The Summer School for Young Researchers has been a successful part of the Sumforest activities. The participants showed the result of their efforts at the final Sumforest conference.
One very appreciated part of the conference “Bridging research, policy and practice for sustainable forest management” was the presentation of the posters made in the Summer School. In all pauses of the conference the participants had the opportunity to have a look at the posters and a chat with the creators. There were posters about forest fires and their correlations to the Turkish elections, agroforestry and a lot more.
The 25 Summer School participants came from the eastern partnership countries, the North Africa Mediterranean countries and Russia. There were 15 women and 10 men from diverging sectors in the ages 25–35.
One aim of the Summer School has been to integrate young researchers from the regions mentioned above into the transnational research community. In the Summer School they have trained and developed skills that translate knowledge into practice.
The four days in Barcelona was the second stage of the summer school – the first stage took place in Minsk in June this year. At the second stage the participants trained their capacity to communicate their research skills and results and to network in an international environment. The days where filled with lectures and training in writing professionally, how to present and communicate in different environments and purposes.
Better start on the scientific life
Elena Kulikova has been the project leader of the Summer School.
Why is the Summer School important?
– Any support of young researchers is very important because they are just entering the world of science. But our summer school was important probably twice because many of our participants belongs to the group of countries (Russia and Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) with particular problems and needs identified during forest research capacities mapping done during Sumforest project. Those indicated needs are:
- Recent historical background and difficulties countries are currently still facing
- Need to stimulate and enhance the international cooperation and provide targeted support and coordination efforts
- Need to undertake a set of measures in the area of forest research management and networking between EU, Russia and EaP countries
- Need to ensure and increase efforts in capacity building in forest research with the focus on young generation
Are there similar projects somewhere in the world, any partners to cooperate with?
– For example, we at EFI have also a practice of EFI Winter Summer Schools. They are targeted at early stage researchers and PhD students in forestry and environmental science, and aims to increase their awareness and knowledge of socio-economic research.
Sumforest wanted to integrate some researchers from countries outside of Europe – what is the result?
– Yes, it integrated also participants from some North Africa Mediterranean countries: Algeria and Tunisia and Turkey. The matter is that previous ERA-NET project Foresterra was devoted to forest research in the Mediterranean countries and also dealt with forest research capacities mapping. And we found that there are something in common between North Africa Mediterranean and EaP countries and Russia. They are facing the similar problems in forest research sector: closed down or diminished scientific institutions, reduced financing, reduced staff, aging processes, broken or lost connections in international cooperation including calls for proposals and research projects, lost the experience in publishing in international journals, participation in international scientific events etc. So, we decided to arrange this school with integration of young researchers from this part of the world too.
What is the main outcome of the Summer School?
– Technically, the main outcomes for the 1st stage Summer School were produced by the groups of participants shorten versions of project proposals in a H2020 format. The second school brought another set of technical outcomes: 25 scientific posters produced by the participants and presented during the final Sumforest conference.
– However, from my point of view, the broader outcome is that we achieved our aim: not only technical capacity building, but better integration of new generation of young forestry researchers from EaP countries, Russia and North African Mediterranean countries into the transnational research community.
– I hope that the participants obtained knowledge and skills which are so important for their future life in science: proposals development, articles writing, presentations skill, etc. At the same time, they also obtained many friends and contacts for international cooperation in future. Finally, some of them can already use a real opportunity to participate in the announced new ERA NET ForestValue call.
Has the Summer School fulfilled your expectations?
– Yes, to a very big extend and even exceeded my expectations.
These are the areas of forest research reflected in poster session:
Sustainable forest management (SFM)
Forest and climate, biomass and carbon stock
Forest geoinformation systems
Forest disturbances, pests and diseases