Thor Heyerdahl Summer School in Environmental Governance

Creative Commons/Ulrich Heither

There was no course in 2015. We are working on ensuring the financial basis for possible future continuation.

Thor Heyerdahl Summer School

Thor Heyerdahl Summer School (THSS)

"The Summer School offers PhD Fellows / young researchers the opportunity to develop high level skills in analysing environmental governance issues. More specifically the summer school series will deepen participants’ insights about the political and economic processes that give rise to environmental problems and what characterises the presently instituted solutions – both their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, participants will expand their capacity to both formulate and evaluate new environmental governance strategies". (Source: Thor Heyerdahl Institute)

The Summer School offers an arena for critical reflection on the present status of both theory and practice, and an opportunity to discuss alternatives to current developments and solutions. The Summer School usually organises one 10 ECTS course per year.

The idea behind this summer school is to bring renowned researchers in environmental governance to work with a selected group of PhD students/young researchers from all over the world, creating an international forum for students of environmental governance. 

Thor Heyerdahl Summer School 2014

The third THSS took place 16-27 June 2014 with the topic 'The Green Economy'. A series of highly renowned speakers participated in the course including Richard Howarth, Tim Jackson, Sharachchandra Lele, Sian Sullivan and Heidi Wittmer. The course focused on the frontiers of theory formation and empirical analyses regarding ‘the green economy’. The concept is loaded with very different meanings, as it is connected to different traditions within economics. It also links up with ecology in various ways. We observe two major developments regarding ‘the green economy’ in recent times: the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB) and the UNEP green economy initiative. In relation to practical policy, this development is very much characterized by a push towards using economic valuation and ‘market-based’ instruments to ensure provision of ecosystem services. These developments are heavily discussed among defenders and critics. The aim of the 2014 course was to offer opportunities to delve into these issues through getting a better understanding of the theoretical controversies and the practical implications. 

Read more about THSS 2014.

The first THSS was organised in 2011. The topic was ‘Environmental governance: Institutions for sustainable development’.  Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom attended as speaker and hence set the tone and standard for the summer school series. The second course was organized in 2012 with the title ‘Global Environmental Governance’ including speakers like Frank Biermann, Clive Spash and Oran Young.

The Summer School is organised by the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Professor Arild Vatn is responsible for convening the whole series.

The Summer School is established in cooperation with the Thor Heyerdahl Institute. The Norwegian research institutes CICERO, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) support the school by participating in planning and lecturing.

The Summer School is also supported by the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) and the Earth System Governance Project.

Published 3. July 2014 - 14:34 - Updated 7. October 2015 - 14:18

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Contact us

Phone +47 67 23 00 00

Fax +47 64 96 50 01


Visit us