Alternet Summer School

Alternet Summer School

Open to graduate and postgraduate scientists (as well as professionals in related fields), the Alternet Summer School creates an innovative atmosphere for considering and resolving the sustainability challenges that society is currently facing.
Peyresq, a picturesque village in the Haute-de-Provence Alpes, provides an unparalleled setting for dynamic discussions and transdisciplanry learning.

Last year’s programme theme was entitled: Biodiversity and societal transformation: perspectives on science and policy.

About the Alternet Summer School

Biodiversity and societal transformation: perspectives on science and policy

Biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, with serious impacts on people around the world. The Alternet summer school focuses on the challenge of biodiversity management and conservation by exploring drivers of biodiversity loss, and the role of ecological knowledge and social science approaches.

We debate the potential of concepts such as valuation and nature’s contributions to people. We also examine how various initiatives at the science-policy interface embrace these concepts for decision-making, and with what success. Finally, we discuss the need to develop inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches, and working with stakeholders to foster the transformative change needed to bring society onto a sustainable path.

Sessions for 2022 included:

  • Can the ecosystem service and nature’s contribution to people concepts help engage stakeholders and local decision-makers?
  • Climate change, biodiversity and intergovernmental processes
  • Nature’s contributions to people, IPBES and diverse values of nature
  • Re-situating Homo sapiens: world views in science and policy
  • Rewilding
  • Should we price nature to save it?
  • The honest broker in practice         
  • The science-policy landscape: European and global perspectives
  • Towards a social-ecological system thinking
  • Transformational change: an environmental psychology perspective
  • Transformations towards sustainability                      

Confirmed speakers: Brooke Wilkerson, Emilie Crouzat, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Fabien Quetier, Francis Turkelboom, Bruno Locatelli Marie Vandewalle, Mario Torralba, Martin Sharman, Melissa Marselle, Estelle Balian, Nicolas Dendoncker, Peter Bridgewater, Hilde Eggermont, Roger Pielke Jr., Sander Jacobs, Christine Frison, Sybille van den Hove and Wolfgang Cramer

View the 2022 programme.

Activities and participation

The Alternet Summer School is held annually in Peyresq, a remote mountain village in the Alpes de Haute Provence, south-eastern France, home of the Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc Foundation. The programme of activities includes:

  • Morning talks and discussion with 20 invited speakers
  • Afternoon group work on a mutual learning project about the local social-ecological system and its possible futures 
  • Aperitif talks prior to dinner
  • Field trips to the mountain pastures used by local shepherds and the Parc National du Mercantour
  • Free time in the evenings for leisure and further discussion

The summer school is open to graduate students, post-graduate scientists and professionals from environmental and social science fields with an interest in sustainability science. All participants are expected to actively contribute to all aspects of the summer school.


The village of Peyresq is a rustic, picturesque site in the French Alps (Alpes de Haute-Provence) situated about 1520m above sea level. The village is partly owned and managed by the European Association for Culture and for Artistic and Scientific Humanism Peyresq Foyer d’Humanisme, a Brussels-based philanthropic foundation which has assigned the village as a location for scientific and cultural meetings.

Peyresq has hosted the Alternet Summer Schools each year since 2006.

2022 Registration Closed


Most of the costs of the Summer School are covered by Alternet but students are asked to contribute: €900. This covers full attendance at the summer school and all local costs, including accommodation, meals, refreshments, and field trips. Travel costs must be covered by the participants or by their institution.

A small number of support grants to waive part or all of the student contribution are available for students from developing countries.

Contact us

For all enquiries concerning the Summer School, please contact:

View the 2022 programme.

"A modern-day School of Aristotle, where lecturers learn as much as students - if not more."

Martin SharmanSummer School speaker

Summer School 2022

Biodiversity and societal transformation: perspectives on science and policy

The 16th Alternet Summer School was held in Peyresq from 20-30 September. The 2022 theme programme was: “Biodiversity and societal transformation: perspectives on science and policy.”

Eighteen nationalities were represented among this year’s students–from Columbia to China, Norway to Ukraine, Ireland to India.

Summer School Conveners

Allan Watt

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Marie Vandewalle

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Uta Frisch

Eurac Research

Nicolas Dendoncker

University of Namur

Brooke Wilkerson

University of Bergen

Emilie Crouzat

French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)

Biodiversa+ actively supports the organization of the 2022 Alternet Summer school.