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The 11th European IFSA Symposium, 1-4 April 2014 in Berlin, Germany

Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies

Farming systems have to face challenges that originate in changes of global dimension in both the bio-physical and the societal sphere:

  • Climate change leads to increasing weather uncertainty and raising average temperatures, thus impacting agro-ecosystems and water supplies;
  • Food safety concerns are spreading in Europe while in other regions food security remains a challenge;
  • Changing consumption patterns and unequal purchasing power contribute to the unsustainable use of natural resources in many countries.

These changes have manifold implications and raise questions with regard to agricultural land use: How do farmers and horticulturists cope with such challenges? What and how shall learning take place, which (human) skills need to be developed? What capacities do farming systems have to innovate, to adapt? Which strategies are promising to support the transition of farming systems at a regional level? What societal institutions and social transformation will support these transitions? And what can farming systems research contribute to address these challenges?
Obviously, these questions need multi-level, multi-actor approaches and a systemic perspective to be tackled. With the 11th European IFSA symposium we seek manifold answers that deal with challenges in an integrative, interconnected way on field and farm level, on regional or landscape level or even at a larger scale.
Throughout the symposium, opportunities will be offered to discuss how capacities can be strengthened and what strategies seem promising to address various global challenges. We welcome both researchers who want to present empirical evidence and those who want to discuss conceptual frameworks. We welcome the many different perspectives on farming systems: the diversity allows us to deepen our understanding of both the challenges and the emerging potentials embedded in global changes.
IFSA Europe ( is a platform for European Farming systems research. With global challenges being the topic of 2014 symposium, we nevertheless see a need to upscale. The global IFSA forum will give space – within a limited scope – to highlight the discussion from this perspective with emphasis on the three main challenges mentioned above.
The Symposium is jointly organized by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Extension and Communication Group and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in Müncheberg. The 11th IFSA Symposium is also part of the closing event of the research consortium INKA BB (Innovation Network of Climate Change Adaptation Brandenburg Berlin).


8th April 2014 - IFSA 2014 documentation

The IFSA 2014 in Berlin is now over. The IFSA 2014 team wants to express its gratitude to all participants for making this event a great success. Our special thanks go to the convenors of all workshops who did a great job in organizing the sessions and to our key note speakers who gave us an excellent introduction to our meeting during the opening session. The conference will be duly documented. For a start, please find here the presentations of Andrew Campbell and Janice Jiggins, our key note speakers. Presentation Campbell (pdf, 7.6 MB), Presentation Jiggins (pdf, 16 KB).

15th March 2014 - IFSA 2014 registration now officially closed

With more than 250 the IFSA 2014 registrations are a vivid proof for the strong interest in farming systems research. The IFSA 2014 team is now going into the final spurt to prepare the symposium. See you in Berlin in April!
For all of you who will not be there: come back to our webpage soon. We will publish all papers presented on the conference soon after the end date.

12th March 2014 - Book of Abstracts now available

The IFSA team is pleased to present the book of abstracts for the IFSA 2014. It comprises the abstracts of all presentations that will be given in Berlin. Even more important it contains all necessary information about the conference itself (maps, workshop locations, complete programme etc.).
You will be handed a printed copy upon signing in.

Download pdf (8 MB)

13th February 2014 - Join the Global IFSA

The IFSA steering committee cordially invites you to join the Global IFSA meeting that will take part during the IFSA 2014 on April 2nd (13h30-17h)
At this moment IFSA Europe has built strong recognition for its dynamics and capacity to capitalize on Farming Systems Research (FSR). Thus, at the 2014 Symposium, IFSA Europe has chosen to re-examine FSR in the context of global issues and widen its influence to a larger audience. This could lead to a greater involvement in advising European decision makers about the future of agriculture and to help them take a broader view on the diversity of farming practices and what it means to those on the rest of this planet. Read more ...


20th November 2013 - PhD-Course Application closing soon

Please note that the closing date for applications to our PhD-course is approaching.
The application will close November 30th, 2013.
We are pleased to have received over 30 applications from young researchers from all over the world already. We certainly want as many young scientists as possible to draw from the vast experience of the IFSA community and thus encourage further applications.
However, we only have limited resources for this course. Therefore we established a waiting list so people applying now will have a fair chance of joining the PhD course. Experience shows that always several places become vacant in the course of the application procedure.


4th November 2013 - Registration for IFSA 2014 now open

the registration for the 11th European IFSA Symposium from 1st to 4th April 2014 “Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies” is now open. The IFSA 2014 steering committee is looking forward to meeting You in Berlin!

Show registration information


14th October 2013 - PhD Course: "Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research: Working strategically with Farming Systems Research" (4 ECTS)

From 30th March – 5th April 2014 including 4 days of IFSA Symposium:

Working strategically to negotiate boundaries for research in a meaningful way in the areas of farming, food, rural areas and environment requires particular skills and abilities: It is necessary to be able to make relevant connections and to contextualize research activities without becoming overwhelmed by potential complexity and uncertainty. The context of the increasingly multifaceted complexity of issues of sustainability and climate change in relation to food production and consumption is particularly challenging for PhD research. It is a context that is however a core part of the IFSA community’s experience. The purpose of this course is to help you, the PhD student, develop your skills in contextualizing your research, to make connections among issues using systems thinking and to so improve your ability to work both strategically and purposefully. The course is also designed to help you build on what other researchers have done.

Learn more


01st October 2013 - The call for abstracts has been closed. The IFSA 2014 Steering Committee is pleased to announce that allmost 300 abstracts were submitted.

The 23 workshops of the IFSA 2014 Symposium reflect the diversity of Farming System research. They are organised under three themes.

To get an overview over the themes and workshops go to the workshop page.

You can also download a list of all workshops including the workshop titles, names and affiliation of convenors and a short description of the workshops. (download file [pdf, 34KB])

The submissions will now be reviewed by the convenors who will invite for full papers by 1st October 2013. A template for full papers and additional information you can find here.

The closing deadline for submission of full papers is scheduled for 31st December 2013.

Papers again will be reviewed.
Only papers which are accepted and being presented will be included in the proceedings of the symposium!

Want to stay informed? Subscribe to our mailing list with updates on all important news and dates concerning the IFSA 2014 Europe convention. (you can unsubscribe here)


The IFSA 2014 is hosted by


Action and Research for Climate Change Adaptation in Land Use
Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 16:00 h
Senatssaal Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Download programme (pdf, 551 KB)

Book of Abstracts now available

The IFSA team is pleased to present the book of abstracts for the IFSA 2014. It comprises the abstracts of all presentations that will be given in Berlin. Even more important it contains all necessary information about the conference itself (maps, workshop locations, complete programme etc.).
You will be handed a printed copy upon signing in.

Download pdf (8,4 MB)

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