A summer school series – the Thor Heyerdahl Summer School in Environmental Governance – is established at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The series aims at giving PhDs and young researchers the opportunity to develop high level skills in analyzing environmental governance issues. It offers the opportunity to critically reflect on the present status of both theory and practice in the field, and to discuss alternatives to present developments and solutions.

The first course is on ‘Environmental governance: Institutions for sustainable development.’ It will run from June 20 till July 1, 2011. The main focus will be on the institutional foundation of environmental governance and how issues at global, national and local scales are linked. Specific challenges related to creating sustainable development will be emphasized. Various policy areas will be explored like climate change, biodiversity preservation, pollution and land use.

Several internationally renowned researchers will participate as lecturers. Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom will participate as keynote lecturer at the 2011 event. Professor Ostrom is especially known for her studies on the role of self governance and the capacities of local communities to craft their own rules to manage environmental resources. Over the years Ostrom has increasingly focused also on issues related to global environmental policy. Other keynote speakers include Katharine Farrell, Ashwini Chhatre and Clive Spash

The Summer School is open to PhD students and young researchers who have completed their PhD degree within the last 4 years of the application deadline (February 15, 2011). Priority will be given to applicants from social science oriented programs or interdisciplinary (combined social and natural science) programs. Priority will moreover be given to PhDs, but we wish to include a few young researchers as well.

The summer school series is organized by the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB). Professor Arild Vatn is responsible for convening the series. The Thor Heyerdahl Institute is actively engaged in developing the project and its financial basis. Other partners involved are Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) and Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO).

The summer school is endorsed by the Earth System Governance Project together with the International Society of Ecological Economics and the European Society of Ecological Economics. More information is available at http://www.umb.no/thor-heyerdahl-summer-school.