More about training

Within our training program, we follow a multi-tiered concept, which is based on

(1) research-based learning within the individual PhD projects,
(2) state-of-the-art method training and short courses,
(3) secondments at industry and high-level research affiliations, and
(3) teaching communication skills.

Partners within the ALErT Virtual Campus and locations of courses to be held in network-wide training, unit-specific training, and transferable skills training.

Partners within the ALErT Virtual Campus and locations of courses to be held in network-wide training, unit-specific training, and transferable skills training.

Research-based learning is based on defined thesis projects (see research). Each PhD student will get profound training within the specific areas of research at the hosting institution. Training will provide lab and computer proficiency, as well as knowledge in frontier research topics. All students will be forced to get in contact with the scientific community through participation at international conferences and own publications.

Fieldschools and methodology short courses include general topics suitable for all participants, and unit-specific courses that are tailored to address specific methodological tasks. Courses will cover the full breadth of aspects of tectonic and climatic impacts along plateau margins, such as tectonic geomorphology, paleoseismology and seismic hazard analysis, paleoclimatology and paleolimnolgy, as well as GIS and 3d-vizualsiation. Field courses will provide an introduction to geologic field mapping, the use of terrestrial LiDAR scanning and differential GPS, and industry-style geophysical data acquisition.

To adequately prepare our graduate students to tackle current challenges in the geosciences, it is crucial to have them interact with skilled professionals from diverse scientific and industry backgrounds. The ALErT Virtual Campus therefore will mobilize PhD students and expose them to outstanding scientists and industry partners from the participating institutions providing them with opportunities to apply their theoretical knowledge in defined periods of secondment. For each PhD student we are seeking to arrange secondments at our partner institutions for a minimum time-span of 6 months.

The training in communication skills and knowledge transfer will ensure that students of the ALErT Virtual Campus will complement their scientific training with methods of knowledge transfer to the public. The transferable skills will be taught by professionals in communications fields through courses in (1) oral-communication, (2) writing, (3) visualization, and (4) utilizing electronic media (such as film). During a field compaign, all members of the ALErT campus will be trained in on-site collection of video and audio reports that can be posted online alongside daily blogs.



List of training modules:

A1 – Fieldschool Southern Turkey. Mandatory
Methods in assessing tectonic and climatic forcing: the southern CAP margin. Students will study the most recent structural and magmatic evolution, including the vestiges of explosive volcanism, the relationships between geophysical anomalies, topography, and morphotectonic characteristics, as well as the role of surface processes in shaping this region. Through regional stratigraphic correlations, the participants will assess long-term to recent deformation rates and develop a regional context for understanding data collected during Fieldschool II. (10 days; coordination: UniRoma3, ITU).

A2 – Fieldschool Seismic refraction. Mandatory
Methods in assessing tectonic and climatic forcing through acquisition of industry-style marine geophysical data: the marine record. Students will learn to assess the onshore/offshore character of recent deformation and perform geophysical subsurface imaging as used in oil exploration and environmental investigations. Seismic reflection data and side-scan sonar data will be acquired onboard Izmir University’s research vessel, followed by processing and interpretation during a subsequent onshore workshop (10 days; coordination: DEU, TPAO)

A3 – Fieldschool Nortern Turkey. Mandatory
Methods in assessing tectonic and climatic forcing: the northern CAP margin. The principal fault systems, sedimentary environments, erosion and sedimentation processes will be explained. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between the active North Anatolian Fault and associated structures responsible for the northward propagation of faulting. Through analysis of tectonic structures and landforms, students will learn to evaluate the degree of tectonic activity and to evaluate natural hazards (10 days; coordination: ITU, GFZ, UP).

A4 – Block course Geohazards. Mandatory
This module provides an in-depth perspective on various methods for the probabilistic assessment of natural hazards, the dealing with uncertainties and extreme events, and the translation of scientific results to decision makers. The overall objective is to characterize and solve current problems in geohazards research via team-based literature work and numerical modeling of case studies (5 days; coordination: UP, ITU, KHAS, GFZ).

A5 – Block course Present-day monitoring and data management: Databases, GIS, and Remote Sensing. Mandatory
This module provides training in how to integrate and manage complex data into a queryable database or a Geographic Information System (GIS). The course introduces methods of data collection, remote sensing image interpretation, statistical analysis, and map production using GIS applications. (7 days; coordination: ORACLE, BSF SwissPhoto, UP).

B1 – Workshop Pertinent knowledge in the Geosciences. Mandatory
The problem of reconciling production and demand of knowledge in the geosciences will be addressed. By reviewing best-practice examples, it will be shown how pertinent knowledge expands alternatives, clarifies choices, and enables stakeholders and policy makers to achieve desired outcomes (3 days; coordination: IPGP, Sarewitz*, ASU, TOTAL).

