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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Islands as Laboratories for Sustainability (ISLAs)

Quality of Life and Happiness on Islands
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Methodologically and scientifically, islands serve as ideal 'laboratories' for examining the intricate interplay of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Moreover, their isolated nature often magnifies the importance of factors contributing to quality of life and happiness.

Co-organized by the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Islands and Sustainability (ISLANDS), Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), and Bali Tourism Polytechnic (PPB), the ISLAs Summer/Winter School 2024. It will take place online on June 13th and 14th, and in person in Bali, Indonesia, from June 18th to 22nd.

During the summer school, participants will delve into key topics, encompassing the challenges and facilitators of cultural, economic, and social wellbeing, environmental and urban planning, tourism, and happiness on islands.

Bali, with its diverse landscapes and rich culture and tradition, stands as an ideal location for this summer school. The Balinese philosophy for life, Tri Hita Karana, emphasising harmony and balance between the spiritual world, people, and nature as the three sources of wellbeing and happiness, resonates deeply with the themes of the summer school. Participants will not only study these concepts academically but also experience and witness them in the daily life and culture of Bali, enhancing their understanding of the interconnectedness of sustainability, quality of life, and happiness.

The main teaching activities will take place on Bali and the smaller neighbouring island Nusa Lembongan, with excursions on both islands. This immersive experience provides a unique blend of academic exploration and real-world insights, offering a nuanced understanding of the intricate challenges surrounding sustainability, quality of life, and happiness on islands.

Practical information

13 - 14 June 2024 (online), 17 - 22 June 2024 (in-person)
Virtual Course Sessions: 13 - 14 June 2024
Bali and Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia: 17 - 22 June 2024

€ 300

The fee covers tuition fee, three daily meals during the Bali stay, and one daily meal during the Nusa Lembongan stay, and homestay accommodation.
Hotels with private rooms can be booked for an additional price.
Academic coordinators

Prof. Dimitris Ballas, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, Groningen University
Dr. Bagas Dwipantara Putra, Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB)
Luh Yusni Wiarti, Politeknik Pariwisata Bali (BiTP)



The main target group will comprise postgraduate students (taught master as well as PhD candidates) and post-doctoral researchers. It may also include excellent undergraduate students (both in terms of academic performance as well as relevant extra-curricular activities and demonstrated interest in the themes covered by the summer school) and external stakeholders (e.g. employees of local authorities, NGOs and any other organisation that is relevant to the summer school themes).

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  1.   A good understanding of current scientific theories, concepts and principles of islands as special and privileged places with a particular focus on implications for quality of life, happiness and sustainability.
  2. An enhanced understanding of socio-spatial, cultural and economic processes that are specific to islandness, quality of life, happiness and sustainability
  3.  An enhanced understanding of happiness and its individual, socio-economic, spatial and environmental determinants (with a focus on islands)

 An enhanced understanding of the way the public and private sectors affect and can affect (also from a social and regional policy perspective) social and territorial cohesion between places and people (with a particular focus on islands as special policy case studies).

Upon successful completion of the programme, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 84 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • CV (max 2 pages)

  • Academic transcript

Selection will take place on a rolling basis. Generally, you will receive info about your admission within a week from submitting the application. The final deadline for application is 15 April 2024.

The summer school is an initiative of the Sustainable Landscapes research group of the University of Groningen and the international Erasmus Mundus Research Master Islands and Sustainability programme ISLANDS.

The Sustainable Landscapes research group at UG is devoted to developing knowledge for better landscape governance by combining cutting-edge disciplinary and integrative research from widely differing scientific fields.

Last modified:28 March 2024 4.44 p.m.