Versailles, France)
      3Institute of Integrative Biology of the Cell – I2BC (Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
      4Institute for Plant Sciences, Cologne Biocenter, University of Cologne (Germany)
      5Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Germany)

Teaching language



Centre Port-Royal
Chemin du Charme et du Carrosse
78470 Saint-Lambert-des-Bois

Practical information

This SPS-CEPLAS Summer School is limited to 20 participants. It is open to:
- PhD students
- Young post-docs (maximum 2 years after obtaining a PhD).
ATTENTION: For administrative and financial reasons, only applicants with a formal attachment to a research laboratory at the time of the Summer School will be considered

There is no registration fee for this Summer School.

> For successful applicants, the Summer School WILL cover the following costs:
- The scientific program
- The Palace of Fontainebleau visit on Wednesday June 19
- Housing from Sunday June 16 to Friday June 21 (5 nights) at the Centre Port-Royal
- Lunches, dinners and coffee-breaks from Sunday June 16 (4pm) to Friday June 21 (4:30pm)

> The Summer School WILL NOT cover the following costs:
- Transport costs to and from the Summer School location
- Lunch on Sunday 16 June
- Dinner on Friday 21 June

During the Summer School, the successful participants will have to present themselves and their research:
- In a flash-talk (not more than 3 Powerpoint slides, 5 min maximum, pdf format, no animation).
- In a poster.

Every participant is expected to bring a laptop.

Due to the climate impact of air transport, participants are asked to use low-emission transport when possible, and perhaps to combine the summer school with other activities such as visits to local research Institutes and holidays.


Application deadline: March 4, 2024 (midnight)

For your application, you will have to provide a single PDF file containing four documents:
1. A motivation letter explaining your research interests and the expected benefits from attending the summer school
2. A curriculum vitae
3. An abstract detailing your research project (250 words, with title, author(s), institution(s)). This abstract must correspond to the poster and the flash-talk presentations of your research that you will prepare for the Summer School.
ATTENTION: Your abstract will be included in the Summer School booklet, which will be distributed to all participants and made public on the Summer School web page.
4. A letter of support from your supervisor or a senior coworker indicating that your host laboratory will finance your transport and any additional costs you could have during your stay.

Only applications written in English are accepted.

Only complete applications will be taken into account.

Please precise [SPS-CEPLAS Summer School 2024] in the object of your email.


Graduate School Biosphera


Faculté des Sciences Université Paris Cité


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If you wish to sponsor the SPS-CEPLAS Summer School 2024, do not hesitate to let us know by contacting us at


Modification date: 10 June 2024 | Publication date: 07 December 2023 | By: MJS