Forest and Nature for Society, Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme

Deadline: 1 November 2o11
Open to: Applicants with a MSc/MA degree and very good level of English and academic references
Scholarship: Awarded fellowships cover all salary costs and operational costs


Forest and Nature for Society (FONASO) is a three-year world-class Joint Doctoral Programme (180 ECTS). FONASO is part of the Erasmus Mundus programme initiated by the European Commission to enhance and promote European higher education throughout the world. The language of the programme is English.

The main objective of the FONASO programme is to educate the leaders of the future generation of researchers, teachers and top management staff working with sustainable forest and nature management, in both tropical and temperate regions, to ensure wider societal benefits. Within forest and nature management, the programme is focused on the scientific fields of (i) economics and policy, and (ii) ecology and silviculture. The emphasis is on applied research. The FONASO programme is offered by a Consortium that includes globally top ranked universities and leading international research organisations including:

Partner institutions:

  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Bangor University, UK
  • Dresden University, Germany
  • University of Göttingen, Germany
  • AgroParisTech, France
  • University of Padova, Italy

Associate institutions:

  • Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia
  • Dalhoff Larsen & Hornemann, Denmark
  • James Cook University, Australia
  • University of British Columbia, Canada
  • World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya


Every year approximately 8-10 fellowships will be available to academically outstanding applicants. There is one annual call for applications; short-listed applicants are invited to Europe to present and discuss their proposals.

All FONASO doctoral candidates are in principle fully funded from the very start, i.e. the awarded fellowship(s) cover all salary costs and operational costs. However, regarding the latter, individual candidates may want to undertake, in collaboration with their supervisors, additional external fundraising. The FONASO institutions, in six European countries, are subject to differences in national legislation and general cost structures. Therefore, salaries and available operational funding varies across the institutions, e.g. due to variation in tax levels. To see an overview of estimated gross and net salary (per month)per doctoral candidate, and an estimate of the available operational funds (per three years), please visit the following link.


Eligible applications are evaluated by the FONASO Assessment Committee according to three main criteria:

  • Academic potential as indicated by (i) a very good second university degree; (ii) a research synopsis that closely relates to one of the topics announced in the FONASO PhD Topic Catalogue, (iii) documented research achievements, e.g. publications in international journals with peer review. This is the most important criterion
  • An MSc/MA degree must have been completed at the time of application
  • English proficiency
  • Academic references

How to apply?

FONASO only issues one annual call for applications covering both EU and third-country applicants in order to obtain one pool of applications among which to select the best. The annual call announces selected research topics relevant to the application round. FONASO has a policy of equal opportunities for men and women and people with special needs.

Application form can be downloaded here and for those who would have problems with filling in the application form, you can also download the application form guideline (found here). The deadline for all the applications is 1 November 2011. Main contents of the application form are:

  • Indication of selected research topic from the FONASO PhD Topic Catalogue
  • Project synopsis of max 1500 words
  • A sample of own scientific text
  • Certified copy of second university degree(s) certificate
  • Brief Curriculum Vitae
  • English proficiency (min score IELTS 7.0 , TOEFL: Paper-based 600/IBT 100)
  • Two academic references

There are 2 rounds in the selection process– Short-listing and interview.

Short-listing– Based on the eligibility criteria, the best applicants will be short-listed and invited to develop a full project proposal. Short-listed applicants are informed by email. They are put in direct contact with the potential supervisors, who will assist the applicant in developing the full project proposal. Within a deadline of 5-6 weeks, the applicant submits the full proposal on a standard format to the FONASO Secretariat.

Interview– Each shortlisted applicant is invited, if recommended by their principal supervisor, to present their proposal before a Scientific Committee, consisting of at least two members of the FONASO Consortium Commission and one supervisor of each proposal. The interview will take place at Copenhagen University. Applicant costs are covered by the Consortium.


Erasmus Mundus Secretariat
University of Copenhagen
Faculty of Life Sciences
Bülowsvej 17
DK-1870 Frederiksberg
Phone +45 35332048

The Official Website