Previous NOVA courses

All previous NOVA courses organised by the network in the past few academic years are listed here. Some of these courses are recurring and may be offered again. Some might be of interest, and repetition could be requested.


Current and future plant disease management

Organised by: Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). 4 ECTS. Time: 1. March. - 5. May 2024. Weekly virtual meetings through March and April (ca. 90 minutes each) followed by a 6-day intensive course. In-person period: 28.04.24 – 03.05.24. Location: Hotel Honne, Biri (Norway) and online. 

Application deadline: 16. February 2024. Application method: via appliacation form


Venue for intensive course week: Hotel Honne, Biri (Norway). Honne can be reached by train (75 min) from Oslo airport. Pick-up at the station will be organized.

Course content: The course will provide comprehensive insight into modern and future approaches to control of plant diseases in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. There will be particular focus on sustainable plant health measures, including the utilization of molecular tools and an omics-perspective, as well as forward thinking cultivar development.

Prerequisites:This course is aimed at PhD candidates working on projects within plant pathology or adjacent fields. PhD candidates from universities that are members of the NOVA network will be given priority. Advanced master students and postdocs who recently defended their thesis may also register for this course, however, PhD candidates will be given priority.

Course format: The course consists of two parts with mandatory attendance:

A virtual seminar series, where students present and discuss current scientific literature related to the course content. The seminars will be held weekly for 6-8 weeks (depending on number of students) ahead of the in-person section of the course. Seminar literature will be announced latest one week ahead of the seminars.

Intensive course at Honne (Norway) consisting of lectures by international experts, discussions, social activities, and poster presentations by the attending students.

Assignments: Each student will be expected to present one research paper and prepare a poster, which they will present at the in-person course week. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with presented literature ahead of seminars.

Course costs: Registration is free for PhD candidates from universities that are members of the NOVA network. However, students will have to pay for travel and accommodations during the course week in Honne. Accommodations will cost 7650 NOK for single rooms or 6900 NOK for shared rooms

Contact and/or course organiser: 

Gene editing for plant breeding

Organised by: University of Helsinki - Faculty of Agricultura and Forestry (UH/AF).

Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences.

Field of Teaching: Plant breeding and genetics, crop science and biotechnology.

Course Level: Postgraduate level/ Doctoral or equivalent third cycle (EQF level 8)

/ Graduate students/(Master or equivalent second cycle (EQF level 7).

ECTS: 5. Time: June 2. – 7. 2024. Location: Tvärminne Zoological Station, Finland.

Gene editing techniques were introduced in plants ten years ago and are rapidly spreading. Gene editing allows targeted mutations in the plant genome without transfer of foreign genes and the outcome is a designed mutation that is often indistinguishable from natural variants. The students will learn principles of gene editing and how to design editing experiments. Examples of how gene editing is used in plant breeding are given. Students will also learn how legislation applies to gene editing.


The course is intended for PhD students with basic knowledge of plant breeding and genetics, crop science and biotechnology. Students with plant breeding related research in their PhD project will get priority. If place allows master students with relevant thesis research will also be admitted.

Conduct of the course

The course will include a mix of lectures given by teachers and student presentations on assigned topics that cover the course curriculum.

Students will earn their credits by preparing and holding a lecture on their assigned topic as well as presenting a poster on their thesis project.


  • Teemu Teeri, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Hanna Haikka, Boreal Plant Breeding Ltd, Finland
  • Timo Hytönen, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Outi Manninen, Boreal Plant Breeding Ltd, Finland
  • Alan Schulman, Natural Resources Institute, Finland
  • Thomas Jacobs, VIB, Belgium
  • Hrannar Smári Hilmarsson, LBHÍ, Iceland
  • Morten Lillemo, NMBU, Norway
  • Per Hofvander, SLU, Sweden

Application deadline: April First, 2024.

Contact and/or course organiser: Teemu Teeri

Greenhouse gas exchange across the sub-Arctic

Organised by: Agricultural University of Iceland, Aarhus University, Lund University

Course Level: Postgraduate level / Doctoral or equivalent third cycle (EQF level 8) + Graduate students / Master or equivalent second cycle (EQF level 7).

ECTS: 5. 

Course period: 28 May - 28 June 2024

The course introduces the concepts of scaling point measurements of GHG gas exchange to local scale using Remote Sensing with drones (UAV) for mapping at sites where there are also ongoing large-scale measurements of GHG exchange with eddy covariance technique. It is also using present-day methods for joint teaching and joint data analysis in groups doing similar measurements at three different field locations, using file-sharing, on-line cooperation, and Jupyter Notebooks as virtual research environment (VRE). This will reduce the course’s carbon footprint. The course includes an intensive field week in early June that will simultaneously take place at: i) Stordalen, Abisko in Sweden, ii) Oulanka, Finland and iii) Laekur, W-Iceland. Both advanced master level- and PhD students in Earth System sciences are invited to apply for the course

Course schedule

The course is divided into three periods:

On-line introductory period is from 28th of May until 7th of June 2024 with lectures, discussion forums and hands-on exercises. The student workload will be ca. 4 working days during this period.

