ALTER-Net, Europe's ecosystem research network. Latest news and information on the ALTER-Net Summer School

”I liked how well balanced everything was. I especially liked that the controversies about ecosystem services was addressed and they were not brushed under the carpet. I liked that different perspectives were presented to us and we had the option to decide and think for ourselves.”

”The summer school exceeded my expectations on course content, practical work, hospitality and social occasions. ”

”The summer school in Peyresq was more than I had imagined, regarding both content and the total experience – socially and professionally.”

”I went to the Summer School with many questions in my head, but came back with even more... but also with a lot of new friends!”

”... a good arena where to exchange ideas, experiences and meet with researchers – practitioners from similar, but also various other relevant fields.”

”The course exceeded my expectations. I was very unsure and timid going into it and thought I might be quite out of my element, but the atmosphere in Peyresq is so relaxed and by the end I felt so much more comfortable speaking my thoughts and concerns.”

”A modern-day School of Aristotle, where lecturers learn as much as students - if not more”
- M. Sharman

”...a unique opportunity for young European researchers to come together, to focus on interdisciplinary issues and to develop personal networks...”
-K. Baadsvik

For all enquiries concerning the Summer School, please contact:

Marie Vandewalle

Science Policy Expert Group,
Department of Conservation Biology,
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ,
Permoserstraße 15,
04318 Leipzig,

Phone: +49 341 235 1636

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the ALTER-Net Summer School e-newsletter. This is the first broad e-Newsletter from ALTER-Net presenting our successful Summer School which has  been running for the past 10 years.
You are receiving this message because you are on our regular e-newsletter mailing list and we think you may be interested in taking part in the 10th ALTER-Net Summer School, which will be held from 2-12 September 2015, in Peyresq, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France. Alternatively, you may want to advise a colleague about the school.
This and one reminder will be the only messages you will receive specifically about the Summer School, unless you register to receive further Summer School e-Newsletters or apply for a place at the school. To join the Summer School e-newsletter mailing list:

1. Click update subscription preferences in the footer of this e-mail
2. On the preferences form that appears in your browser, look under 'Please also send me:'
3. Choose 'ALTER-Net Summer School e-newsletter'
4. Click the 'Update Profile' button

You will receive the next Summer School e-newsletter we send.
With the following lines, we want to briefly introduce you to the Summer School, and invite you to register and get in touch with it via different means, including on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

The ALTER-Net Summer School and its 10th anniversary

Open to young graduate and post-graduate scientists from both within and outside the network partners, the ALTER-Net Summer School provides an innovative atmosphere for thinking about and resolving the sustainability challenges that society is currently facing. Our Summer School aims at contributing to the durable integration and spread of excellence within and beyond the network, with a view to promoting interdisciplinary approaches.

The ALTER-Net Network organized its first Summer School in September 2006 in Peyresq, France, where it has been held ever since. The topic back in 2006 was Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Ecological and Socio-economic Aspects.

The school was created to develop a unique opportunity to explore this important issue with about 30 like-minded students and young scientists and around 20 renowned researchers and experts on the topic. The key recipe for success is the balanced combination of “out of the box thinking” lectures, providing many challenging questions, plenty of discussion time during and between the lectures, all balanced with a range of informal activities. Not forgetting an essential ingredient; a heavenly location in the remote Alps!

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ALTER-Net summer school. The main legacy is without any doubt an impressive network for life, friends and colleagues met during 10-days spent together in the village of Peyresq, whom you can call up to for discussion or expert advice. Last year, 31 students from 20 countries around the world attended the Summer School, representing a broad range of disciplines. Although still biased towards natural science, the aim of the Summer School is - increasingly - to create an environment for studying the challenges relating to biodiversity and natural resources in an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary way.

Once more, for the 10th time, the Summer School will focus on biodiversity and ecosystem services and the interdisciplinary challenges of conserving and ensuring their sustainable use.
Topics will include valuing ecosystem services, the use of scenarios, arguments for nature conservation, the ecosystem approach, participatory methods for ecosystem service assessment, governance and conservation, climate change, resilience and adaptability in both human and natural systems, habitat loss and fragmentation, business perspective on biodiversity and the challenge of communicating science.
From September, 2nd to 12th, students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds, together with teachers, conveners and tutors will meet in Peyresq and we can’t wait for the magic to happen once more…
Registration is now open until May 15th 6pm (CET). Please see the ALTER-Net website ( for further information, e.g. the eligibility criteria, the important dates and further testimonials from previous students. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Marie Vandewalle.

Important dates and deadlines

Please note that the proposed dates may be subject to slight changes; please check the website regularly for the latest update.
Application Deadline: 15 May 2015 at 6pm (CET)
Selection notification: 5 June 2015
Confirmation of attendance: 12 June 2015
Tuition payment deadline: 31 July 2015
10th ALTER-Net summer school: 2-12 September 2015

Related events & groups

ALTER-Net conference: Nature and Urban Wellbeing: Nature-Based Solutions to Societal Challenges
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Dates: 18-20 May 2015
Programme: See provisional programme online
Registration deadline: 30 April
Together with the European Commission and under the auspices of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, ALTER-Net is pleased to host an international conference on Nature-Based Solutions. Relevant to research in many disciplines and communities, to EU policies and to practitioners, 'Nature and Urban Wellbeing' offers rich possibilities to share, learn and connect.

First International iDiv Summer School: Biodiversity Synthesis
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Dates: 23-29 August 2015
Lecturers: confirmed teachers include professors Jonathan Chase, Tiffany Knight, Nicole van Dam, Nico Eisenhauer, Stanley Harpole and Henrique Pereira
Target group: Doctoral researchers working with biodiversity topics and with a strong interest in biodiversity synthesis (also early-stage postdocs and advanced masters students can apply)
Programme: keynote lectures, discussions, field excursions, hands-on exercises, participant presentations and group work
Registration deadline: 26 April
Funding: funded slots will be available for a limited number of applicants thanks to support from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
For more information and registration instructions, please visit our website:

BSPIN network
BSPIN is an international and interdisciplinary network of currently 70 early career scientists (ECS) interested to engage in science-policy interfaces (SPIs) related to global biodiversity policy. We focus on institutions such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Our mission is to link young scholars interested in SPI processes within the field of global biodiversity policy and to improve their capacities to actively engage in them. WE believe that ECS have great added-value for SPI processes: introducing new perspectives and framings of real-world problems and, thus, making SPIs more inclusive and more effective.

BSPIN has four major objectives: i) supporting ECS in feeding in their knowledge and expertise into the respective SPIs, ii) building capacities of ECS to appropriately involve in SPI processes, iii) communicating the potential of ECS in contributing to SPIs to increase their recognition within SPIs, and iv) conducting and discussing transdisciplinary research as is the foundation of such processes.

More information on the BSPIN network:
Twitter: @B_SPI_N

YESS network
YESS is an initiative started by a group of early career ecosystem service researchers. To date, YESS has over 100 members with a combination of post-graduate students, early-career scientists and practitioners. The primary aim of the group is to stimulate an exchange of ideas, identify knowledge gaps and improve possibilities for training and capacity building in relation to ecosystem service science and practice. A second focus of this initiative is to develop ideas for ecosystem service related projects and elaborate these into funding proposals. The main regular activities of YESS include the monthly Journal Club, where an article is discussed via an online platform; the YESS quarterly newsletter to keep members and non-members up-to-date on the network; the organization of workshops, usually within the ESP World Conference; or the joint writing of discussion papers.
More information:

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Kind regards,
ALTER-Net Summer School Conveners
Copyright © 2015 ALTER-Net, All rights reserved.

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