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Scientific analysis of transition and change processes related to animal agriculture (2020)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD
Time of year: November 2020
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: In total approximately 160 working hours (see ‘Course contents’ below)
Capacity limits: 25 participants

Objectives of the course:
The aim of this course is to enable the PhD student in understanding, planning and analyzing research with focus on change and transition regarding daily practices, farming strategies and social change related to animal agriculture.

Learning outcomes and competences:
After finalising the PhD course, the students will:

  1. Have gained theoretical knowledge and understanding of key concepts related to change, transition, and innovation, including diffusion of innovation.
  2. Have a basic understanding of the scientific foundation for working with processes of change, e.g. how change of strategies and practices are motivated and facilitated, involving the relevant actors in the research.
  3. Understand important drivers, levers, incentives, motivations and barriers for change on farm, farmer, advisor, policy and societal levels.
  4. Being able to conduct a study where ‘change over time’ is properly considered, analysed, and reflected upon, including study design and considerations of development over time and / or stepwise.
  5. Be able to structure the first steps of their own research which involves studying processes of ‘transition’, ‘change’, ‘innovation’ and one or more actors whose roles are also discussed and possible analysed.  
  6. Being able to judge and behave according to ethical codes and conducts in research, which involves actors and sensitive change situations, and in relation to action research.

Compulsory programme:

  • Active participation in course Monday-Friday (see attached tentative program
  • Write a report plus a realistic and refined plan for how to conduct an actual study.
  • An oral exam will be conducted in the autumn 2020 in person in Aarhus (can be on skype depending on the location of the students).

Course contents:
The course is based on presentations and lectures given by the course teachers, who represent a wide range of expertise areas and backgrounds. The learning style will be based on stimulating a progressive participatory learning curve which the participants practice at all course days. The participants will develop potentially relevant elements of their own study every day, and the assignment will be the refinement of their own research plan. The course also includes a combination of group work (discussions of relevance both for own studies and for general competence development in the field) and plenary discussions in the small group of participants.

See the course program suggestion for further information on the content.

Participants are expected to deliver approximately 160 working hours divided between:

  • Course: 5 days in November 2020, including lectures, participant presentations, practical exercises and group work.
  • Preparation: literature, own presentation.
  • Written report based on own future research project, submitted spring 2021
  • Oral exam based on the written report, with presentation of the report (10 minutes) followed by discussions. This can take place over skype or face-to-face meeting, depending on the location of the student and the examiner. The course leader will participate in all exams, and at least one more will be present. All course assignments are read and approved by at least three course teachers.

This course targets PhD students and researchers within veterinary and agricultural sciences working with farmers, organisations or practicing advisors or vets, and with scientific questions for their research, which has to do with assessing effects of changes. This can be applied at all levels, e.g. in relation to strategies, environments, management, legislation, institutions, consumer expectations, business opportunities, or any other change or driver of change. It can be changes in antibiotic use, conversion to organic farming, introducing innovative strategies like cow-calf-systems or agroforestry, or changing strategies related to e.g. increased biodiversity or climate change issues.

Name of lecturers:
Please see the course website.

Type of course/teaching methods:
Presentations and lectures

Please see the course website.  

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Course participation, written assessment and oral performance during exams.

Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University

Special comments on this course:

  • This course has never been conducted before.
  • It is conducted in collaboration with the research projects GrazyDaiSy (led from ANIS, although finishing spring 2021), and the EU project ROADMAP (where ANIS is WP leader).
  • The participants have to organize their own accommodation. A package with coffee, break snacks, lunch and on some days dinner, will be offered to the students (approx. 300 Euro) and they will pay it directly.

2-6 November 2020

A classroom at Aarhus University, Campus Aarhus.

Applications for participation are accepted until 19 October 2020. Please apply through the course website

Applicants will be asked to fill a form when they sign up asking about their motivation and backgrounds, to inform the course and direct the readings.

If you have any questions, please contact course leader Mette Vaarst, e-mail: mette.vaarst@anis.au.dk.

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