36 young scientists from Europe and China attended the first EJP SOIL PhD course on soil systems

EJP SOIL scientists and high-class researchers from across Europe and the US were invited as lecturers to introduce their research on soil system sciences, emerging micro-analytical techniques and to engage in dialogue about the challenges and the future of the soil research discipline.

The PhD course on Soil Systems aimed at linking the disciplines of soil physics, soil chemistry and soil biology that have been considered and studied individually. The course focused on interactions between these disciplines on the macro-, meso-, and microscale.

Students from China, Denmark, Finland, France, Lithuania, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden attended the course consisting of 3 literature meetings, a four-day workshop and a final meeting. For the workshop, 12 high-class researchers from across Europe and the US had been invited to present their soil science research from a ‘Soil Systems’ perspective.

The high number of participating students was primarily possible because the course was given as an online event. The online version enabled students to listen to high-class researchers from across Europe and the US, that otherwise might not have been able to contribute to the course. The students were able to make a first contact with the researchers and engage with them during the discussion sessions.

"I personally enjoyed the course and the interaction with so many interested students from different countries. As an organizer, I was very pleased to have lecturers that are very experienced in their field of research and know how to motivate larger groups of students – also online!", says Dr. Katharina Meurer, EJP SOIL PhD course organiser, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil & Environment.

EJP SOIL aims at strengthening early career researchers and young scientists as well as strengthening inter-institutional collaboration, scientific capacities and cooperation across Europe.


Student testimonials:

  • Overall, I really enjoyed the course and found it very interesting and useful. The only negative thing I can think of is that the course was online (but of course, it was better to have it online than to cancel :))
  • The course was really good, providing us with very interesting dimensions for the soils systems as complex ecosystems.
  • The activity was really well organized, and well structured.
  • Relevant lectures and presentations.
  • I was able to learn new things about soil systems. The organization was excellent, and the course made me better prepared for the EJP-Soil activities.
  • The activity was rich and full of research knowledge. It was very interactive.
  • Very interesting lecturers and discussions.


In brief on the participants:

  • A total of 36 students registered for the course
  • 31 students participated in all course elements (literature meetings and workshop)
  • 19 of those students were affiliated with EJP SOIL partners
  • 8 of them were involved in EJP SOIL projects or otherwise supported by EJP SOIL (e.g. visiting grants)


 EJP SOIL education, training, and capacity building

A work package (WP5) is dedicated to building capacity in soil science education and training in the short and medium term, both at individual and institutional level.

The PhD School program offers EJP SOIL associated PhD students a PhD School with contributions by multiple partner institutions in the EJP SOIL programme. The subjects in the PhD School curriculum with in total five courses will be aligned with knowledge gaps and challenges identified in the Roadmap and in funded research projects. The PhD School will provide the PhD students with training in a varied set of general competencies, and stimulate educational development among partner institutions. Hence, the EJP SOIL PhD School will contribute to strengthen the capacity for early career scientists in frontier research, as well as create networks among early career researchers and teaching capacity across EJP SOIL partner institutions.

The table below show the preliminary PhD course titles for the four upcoming EJP SOIL PhD courses:


For more information:

PhD course organiser: Katharina Meurer, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, katharina.meurer@slu.se