The second period is the intensive fieldwork at one of the three locations during 10 to 14 of June. Travel to and from the field sites will be on 9th and 15th of June. The student workload will be 5-7 whole working days during this period.

The final period, again on-line, is from ca 24 to 28th of June with hands-one training, joint data analysis and reporting. The student workload will be ca. 5 working days during this period.

Organisation and funding

The course is part of the ABS Nordic network ( project “We belong – contributing to a sustainable development of international education”, funded by NordPlus higher Education (NPHE-2022/10074), and the EU project Greenfeedback (Greenhouse Gas Fluxes and Earth System Feedbacks, EU HORIZON-RIA). The course is also supported by NOVA – The Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network, through Agricultural University of Iceland.

The course is a free-standing graduate course at Lund University and Aarhus University and formally registered at the University of Oulu (course: NP00AS42), Agricultural University of Iceland (course: 08.36.02).

Application deadline: 03 March 2024

Animal Welfare and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Organised by: Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU)

Course Level: Postgraduate level / Doctoral or equivalent third cycle (EQF level 8)

ECTS: 3. Dates online 17 - 20 June 2024

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a wide scope, but the role of our domesticated animals as well as wild animals, including fish, is hardly mentioned and their welfare is not mentioned at all. In this course the links between animal welfare and sustainability will be explored and in particular the synergies with different SDGs.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

Assess relationships between animal welfare and the UN sustainable development goals and integrate animal welfare issues with their relevant sustainable development goals.

Relate their own research to animal welfare and the UN sustainable development goals.

Map and present some major knowledge gaps related to animal welfare and sustainable development.

Actively participate in cross-disciplinary discussions on future challenges and solutions related to animal welfare and sustainable development.

Application deadline: 20 May 2024. Applications by email to

One Health: concept, cases and methodology

Organised by: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health

Last taught: 11 - 22 March 2024


We will give a theoretical overview of what the One Health concept is, and why a one health approach is necessary to provide efficient solutions to the global challenges of our time. We will describe the benefits (and drawbacks) of transdisciplinary research and how transdisciplinarity is used in this context. Theoretical lectures will be mixed with presentations of successful one health cases. Methods commonly used within the one health concept will be presented, e.g. including artificial intelligence, epidemiology, bioinformatics, and qualitative research methods.


Participants will present their own research project to the group and after the first course week they will give a second presentation describing how the project could be developed using one health concept and methodology. The second week, students will be divided into groups and given the task to come up with a one health research project, and a skeleton for a research application. The second week will also include lectures on how to write a transdisciplinary research application, with emphasis on impact and communication.

Admitted to a postgraduate program in animal science, biology, veterinary medicine, food science, nutrition, nursing, or other one health related subjects, or to a residency program in veterinary science.

Wood Biology and Biotechnology

Last taught: 12 February to 15 March 2024.
Organised by: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology. 5 ECTS.
Location: Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden and online.

The main objectives are to familiarize the students with the biological process of wood formation, generation of variability in wood and selected contemporary approaches for studying wood biology. This knowledge is prerequisite for developing wood biotechnology aspects in the future by the students. Current status of wood biotechnology will be presented.

The course topics include wood organization, structure, chemistry and mechanics in conifers and hardwoods, from the molecular level to the tissue organization level, followed by an update on molecular, genetic and physiological aspects of wood cell differentiation and cell wall formation. Practical tools for wood analysis and wood biology studies, including traditional and advanced microscopy, atomic force microscopy, microfluidics, and wet chemistry methods will be demonstrated and hands-on experience with bioinformatics tools available for trees will be included.

Program outline
Cellular wood development, variability of wood structure in a tree, wood ultrastructure
Microscopy techniques to study wood
Practicum in wood anatomy
Poster session and social activities
Hormonal control of wood development
Molecular networks regulating wood development and secondary wall biosynthesis,
Mechano-sensing control of wood development
Demonstration of AFM and microfluidic system
C flux to cell wall
Biosynthesis of cellulose
Biosynthesis of matrix polysaccharides
Wet chemistry of cell wall analysis
Poster session and social activities
Biosynthesis and biotechnology of lignin
Lunch with teachers.
Research seminars on current projects related to cell wall biosynthesis.
Tree bioinformatics resources of UPSC
What can be learnt from bioinformatics resources for trees
Practicum on using plantgenie – students will follow their own questions.

