Last changed: 13 April 2022

Aims and objectives

The research school key objective is to support graduate students working in the subjects of Rural development, Landscape architecture and Environmental communication.

A basic objective of the research school is to provide stability and structure to the PhD program and to strengthen the research within and between the different disciplines at the Department of Urban and Rural Development: rural development, landscape architecture and environmental communication. The school creates an arena that based on the humanities and social science perspectives works with interdisciplinary issues that are central to SLU, with a particular focus on the problems attached to agriculture and forestry.
The research school focuses on offering support to graduate students working in a wide area including issues related to environmental design, policy, land use, natural resource management and planning.

Among the important research to develop are subject-specific theories and methods in the environmental interpretive disciplines, and research on landscape architecture practice and history. This research is within the design science, but is closely related to research in the social sciences and the subject of history. Another important field is the social aspects of sustainable development, governance mechanisms and effects of policies affecting land use, social and cultural organization, natural resource management, and issues concerning the relationship between city and country. Since the three subjects included in the graduate school work on similar issues, methods and theories in many different parts of the world, great opportunities for comparative approaches, both in research and in education are created.

The objectives of the research school are:

  • Develop and strengthen the graduate program at the department through improved structure and coordination, particularly with regard to the general courses
  • Support research student networking and internationalization through networking with other departments conducting research on similar issues
  • Prepare PhD students for a career after graduation inside or outside academia
  • Strengthen cooperation on research with other research schools and departments within the university
  • Increasing synergy between graduate programs and the various research projects underway at the department
  • Support the work of the department to extend cooperation in postgraduate studies with University of the South (Africa, Asia, South America)
  • Support the work of the department  in order to develop further cooperation with European universities in the research education. 

Research School content

Support from the faculty has enabled a gathering of the department's forces around the postgraduate program. This means that the research school gives our postgraduate education continuity. Through social continuity discussions and learning are encouraged and deepened, both on the postgraduate program as a whole as well as each students' individual project. It also creates a community that works as social support. The research school offers students a sense of belonging by offering and providing a common range of courses and seminars, and becomes a natural way to introduce new PhD students to the group.

By encouraging and facilitating PhD student’s participation in conferences, seminars and research applications, both nationally and internationally, PhD students contribute to networking. There are already established commitments and collaborations with e.g. SIDA's capacity-building activities and the research school will encourage participation in these types of activities. The courses offered also provide the PhD students with opportunities to meet and socialize with students from other disciplines both within and outside SLU.

The research school is actively involved in efforts to establish contacts that can open career opportunities outside academia. Collaboration with SLU's other graduate schools, including the so-called career/trade and industry days, is important.  The research school also arranges meetings with representatives of actors/areas particularly important for the research school's students, such as The Swedish Association of Architects (SAR), The Swedish Rural Network, the county administrative boards, etc.

The research school has developed into a hub around which the departments' research activities are communicated and discussed. The research school is continuously involved in the department’s research acitivites, and is working on actively engaging the PhD student’s tutors in the school's activities. Not least important is that the research school in an articulate way presents a substantial part of the social science research conducted at SLU.

The research school intends to extend current events with several seminars and workshops, as well as activities that are student-run. An important goal is to expand the activities that appeal to multidisciplinary meetings.