Interdisciplinary PhD summer school

Interdisciplinary PhD summer school 15.01.2019

Interdisciplinary PhD summer school - Methods and strategies to monitor and manage human impact on urbanized protected areas (UPAs)

Maasmechelen, Belgium 
May 6-11, 2019

After a first succesful summerschool in 2017, Hasselt University is organizing the second PhD course on the management of urbanized protected areas (UPAs) integrating expertise from different disciplines.


Monitoring and management of UPA - During the last decades, outdoor recreation has become progressively more important, especially in UPAs, while biodiversity continues to decline by human-induced stress such as tourism, road infrastructure and urbanisation. In this arena of conflicting demands, careful planning of the area, its infrastructure and activities is needed to sustain the value of UPAs. In this process, stakeholder participation and visitor management are very important, in order to develop effective management strategies.

Interdisciplinary approach – The development and implementation of effective UPA conservation management strategies requires an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, the summer school uses building blocks from different disciplines: environmental biology, tourism, transportation sciences, urban and landscape design, architecture, environmental law and environmental economics. National and international experts offer methodological approaches which are applied by interdisciplinary teams of students who jointly work on addressing conservation management challenges.

National Park Hoge Kempen as a research case - The summer school will take place in the Field Research Centre (FRC) of Hasselt University located at the main entrance of the Hoge Kempen National Park (NPHK), Connecterra, Terhills. The NPHK is a protected area in a highly urbanized area, and is of great value to the region as a natural environment and as a tourism destination. Although the methodological approach will be framed in a broader context of UPA, the NPHK will serve as the case study on which the theories will be applied.

Target Audience

The group of participants consists of 15 PhD students at the beginning or middle of their career in the area of biology, environmental economics, environmental law, architecture, urban and landscape design, and transportation sciences, or with a profound interdisciplinary interest in the above areas. Interested students are invited to apply to participate to the school by filling out the registration form on, including a motivation of 300 words by January 20.