Originally uploaded by Soil & Water Science
In collaboration with my colleagues John Quinton (from Lancaster University LEC), Kathryn Alton (from the British Society of Soil Science BSSS) and Helaina Black from the JHI in Aberdeen, we ran a week long NERC funded doctoral training course for soil PhD students focussing on PG level soils. I was PI and the run up to the course had been quite time consuming and had posed a few worries and headaches, but supported by the great team it all came together very well - thanks to all the inner team and to the additional contributing lecturers (David Powlson, Jac Hannam, Dick Thompson, Willie Towers, Sacha Mooney, Wilfred Otten, Matt Aitkenhead, Andrew Binley).
We had 24 students and what was so exciting was that we were using some funky techniques for the lectures and teaching. Both John and I have made some training films (with Dependable Productions, a terrific company led by my long term friend Richard Critchlow, so good to work with) on soil-water transfers and soil-security and we have asked the students to work with us to make two more after the course. Additionally, we also ran some live lectures by the team, and some of these are still available as a legacy from John on Soil Security, Helaina on Soil Biology (can be viewed here and by myself on soil water transfers. Throughout the cpousre we were running questions and live interatiosn on twitter (#soilunderfoot)
We also tried some working group activities where we asked teams of students to consider a high level soil science question which had to be presented back to the group in 'The Apprentice' style on the final morning. It proved highly successful and was also a lot of fun. Congratulations to 'Team Kathryn' for winning he student vote for the best proposal!
We had some terrific some feedback from the students.
"I wanted to say thank you to you all for a fantastic week at Soil Underfoot. I have learnt so much and look forward to going through all the material you very kindly put up on moodle for us. It was a great opportunity to meet other people in the same sector and get to know more about the current research that is happening all over the county and beyond, also to hear what your visions of the future are.
I do hope that you are able to run course like this in the future so others can gain from the experience (even the late nights). I got a lot out of the group challenge just getting in to that mind-set was a challenge. I thought there was a nice balance of field work with lectures and practical sessions."
Karen Walmsley, Harper Adams
and how about this news just in....
I am pleased to inform you that I defended successfully today my PhD thesis titled ''Mobility and Bioavailability of Arsenic in Ochre Amended Soils''.Thank you for organising the NERC Doctoral training course, 'Understanding the soil underfoot'. It helped me in the preparation for my viva.
Joseph Olimah, University of Reading
All worry was worth it! Congratulations and thanks to all, some photos from the final day taken by Dependable Productions are here.
Lancaster, 12th March 2014