Pre/post-course assignments
The students will receive literature to read before or after the course, and should bring a poster related to their PhD project.
For the full 5 ECTS credits, the students are required to participate in all course activities including social activities, poster presentation, and discussions, as well as complete and obtain an approval of a written assignment within 3 weeks after the course. The written assignment will be a short review or a short project proposal within the topic of wood biology and biotechnology, reviewing min. 15 original research papers, approx. 3 pages long.

Application deadline: 12th of January 2024. Registration for NOVA-students
Contact and/or course organiser: Professor Ewa Mellerowicz  
More details

Sustainability transitions: theories, methodologies and applications in urban and rural environments

Last taught: 31 October - 5 December 2023. Location: University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The course provides a pluralist view on various theories, methodologies, and research practices of sustainability transitions. The course is centred on individual work assignments, 7 expert sessions held by renowned international experts in their field, and a joint seminar. Personal work focuses on theoretical and methodological knowledge and research skills, while group work emphasizes dialogues, mutual learning and interdisciplinarity. The course will be offered in a hybrid mode, but live presence in the session days is much encouraged since group work cannot be fully accommodated in hybrid mode, thus necessitating supplementary assignments. In order to make the live learning experience more powerful, the sessions will include lectures, panel discussions, and co-creative research. An excursion will be directed to sites that portray the advances and challenges in sustainability transitions in urban and regional contexts.

Registration for NOVA-students
More details

Fish and fisheries ecology

Last taught: 31 October - 15 December 2023. 
Organised by: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). 
Location: Institute of Marine Research at Lysekil, Sweden and online. Application deadline: 10th of October 2023. Application method: via email:

This course is developed for PhD students interested in fish and fisheries ecology. The course will provide advanced knowledge in fish and fisheries ecology, including assessment and management practices of aquatic resources. The course will present recent advances in fish and fisheries ecology with specific relevance to ecosystem-based fisheries management and other selected research themes. It is based on a series of seminars covering a broad range of research topics and activities of relevance in the field. The course is running and includes a three-day physical workshop and four online seminars. An important part of the course is that the topics discussed during the course has a clear link to the students’ PhD projects.

Registration for NOVA-students
More details

Understanding infectious diseases by fusing epidemiology, genetics and modelling

Last taught: 25 - 29 September and 10 October 2023.
Organised by: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
Contact and/or course organiser: Andrea Doeschl-Wilson and Lotta Rydhmer

The course is arranged by the Graduate School for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (GS-VMAS) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and funded by the Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network (NOVA) and GS-VMAS.

The course focusses on the collection, curation, statistical & quantitative genetic analysis of experimental and field data of infectious diseases, and on dynamic prediction models. Infectious disease data are incomplete by its very nature and the course will clearly outline all the challenges related to handling these data and how to make meaningful inferences and prediction models.  The main focus of the course is on farmed animals, but the majority of theory and tools covered can be adapted to plant or human diseases.

The course will provide participants with an understanding of and the ability to apply basic principles of epidemiology, statistical and genetic analyses of infectious disease data and epidemiological modelling. Students will be able to assess the quality and scope of quantitative genetic and epidemiological analyses of disease data and interpret the results of diverse modelling studies.

Digestion of colloidal systems

Last taught: 4 - 25 September 2023.

Organised by: University of Helsinki - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UH/AF)


Doctoral Programme in Food Chain and Health

The attendees will learn the basics of digestion and absorption of Food, the gut barrier and its effect on oral bio accessibility and bioavailability of nutraceuticals, simulation of human gastrointestinal digestion (standardized INFOGEST protocol), interesting recent in vitro and in vivo studies and the trends in the future, the effect of colloidal delivery systems (e.g., micelles, emulsions, micro and nano emulsions, Pickering emulsions, multilayer emulsions, hydrogels, liposomes, phytotomies, solid-lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers, nanocrystals, oil bodies, and composite nanoparticles) on the oral bioavailability of nutraceuticals, how to enhance satiety and address noncommunicable diseases using colloidal science, oral tribology and its impact on satiety, and the future trend of colloidal aspects of digestion. The attendees will also participate in a short practical digestion simulation session (half an hour) using our laboratory's standardized static in vitro INFOGEST protocol.


Þekking á sviði sjálfbærrar nýtingar auðlinda, umhverfis, skipulags og matvælaframleiðslu.


Hvanneyri - 311 Borgarbyggð
Sími 433-5000
Kt. 411204-3590
Rafrænir reikningar