GCUA Summer schools

Last changed: 21 March 2018

Each summer we arrange Global Challenges Summer Schools for MSc/PhD students. We aim to train the young bio-economy leaders of the future and provide them with an active global network very early in their careers.

As these young PhDs develop their careers in academia, government, industry or organisations they can rely on obtaining unique information in their fields of interest and entering into joint projects with their global peers.

Upcoming summer school

Oil palm & cattle integration

Food security & climate change summer school Malaysia 2018

Opportunity to learn in Malaysia about palm oil production and cattle integration as a potential sustainability transition.
For students of all programs - application until May 1, 2018.

More information about registration and the school.

Our previous summer schools:

Sustainability Transitions

This was the eight summer school organised in Java Indonesia by GCUA though BOKU. The focus was sustainability transitions in agriculture and natural resource management. Students from GCUA was joining with students from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Phillipines and Cambodia.

It combined training in development and innovation in research and practice; applied development research using participatory methods and tools; facilitating change processes with different stakeholders; intensive systems learning, focusing on agro-ecosystem and the sustainable management of natural resources.

The course was held in Java, Indonesia, during July 10-22, 2017.

Course leader was Lorenz Probst , BOKU.

Reducing Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock Farming

This summer school was arranged by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria 5-13 September 2016. The topic follow the 'Challenging the Post Antibiotic Era’ workshop (for academic staff) held in Uppsala, Sweden in November/December 2015.

The course included challenges and specific problems within the topic of 'Reducing Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock Farming'.  Lectures were held by experienced scientists, the course participants did group work and  went on a memorable field trip to an Austrian farm and to research stations.

Detailed information about the summer course

The course was led by Dr. Konrad Domig and Dr. Christine Leeb.

Why wildlife?

Standing (L to R): Ann Eklund (SLU), Phooi Kuan Chang (University Putra Malaysia), James Ross (Course Presenter), Siew Ann Yee (University Putra Malaysia), Courtney Hamblin (Lincoln University), Carolina Ocampo (Lincoln University), Tim Curran (Course Presenter), Isobel Oldfield (Lincoln University), Stacey Bryan (Lincoln University). Seated (L to R): Örjan Johansson (SLU), Danielle Sisson (University of Melbourne), Mandy Black (Lincoln University), Anna Malmsten (SLU), Robert Spitzer (SLU). Photo: David Hollander.

The GCUA Summer School on topic Why Wildlife was held at Lincoln University, New Zealand 30 January - 10 February 2016. A total of twelve students from four different universities from three continents attended.

Topics that were covered ranged from specifics about the New Zeeland wildlife, experiences from working together with indigenous communities, bioprotection/biosecurity issues and technical and statistical advancements in wildlife research and management, as well as general issues such as science communication and media experience.

The course included interactive sessions, workshops and also excursions, for example to the Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection and the Landcare Herbarium.

Course leader was Dr James Ross


The future of forests

– Managing forests for people

This summer course took place 23 August - 4 September, 2015 at SLU campus Alnarp in Sweden.

The participants consisted of 24 PhD students from thirteen countries, representing 12 different universities. Photo: Lars Drössler.

The objectives of this summer school were to gather an international group of selected graduate students with strong background in forest sciences, forest ecology or natural resource economics. Students were introduced to the Swedish forestry model as a base line for critical discussions, also based upon the student´s experience from their home countries.

New methods of forest management, planning tools and governance for sustainable wood production and biodiversity conservation were discussed, for example thinning machine tools. Photo: Lars Drössler.

A Report on the GCUA Graduate Summer School “The Future of Forests – Managing Forests for People”
Prepared by Ismail Muhammad, Chai Ee Wen and Muhammad Aizat Abd Ghani
Phd Candidates, Faculty of Forestry, University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Contact: Lars Drössle


Green and Sustainable Cities

 – the Landscape Architecture Perspective on Global Urban Challenges

This summer course took place between the 10-22 August 2015 at Alnarpsgården, SLU Campus Alnarp in Sweden.

