In the autumn of 1991 and 1992, with the patronage of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE), the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti organised two one-week courses in Venice, Italy, for a small group of doctoral students in environmental and resources economics from all over Europe. In the autumn of 1995 and 1996, similar events took place at the Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands, with financial support from the Dutch National Science Foundation.
In view of the success of these initiatives, EAERE decided to organise these workshops on a permanent yearly basis. For this purpose, a partnership with the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and the Venice International University (VIU) was created. Since 2000, EAERE, FEEM and VIU have been successfully running their annual European Summer School in Resource and Environmental Economics, usually held in Venice and hosted in the VIU campus. Up until now there has been only one exception to this fortunate partnership: in 2002 the Summer School was held in Lavagna, Genoa (Italy), organised in co-operation with FEEM and the Interuniversity Centre for Game Theory and its Applications (CITG).
The immediate aim of the Summer Schools is to provide advanced training to European doctoral and post-doctoral students in specialised topics relating to the field of environmental and resource economics. The topic is established by the EAERE Council and varies every year. The issues proposed generally reflect lively areas of current research and policy interest. The reasons for organising it at a European level are:
(i) no single higher education institution has the critical mass of either staff or students to organise advanced training in specialised topics, so there are clear benefits to collaboration;
(ii) given the relatively small number of PhD students in the field of environmental and resource economics in any single European country, many benefits arise from collaboration between different nation states;
(iii) to attract the very best teachers in Europe and the US to lead the Summer School, to the obvious benefit of the students;
(iv) given the diversity of environmental problems facing different European countries and the policy responses to those problems, there are clear pedagogic benefits to students learning about these different approaches, and the Summer Schools provide first-hand experience of sharing these ideas by dialogue with students and staff from other countries;
(v) the benefits from networking with other staff and students extend beyond the period of the Summer School, and establishing contacts can be renewed later at conferences and other meetings;
(vi) these broader benefits accrue not just to the students but also the staff. During the week they get a chance to discuss ideas with other researchers on a more sustained basis than what is often offered by a conference, and also get the chance to meet some of the best young PhD students in Europe, to learn both: what they are doing, perhaps spot possibilities for future collaboration, and to spot potential recruits into research/teaching posts;
(vii) more generally, the Summer Schools also serve a broader objective of training a cadre of young researchers on European issues of environmental and resource economics who may be encouraged to be more mobile in their selection of subsequent employment within Europe;
(viii) EAERE has the instrumental wish to build loyalty to the association of the new leading European researchers in the field of environmental and resource economics.
Only EAERE members may apply for the School.
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