PhD Training

A New Learning Line

The TERRANOVA training programme offers shared learning and co-production of knowledge through learning by doing research and will be characterised by i) excellence in research, ii) interdisciplinary work, iii) intersectoral exchange to stimulate ESRs to cross boundaries and reach for innovative solutions and iv) communication, dissemination and exploitation of methods, outcomes and knowledge.

The training programme is based on three training scales (local, inter-local and network-wide) applied over four energy regimes that can be found throughout the entire programme. TerraNova offers a unique multi-site training programme integrating significant European players in landscape history, planning, cultural heritage and the future sustainability of the European landscape.

In addition to a dedicated supervisor, each ESR has two co-Supervisors from different disciplines and sectors. Moreover, each ESR will spend up to three secondments at another institute to acquire new skills for individual projects. Secondments support cooperation between the teams enabling each ESR to i) mature as independent, internationally oriented re-searcher, ii) be exposed to different disciplines and (non)academic work environments, iii) experience the daily practice of landscape management and re-wilding scenarios, and iv) discuss major issues in long term sustainability, food security and energy supplies for negotiating the transition to a low carbon society.


All beneficiaries and partners involved have a long-standing, excellent track record in training and research in the various fields of natural and cultural landscape studies, having already hosted local and international Masters and PhD programmes.

Each ESR will be tutored both by the Principal Investigators of their hosting and secondment institution, at least one of which is nonacademic. At the start the ESR together with the supervisors will draw up a Personal Career Development Plan , detailing tutoring arrangements and individual skill-training needed, along with an individual time schedule.

Weekly meetings (or bi-weekly electronic video/Skype/teleconferences) are arranged with supervisors and other project members (e.g. laboratory/field workers and other local PhD students) to discuss ongoing work. The ESR is required to attend relevant lectures, conferences and workshops external to the TerraNova network, such as local PhD programmes, where relevant to get exposure outside the consortium. 


Work visits 

ESRs will spend Short Term Stays (1-2 weeks) with other network partners, and 7-8 months on secondments at partner institutes. Furthermore learning opportunities exist for interactions with visiting researchers. 

Short Term Stays – TerraNova promotes local Short Term Stays (STS) with the non-academic partners, to gain experience and skills in the public and private sector. STS are included in the PCDP . 

Secondments – The secondments provide ESRs with targeted interdisciplinary and intersectoral exposure (see 4.5 for schedule). Each ESR will spend at least a three-month secondment at one of the participants in another sector than their host institution. There are three main rounds of secondments between the different disciplines and sectors (months 15-18, 21-23 and 26-28). This allows partners to provide the best facilities for training the ESRs (max. three visiting ESRs per participant) 

Visiting researchers – Interactions with visiting academic and non-academic researchers will improve ESR skills. These visits are scheduled in the Career Development Plan in relation to STS and secondments, and will be updated every 6 months at the TAFS meetings.

Network-wide training 

TerraNova Academy Field School (TAFS) Each TAFS is organised in: a) 2 -day of Core day conference (CDC) where all 15 ESR projects will be presented and discussed, b) 2-day Intensive training programme (ITP) focussed on promoting interdisciplinary, intersectoral, and transdisciplinary understanding, with strong contributions of non-academic partners and external experts, and c) 2-day Field based study programme (FBS) organised by the local partners of the TAFS meeting.

TAFS meetings are thematically based on the four landscape energy regimes (ER) and their three transitions, starting with ‘Hunter/Gatherers’ in TAFS I and finishing with the future ‘Low-carbon society’ in TAFS VII. At each of the seven TAFS meetings, ESRs will learn to reconstruct the landscape histories and legacies, to rethink the balance between nature and culture, and to discuss future landscapes with respect to the particular energy regime phase or transition phase in focus. TAFS are hosted by the laboratory areas most relevant to the thematic ER of that week.

Our partners ELO and IUCN (with an extended European network in sustainable development, environmental conservation and protection, renewable energies and responsible use of natural resources) will host the 6th TAFS with the theme Green Transition in Brussels.

Next to network-wide training and work visits, interdisciplinary learning curves between ESRs are stimulated, during regularly scheduled video-conferencing, interactive webinars and electronic data exchange which are designed to follow a similar information traffic flow as described in the WPs:

  1. ESRs of WP2 will deliver data from research laboratories to ESRs of WP3, WP3 presents insights from updated atlas images to WP2;
  2. Reconstructions of ancient landscapes are communicated from WP2 to WP4 and questions to what is needed for policy guidelines for landscape management from WP4 are posed to WP2;
  3. WP3 provides WP4 with atlas images for landscape management, and with future climate scenarios that will update policy guidelines. 
ESR supervison inputs