Saving the World isn’t Rocket Science: Building capacity to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services

Saving the World isn’t Rocket Science: Building capacity to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services


Our society is inextricably tied to nature; humanity depends on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. A growing demand for natural resources puts increasing pressure on local management to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services while addressing environmental challenges. The need for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services is global, and ambitious goals have been set by international conventions to tackle the issue. But to make progress, we need to act both locally and globally to make changes, establish targets, move toward goals, and evaluate our progress. This is what capacity building is for: after defining a problem, a set of tools are developed to support long-term problem-solving. Capacity building relies on a wide range of interdisciplinary skills and expertise.

4 nature photos combined

Relevant competency

Capacity building is an interdisciplinary approach, and we welcome students from all fields to join the village! The only requirement is that you are willing to think creatively about how to create positive change at the intersection of human society, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Diverse personal and academic backgrounds are very welcome.

Capacity building includes a vast range of approaches (see the table below for just a few examples), so we are confident that every student has a unique and valuable contribution to make.     

Some of the many approaches to capacity building

Approach Goal
Education Increasing society’s competence and understanding of environmental issues
Access to existing knowledge Making data on biodiversity and ecosystem services accessible to those who can use it
Building the knowledge base Producing new relevant scientific knowledge for policy and management needs
Research Connecting research with management needs
Communication Communicating with decision makers and the public
Internationality Participation in international assessment processes
Equity and environmental justice Reducing inequities in environmental health and empowering all to participate in local environmental management
Networking Sharing knowledge, cooperation, establishing connections
Creating resources Securing funding and legislation changes for more effective management


About the village

Students in this village will work in interdisciplinary teams to examine how capacity building could facilitate conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. There is a great deal of flexibility to develop a project that aligns with students’ own interests and skillsets.

We encourage students to develop a project within one of five broad project themes:

  • Sustainable urban development
  • Sustainable agricultural production
  • Biodiversity resilience to global changes
  • Responsible ecotourism

At the same time, we encourage students to think outside the box and bring their own ideas and perspectives to the topic.

Students are welcome to seek out external partners to inform their project development, and are encouraged to develop projects with real-world relevance. Village supervisors can assist with forming connections to external partners.


In this village, the project report and the compulsory presentation of the project is replaced by an oral exam that counts for 50% of the grade. The oral exam is assessed according to the same criteria as the project report.


How do I register for EiT?

Infoboks nettpresentasjoner

Viktig informasjon om EiT:

  • Det unike med EiT er fokuset på samarbeidskompetanse og gruppeprosesser.
  • Undervisningsformen i EiT forutsetter at alle bidrar og er til stede hele semesteret. Derfor er det obligatorisk tilstedeværelse hver landsbydag.
  • I motsetning til mange emner er spesielt de første dagene viktig i EiT. Det er da dere i gruppa blir kjent med hverandre, og diskuterer hva hver enkelt kan bidra med. Dere skal også utarbeide den obligatoriske samarbeidsavtalen, samt begynne å utarbeide en felles problemstilling.
  • Utfyllende informasjon om Eksperter i team finner du på siden for studenter.