Participants of the GCUA summer school Green and Sustainable cities, which took place in Alnarp. Photo: Beatrice Hon Jia Qi

The objective of this Summer School on Green and Sustainable cities was to gather an international group of selected graduate students of different disciplinary focus in the fields of Landscape architecture, Landscape Planning, Environmental Psychology, Sustainable Architecture as well as students in Urban design, Physical and Community Planning  with a clear and focused interest in Green and Sustainable Cities.

Through lectures and excursion guiding from distinguished scientists/practitioners within the field, students was presented with tools to address challenges and specific problems within the subject area of Green and Sustainable Cities and got training in leadership and communication. The attendees was also provided with  multiple opportunities to interact with invited scientists and learned from each other and built networks.

Download an evaluation and report from the GCUA summer school Green and Sustainable cities

Contact: Per Berg



Aquaculture – local solutions to a global challenge

22 June –1 July, 2015, Uppsala, Sweden

The GCUA aquaculture summer school, held at SLU campus Ultuna during 22 June –1 July 2015, gathered students from 9 universities representing 14 different countries covering all continents.

Students and teachers at the course held at VHC, Ultuna, Uppsala. Photo: Dirk-Jan De Koning.

During the course challenges and opportunities within the area of aquaculture globally were discussed. Twenty lecturers from SLU and a number of other organizations, such as University of Stirling, Wageningen University, University of Queensland, Makerere University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet, University of Ghent and Worldfish contributed to the course. In addition to the aquaculture specific part of the course, aspects of communication and leadership were discussed and applied during workshops and group work.

As part of the course assignments each student presented a poster describing, the most important aquaculture issues of today and for the future based on their own research and geographical area perspective. Photo: Anna Norman Haldén.

Group works, both interdisciplinary and within disciplines were an important part of the course. Students outlined priorities for research within their disciplines and worked on a scenario for introducing novel species to aquaculture in the interdisciplinary groups.  Photo: Anna Norman Haldén.

Several case studies targeting the global challenges within aquaculture were included in the course. Photo: Anna Norman Haldén.

Natalie Jellinek (SLU), and students at the course are involved in a communication exercise, pretending to be from different planets with different styles of communication. Photo: Anna Norman Haldén.

Different aspects of leadership and how these interact with personality types were taught and discussed during the course.  Students also developed their own leadership profile. Here, Eric Forsmark from Noden is giving a lecture. Photo: Anna Norman Haldén.


The Future of Food

 – safety, quality and security

This summer school took place 1 – 10 September 2014 at Campus Ultuna in Uppsala, Sweden.

Students and teachers on the at the Summer School in September 2014 Photo: Viktor Wrange.


Biofuels and Biorefineries

This summer school took place at Ultuna in Uppsala in November 2013.

The course provided the participating PhD students with an overview of how organic raw material is refined to solid, liquid or gaseous biofuel. The course covered the production of biofuel in solid form (chips, pellets), liquid fuel (bio ethanol, syngas fuel like methanol) and gaseous fuel like methane from anaerobic digestion of biomass.

Teachers and students of the course outside the Biocenter at Ultuna, Uppsala. Photo: Ievgeniia Tiukova.

The biogas process results in a degradation residue, called digestate, which serves as an excellent fertilizer. Photo: Anna Schnürer.

The course participants at a study trip to Lantmännen Agroetanol to see how grains are refines into ethanol for the fuel market. Photo: Mats Sandgren.

A study visit to a bio-ethanol production facility. Photo: Mats Sandgren

In Uppsala, the town buses are fueled by biogas and they get new gas here. Photo: Anna Schnürer.




Ioannis Dimitriou
Deputy Director, SLU Global
Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Crop Production Ecology
ioannis.dimitriou@slu.se 018 672553, 0702474583

SLU Global supports and develops SLU's commitment to improve the situation for people in low-income countries based on the Globals Goals of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

SLU Global
Vice-Chancellor's Office

Agricultural Sciences for Global Development
PO Box 7005, SE-750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 7


Page editor: malin.planting@slu.se