The fourth edition of the Research School on Forest Ecology and Management of Agrotecnio and the CTFC focuses on mental health and scientific data management

Oct 27, 2023

The fourth edition of the Research School on Forest Ecology and Management, a joint initiative of Agrotecnio and the Centre de Ciència i Tecnologia Forestal de Catalunya (CTFC) through its Joint Research Unit (JRU), was held in Lleida on 26 and 27 October.

The sessions, aimed at PhD students from both centres, sought to improve their presentation skills, discuss their results in an academic environment and facilitate collaboration between JRU research groups and other entities. Through presentations, debates and workshops, as well as informal activities, this conference is held annually and alternatively at the CTFC headquarters in Solsona or Agrotecnio in Lleida.

The 2023 school began with a welcome address by Roser Maneja, director of research at the CTFC, who highlighted the importance of promoting and encouraging collaborative and innovative research. Maneja highlighted the interest of inter- and multidisciplinary training, synergies and better communication between technical, scientific and institutional staff. “I think this school is the perfect agora for this and I hope that these days will be inspiring and useful, not only for those who are starting but also for those who are about to finish,” she said. The scientific director of the CTFC also pointed out the opportunity to address the issue of mental health, “which has traditionally been undervalued in the scientific community. I believe that scientific excellence is necessary, but excellence in human relations is even more important”.

During the rest of the day, researchers from both centres presented their theses and discussed mental health in academia in a collaborative workshop focused on common problems of doctoral students, with the aim of finding solutions and ideas to mitigate them. To end the first session, a “botanical hunt” was organised in teams at the Arboretum of Lleida, an open-air museum of almost seven hectares with more than half a thousand species of trees and shrubs from four arboreal biomes and up to 16 forest environments.

The second day of the School focused on the management and communication of scientific data through a workshop given by Aitor Ameztegui, who stressed the importance of visualising data before, during and after analysis.

The JRU between Agrotecnio and the CTFC has existed since 2019 and was created with the aim of carrying out joint projects on the management of Mediterranean forests and the environmental threats they face. Just one year later, in the middle of the pandemic, the research school initiative was launched, an initiative managed by research staff in the early years of their research career.

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