B2 – Field-based Media short-courses. Mandatory
These courses, to be held in Turkey when the research teams are working, are designed to maximize the delivery of basic science communication skills to as many project researchers as possible without incurring large travel costs. Technical training will involve on-site collection of broadcast-quality [HD] video and audio reports that can be posted online alongside daily blogs. A model for this type of communication in the research process is the Plymouth University-based educational portal ‘Education Through Expeditions’ ( Such a model would allow our PhD students to engage with a global audience, including schools (various courses in Turkey; coordination: UoP, ActiveEarth).

B3 – Geoscience Communication Summer School. Mandatory
Working with media professionals, and utilizing films and audio reports collected during the field workshops, our students will have a one-week period of intensive training in generating multi-platform media products that can be used for in-house production of videos and graphical content or can be supplied to external media companies for broadcast in documentary programs. The media produced will be made available under a Creative Commons license to allow researchers and other users to use, edit, and re-draft it for educational purposes (1 week; coordination: UoP, ActiveEarth).

B4 – Oral presentation and writing skills. Mandatory
Students will learn to refine their oral presentation skills. Subsequent presentations at network-wide meetings will help to reach this goal and prepare students for presentations at international meetings (e.g., EGU, AGU). They will also learn the basic tenets of scientific writing for international caliber peer-reviewed journals. This course will be taught by experienced academics and media professionals (5 days; coordination: UP, A. Hodgson).

C1 – Assessing recent crustal movements in the terrestrial realm I and II: new developments in field methods.
Participants will be introduced to the use of terrestrial LiDAR scanning and differential GPS to assess recent tectonic activity at the southern margin of the CAP. Longitudinal river profiles, knickpoints, and fluvial terraces will be analyzed and compared to tectonically uplifted coastal terraces to understand the seismotectonic zonation of active plate margins (1 week each, diverse field sites in Turkey; coordination: IPGP, GFZ, UP).

C2 – Paleoseismology, neotectonics, and tectonic geomorphology of tectonically active regions.
This course provides a survey of paleoseismology, neotectonics, and tectonic geomorphology. Subduction zones will be contrasted with strike-slip environments and slow, active faults from continental interiors, such as central Europe. Lectures are accompanied by interpretation of aerial photography, satellite imagery, and exercises to extract information about tectonics from landscape morphology. A 5-day field trip to the seismically active Rhine graben and Vienna Basin will follow the lectures (9 days; coordination: ITU, KHAS, IPGP; Arrowsmith*, ASU).

Seismic hazard analysis and site characterization.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to state-of-the-art methods of seismic hazard analysis. The first part of the course is computer-based and provides the theoretical background of probabilistic hazard analysis, including an overview course in probability theory as it is used in hazard analysis (1 week, UP). This course is a standardized lecture and lab that is jointly taught between the seismology groups at UP and U Grenoble.

3D-geology: from field studies and instrumentally recorded information to user-guided data analysis.
Students learn to visualize structural geometries, the distribution of faults and earthquakes, remote sensing data, and the spatial and temporal patterns of extreme rainfall events in a 3D-visualization cave (7 days; coordination: UP, BSF Swissphoto).

Active faults, their geodynamic framework and associated earthquake hazards.
Examples of recent and historical earthquake ruptures will be presented during a field seminar, going from the plate boundaries, such as the North Anatolian fault and the Hellenic subduction zone, to a selection of fast intraplate active faults in the Anatolia-Aegean region, including a presentation of seismic, geodetic, geomorphologic and geologic records. (7 days; coordination: IPGP, DEU, GFZ, TPAO, TOTAL).

The public perception of geoscientific activities: pitfalls and opportunities.
This course highlights the necessity of information transfer to the public and analyses issues of public perception concerning energy issues, mining, and large infrastructure projects from an administrative standpoint (3 days at UniRoma3; McWilliams*, CSIRO, Perth, Australia).

Energy, climate change, fresh-water availability and soil degradation – potential sources of conflict in the 21st century.
Topics to be analyzed will include peak oil and gas discovery and production; the impossibility of meeting the world’s 2050 energy needs without innovation and policy changes; dwindling freshwater resources; and the role of poorly planned land use practices in degrading soils (3 days at HU, Allmendinger*, Cornell U., TPAO).

Urban earthquakes – at the intersection between geology, social structure, and politics.
The growth of megacities in geologically unsafe environments poses major challenges for our societies. This course highlights the complex relationships between geological boundary conditions, seismic hazards, engineering efforts to increase safety, and political obstacles in preparing for mega-earthquakes (3 days at CUB, Bilham*, CIRES).

Present-day observation and monitoring: Analysis of hydro-meteorological data, flood-risk modeling, and climatic impacts on the geomorphic regime.
This course provides an introduction to state-of-the-art methods of flood hazard, damage and risk analysis, including computer-based training sections with model applications. In addition, methods of multi-risk assessment as well as risk management strategies are presented and discussed. Finally, the retrieval and the analysis of TRMM satellite data will be introduced. (5 days, UP, UCSB* BSF Swissphoto)