17-30 September Örvényes, Lake Balaton and Valencia

This two-week summer school will focus on sustainable land use and municipal planning through the combination of four different problem areas of rural areas: water management, forestry, sustainable agriculture, the decline and ageing of their population. These challenges will be introduced with both Hungarian and Spanish examples in parallel - showing the different realizations of the same problematic topic throughout Europe. Our participants are encouraged to pin point local and global solutions while they learn to identify local and general trends out of the local flavours and vice versa.

Rural areas are highly effected by climate change. Even though EU agriculture is technologically developed, its capacity to deliver food and to contribute to ecosystem services for the European society is directly dependent on climatic conditions. European small communities will need to define their strategies for production, farm management and investment in face of increasing uncertainty.

The unsustainable usage of the natural resources increases the effects of global warming, erosion and biodiversity loss. Choice of land use methods and types has a dramatic influence on the environmental footprint. The inadequate agricultural cultivation not only destroys the soil locally but also has negative effects on the running water and the ground-water. Forestry activities such as silviculture determines the forest capability to fulfill its function as natural habitat. These and many other land use related decisions will define the pathways for the human society towards more sustainable land use strategies and practices.

From a sociological point of view these small communities are losing their attractiveness especially in the eyes of young people who are moving to cities. This phenomenon is generating larger and larger urban areas which become more and more vulnerable to climate change creating longer and longer value chains. Therefore, the well-being of rural areas and their capacity to keep their population are crucial to urban areas as well.

Global climate change certainly increases several risks of the rural areas putting under pressure the rural economy and population. The overall aim of our course is to find effective multidisciplinary tools to improve the livelihood and income generation capability of the small European communities while we increase the resilience and the environmental services of the area.

Participating PhD students will have to face and choose from 4 challenges:

Water – How to use it sustainably?
Lake Balaton and L´Albufera Lagoon are main assets of our examples: Örvényes and Valencia. How can they be used more effectively – other than a swimming pool; what can the water give to the local community, and what can the local community do to preserve them?

The Forest - Bunch of trees or habitat?
What is the role of forestry in the environment? How can we protect these functions and still have gains out of it? Through the examples of the Örvenyes primary oak forest from the early 18th century and the forest of the small Spanish town Serra we are looking for solutions to make forests sustainable and climate-friendly investments.

The Field – Dig deeper!
Which direction is local agriculture headed? How can we improve the fields and the life of the people working on them? A large area of grassland and weed that gives the heat and drought adaptive local fauna and flora in Örvényes; its south facing hills with grapes that have been cultivated for more than 500 years and the Simbiotic multidisciplinary project about sustainable agriculture at Llíria, Spain will give you the opportunity to ideate about a better land use and an improved sustainable use of natural resources.

The Society - Integration
The peri-urban territory of Valencia (‘huerta’) is an agricultural land with high productivity. Its complementary challenges are to raise awareness on agriculture use, to avoid its abandonment and to analyse the functionality of this peri-urban agricultural area. Örvényes has 138 mainly elderly residents, but during the summer months the population can reach over 1000. What problems do inhabitants of the ‘huerta’ and Örvényes face? What are their needs? How can we answer these needs through sustainable land use?

Who can participate?
The participation in a PhD thematic summer school is part of the Climate-KIC PhD programme. All Climate-KIC PhD students should take part in a thematic summer school in their second or third year.

Furthermore we are happy to welcome students pursuing their PhD outside of Climate-KIC and who are interested in climate change topics. Post-graduates with outstanding skills and motivation to participate are also invited to apply.

The Catapult will be held in English, in order to participate, students should have sufficient language skills. Therefore, short interviews might be conducted with the applicants to test their English skills and their motivation.

Why join our PhD Summer Schools?

Take action on climate change
Don’t sit by the sidelines, take action on climate change, turn your research into practice and help create real solutions!

Influential qualifications
We offer you career-enhancing qualifications of the highest quality designed to extend and deepen your knowledge. You will receive tuition from the brightest academic minds in the fields of climate change, innovation, system thinking and entrepreneurship, located in the best academic institutions across Europe.

Learning by experiencing
Expand your horizons by linking your individual research project to real-life low carbon innovation activities (in specific thematic areas) and on the ground challenges.

Career advancement
Climate-KIC provides you with unrivalled professional opportunities. Our combined network of academic institutions and innovative corporations is a unique opportunity to realise your career aspirations and extend your professional contacts.

Personal development
You are tired of standardised education and want to be able to sharpen your own vision for climate change and innovation? We are dedicated to help you explore and realise your own vision for climate change by mentoring and practical support.

Network and community
You become part of an unprecedented, active and influential network of entrepreneurs, businesses, regional governments and academic institutions. After attending our Catapult you automatically become a member of the Climate-KIC Alumni. Here you will receive access to the other community resources such as entrepreneurship support, research opportunities, and networks with our partners.

You will also be the first to receive opportunities from within our community including job opportunities, research and innovation projects and start-up matching.

Our Summer School at the Lake Balaton and Valencia is a unique opportunity for you to:

  • Develop the key transition skills and capabilities towards more climate resilient rural communities
  • Improve these capabilities in a safe and supported environment lead by coachesUnderstand international best practices, approaches while receiving new perspectives
  • Work with adaptable, applicable and practical tools
  • Gain an insight into common EU regulations with country specific information
  • Meet and exchange ideas with all the main and international actors in the sector of rural development
  • Meet people from other cultures and disciplines
  • Engage in international networking opportunities
  • Get away from your regular work environment
  • Enjoy the summer abroad
  • Receive a Climate-KIC certificate

Practical application of concepts will be showcased in excursions and site visits where participants will see in place the low carbon initiatives and projects to mitigate climate change affecting the areas. Additionally, the programme will provide enough space to interact with practitioners and main local stakeholders (public and private) to grasp key learning elements during the visits and discussions.

This is an opportunity for you to strengthen your talent and knowledge and attract new ideas and opportunities for deepen in your research. You will get away from your regular work environment, meet people from other disciplines and cultures, engage in international networking opportunities, link with overseas partner institutions, and enjoy a warm and lively experience!

How to Apply and Fees – as in the other Catapults
Application Deadline: 28 July, 2017

Programme Overview
The programme is organized at two locations, the first week at Örvényes, Lake Balaton, Hungary, and the second week is in Valencia, Spain. The group will be accompanied with two coaches all along the programme.

The participants first ideate about possible solutions to the challenges with the help of different experts and coaches. Then they will work in small groups to further develop their solutions. Throughout the programme participants can learn about rural development related to agriculture, water management, forestry. The work will be supported with different transition management tools such as stakeholder analysis, visioning, backcasting, etc. The business opportunities of the solutions will also be examined and presentation skills will be improved to present the solutions to the expert jury on the final day.

Soon more information will be available about the speakers, coaches and the agenda.

Contact person: Orsolya Barna (orsolya.barna@climate-kic.org)