Courses & Activities

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PE&RC (co-)organises a broad range of courses and activities. Apart from initiatives of the PE&RC office and PE&RC staff members, activities are organised based on request and on suggestions by the PhD candidates themselves. This request can either go directly to the PE&RC PhD Programme coordinators (Claudius or Lennart) or via the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC) that represents and acts on behalf of the PE&RC PhDs. An overview of the different types of activities we (co-)organise and/or support, is given below:

Postgraduate courses
  • Topical courses: courses on a specific scientific topic or issue. In these participatory courses active learning is central and participants contribute to the output of the course (e.g. project proposal, white paper, review). The courses generally last one week and are comprised of lectures by international specialists on the topic, discussions (convened by the participants), group work and group presentations. Examples include: Microbial Ecology, Spatial Ecology, Photosynthesis in a changing world, Bugs at your service, and Consumer-resource interactions;
  • On-site courses: the same scope as the topical courses but these courses generally last two weeks and are given on-site in a country where to topic or issue that the course deals with can be well demonstrated. Examples include: Land Dynamics: Getting to the bottom of Mount Kenya (Embu, Kenya), Farming systems analysis (Wondo Genet, Ethiopia);
  • Methodological / statistical courses: courses that deal with advanced, specialised methodology in statistics, modelling or other analytical tools. Examples include: Introduction to R for statistical analysis, Multivariate analysis, Bayesian statistics, Structural Equation Modelling, and Geostatistics.
Competence, skills and career-oriented courses and workshops

These courses are organised under the umbrella of Wageningen Graduate Schools (WGS). In total there are about 30 courses and workshops, that can be subdivided into:

  • Writing and presenting skills;
  • Communication and management skills;
  • Career-oriented courses / Assessment;
  • PhD Competence Assessments (assessment giving insight in competencies as organising capacity, analytical thinking, collaboration and personal characteristics and identifies potential pitfalls and how these can be tackled);
  • Ethics courses;
  • Working in an Interdisciplinary Environment;
PE&RC Discussion Groups

These consist of a multidisciplinary group of scientists who meet on a regular (monthly or bimonthly) basis and discuss scientific issues / papers (e.g., key publications, PhD manuscripts and proposals, new developments in scientific theory). The function of PE&RC discussion groups is to:

  • Obtain information, ideas and insight on research;
  • Discuss key articles to obtain insight in current ecological / agricultural theory;
  • Present research plan and data during various stages of the PhD trajectory;
  • Learn to present research results, both orally and written;
PE&RC Retreats
  • PE&RC First Years Retreat: this three-day activity is held twice a year and focuses on the process of doing a PhD and working in an academic environment. Various aspects (pitfalls, challenges, drawbacks, and advantages) of performing a PhD are highlighted;
  • PE&RC Midterm Retreat: this two-day activity for PhD candidates that are about halfway down the PhD track is focused on reflecting what has gone well in the first phase and what could be improved in the last phase. Also, progress in relation to fellow PhDs is evaluated;
  • PE&RC Last Years Retreat: this two-day activity for PhD candidates in the final phase of their PhD focusses on the last stretch and specific challenges that lie ahead (preparation of the thesis, meeting the set deadlines), reflection on what has been learnt and where one stands, and career orientation and plan of action;
PE&RC Annual Meetings, Seminars & Workshops

Annually, the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC), with support of PE&RC Office, organises the PE&RC Day on a challenging and "hot" scientific topic that has a broad basis of interest within the Graduate School. Furthermore, PE&RC regularly organises seminars, symposia, and master classes which cover issues falling within the scientific realm of the graduate school.