Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, unfortunately the ESERA Summer School scheduled to take place in Oxford will no longer take place.

In order to support the doctoral students who had signed up to be part of this summer school, ESERA has decided to hold a Virtual Doctoral Network event during the same timeframe as the original summer school from June 28-July 4. The event will include feedback from mentors, discussions with peers and social activities through a virtual environment. ESERA hopes that the future summer schools will resume in physical locations as life returns to normal.

The ESERA Summer School Explained

ESERA summer schools have been biannual events for science education PhD students since 1993. Due to increasing popularity, however, these week-long programmes they are now held on an annual basis at various European locations.

The ESERA Summer school is designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities for doctoral students to present, discuss and reflect upon their research projects.

Each participant should have theoretically designed their projects and collected some data (e.g. completed the pilot study or be in the early stages of data collection). Additionally, they should also be beginning to (or be part way through) the process of analysing this data.

The summer schools are organised so that every doctoral student works in a small supportive group of seven peers and two more experienced science education researchers (who take on the roles of mentors).

Students present their research work in a number of ways,

  1. formally to their 6 peers and 2 mentors within their groups;
  2. less formally to other fellow students/mentors during a poster presentation, and
  3. informally at any time during the summer school.

This provides several opportunities to discuss  and reflect on their work over the course of a week.

Each day there is also a plenary presentation and a choice of workshops focused on different aspects of carrying out research.

The maximum number of students attending any summer school is 49. There are usually 14 mentors, two assigned to each group of seven students. There are also staff who will be from the local organising committee supporting the general running of the summer school.

If more than 49 doctoral students apply, participants are selected to ensure diversity of countries and research traditions. Applicants should also be aware that to derive maximum benefit from the summer school they should not attend too soon before conceptualising and beginning empirical work nor too late after drafting their thesis. Applications are welcome from any PhD student who is a member of ESERA.

If more than 14 staff members apply to attend the summer school, participants will be selected depending on a number of criteria including the extent to which they have supervised doctoral students (to completion), the nature of presentations and workshops they can offer for students attending the summer school. All staff participating in the summer school must be members of ESERA. Previous experience of PhD supervision is desireable, but staff do not need to currently be supervising a PhD student.


The first ESERA summer school was held in Zeist, the Netherlands, in 1993. A second summer school took place the following year, 1994, in Thessaloniki, Greece. Since then, summer schools were held at two-year intervals until 2017 when by vote of the membership, yearly summer schools were tried. The repeated trial in České Budějovice, Czech Republic at the site of the 2016 and 2017 summer school with the same organizing group and facilities proved to be a real success! Since 2016 the ESERA summer school has continued to be successful on a year-by-year basis.

Previous ESERA summer schools, have been held at :