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New international educational program on Europe's water

Press release
2008-03-13

This autumn a unique educational program will start, directed from Uppsala University and with eight institutions of higher education in six countries providing students from all over Europe with an opportunity to learn the best from each university. As a bonus, they will acquire a broad knowledge about how various lakes and waterways can function depending on local conditions.

The EU Water Framework Directive from 2000 urges member countries to base their water management and planning on entire catchment areas and not county borders and the like. This has prompted reorganization, increasing Europe’s need for people with competence in the field of water management. This autumn an entirely new and unique educational program at the advanced level will be starting on the initiative of the Department of Limnology, Evolutionary Biology Center. The program, “Ecocatch – Ecological Management of Catchments in Europe,” is a so-called Joint Master program, offered in collaboration with seven other European universities. “What is unique is that the students can actually study at all of the universities, combining courses in a coherent and carefully designed program. After comprehensive preparatory work to ensure that admissions and examinations will work well, we are now busy with the fun part – planning the course contents!” says Associate Professor Anna Brunberg, who is coordinating the project and has been truly enthusiastic from the beginning. In its journey from the sources to the sea, through the catchment area, water passes many different ecosystems and environmental conditions. Integrating the effects of different ecosystems requires a broad knowledge of aquatic as well as terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, conditions vary a great deal across Europe, depending on whether you are; in the flat landscape of the Netherlands with its artificial lakes, in the environs of Uppsala’s River Fyrisån, or alongside Abiskojokk, a mountain stream that drains into Lake Torne Träsk in the most northern part of Sweden. “All of the collaborating universities bring their own unique competence, and this clearly enhances the quality of the program. At Uppsala we know limnology, Umeå knows geo-ecology, Porto gives courses in soil and water purification technology, and Amsterdam provides soil ecology, for instance,” says Anna Brunberg. Students from all over Europe can apply for the program, and the countries will take turns providing the introductory course where everyone meets and gets to know each other. This autumn it will be at our field station on Lake Erken, Norrtälje, Sweden. Some of the instruction will also take place via an Internet-based platform where the students will work together with various assignments. Then they can choose in which country they wish to do their final thesis work. The collaborative partners are Uppsala University and Umeå University in Sweden, Universidade Catolica Portugesa and Universidade do Porto in Portugal, Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France, University of Sussex in England, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in Holland, and Universitatea Alexandru loan Cuza Iasi in Romania. Contact: Anna Brunberg, phone: +46 (0)18-471 27 27; e-mail: Anna.Brunberg@ebc.uu.se Read more at: http://www.ecocatch.eu