Course Details - Norway

Course Venue

Haugastøl Turistcenter., Haugastøl, Norway


Course Content (Haugastøl, 2024)

Key dates

2/10/23 02 October 2023 Application open for submission (00:00am)
29/10/23 29 October 2023 Application deadline (11:59pm)
10/11/23 10 November 2023 Applicants notified of outcome (on or before this date)
1/12/23 01 December 2023 Participant list finalised (on or before this date)
2/4/24 to 3/4/24 02 April to 03 April 2024 Outbound travel, overnight stay in Oslo, Norway
3/4/24 to 9/4/24 03 April to 09 April 2024 Field school, Haugastol, Norway
10/4/24 10 April 2024 Return or onward travel
1/5/24 01 May 2024 Feedback forms due (11:59pm)


The course will be held at Haugastøl Turistcenter, a hotel and activities centre in the Norwegian mountains, roughly half-way between Oslo and Bergen. Haugastøl is a small settlement on the Hardangervidda plateau, around 1000m above sea level, and is well-known in Norway for skiing and snow-kiting in winter. This region was famously used to film the snow scenes in the Star Wars films, and has been used as a training-ground for polar expeditions since the early 20th century.


Haugastøl is on the main railway line between Oslo and Bergen. Coming from the UK, we expect most participants to fly into Oslo on Tuesday 2nd April, stay overnight, and then travel by train to Haugastøl on Wednesday 3rd April. We will arrange a hotel in Oslo for the group and the train to Haugastøl, so that the journey becomes part of the course experience. We can also arrange your flights. However, if you prefer to arrange all or part of the journey yourself, you are welcome to do this and then claim expenses from us. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organisers. Participants will be responsible for arranging their own travel insurance through their respective institutions.

Food and accommodation

Accommodation at Haugastøl Turistcenter in the snow.
Looking across the accommodation at Haugastøl Turistcenter and Sløddfjorden. Photo Credit: Imogen Wadlow.


The hotel will provide Nordic breakfast (bread, cheese, cold meat, fish, etc) and a two-course hot dinner every day. Lunch is provided in the form of extra breakfast – we’ll ask you to assemble a packed lunch from the breakfast buffet each morning, and then eat it at lunchtime. We will request additional or alternative food to cater for specific dietary requirements, so please outline these in your application form.


The accommodation consists of self-contained apartments, each of which have a kitchenette (with a fridge, hob, microwave, sink and cooking equipment provided), so you are also welcome to bring your own food for lunches or snacks. However, there are no grocery stores nearby, so don’t count on being able to pop out to buy any extras!

There are two types of apartments, and you may be allocated either type. The smaller Type A apartments are a studio, with bunk beds in the main room of the apartment. The larger Type B apartments have two bedrooms, each of which has two bunk beds.. Both types of apartments have an en-suite shower room and a living area with sofas. You will be asked to share a bedroom with at least one other person, and we will ask you individually about who you are willing to share with once you are offered a place on the course. If you have any anxieties or specific requirements about sharing accommodation, please let us know so that we can make arrangements you will feel comfortable with.


Course duration

Participants will travel to Haugastøl on Wednesday 3rd April, and teaching will run for seven days from Wednesday 3rd April until Tuesday 9th April. Participants will then travel home on Wednesday 10th April.

Course organsiation and programme

A standard day will involve lectures given in the morning, and hands-on exercises in the afternoon. Because the course content involves building your own instrument, these exercises will include learning workshop skills such as soldering, wiring, and the use of common hand tools. In addition, there will be multiple opportunities to test and operate instruments in the surrounding environment. There will also be some time in the course schedule for (optional) recreational outdoor activitie

Course materials

All course material will be made open-access and available on the course homepage after the course. A kit for building a complete instrument, and all the tools that you will need to build it, will be provided as part of the course. You will be able to keep the completed instrument and your toolkit after the course, and we hope it will be useful for you in your future research. For the software work, we ask that you bring a laptop computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) and install the Arduino development environment before you arrive – full details will be given once you are accepted onto the course. If you are not able to bring a suitable computer, please let us know and we can lend you one.


Haugastol is cold in April, and we expect that there will be lying snow close to the hotel during the course. You will be working outside in the snow, but you will not need “polar clothing” – the type of outdoor clothing you might wear in the winter in the UK will be suitable. In particular, you should bring a waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers and hiking boots or wellington boots. We will not go far from the hotel, so there will be plenty of opportunities to go inside and warm up if you need to. If you have concerns about clothing, require advice on what to bring, or need to borrow something suitable, please let us know. We will send out further details when you are accepted onto the course.

Admission and eligibility

The field course is open to 20 participants, targeting primarily (but not exclusively) PhD students. The course will give priority to admissions in the following order (1 for highest priority):

  1. Current NERC-funded PhD students. However, if you have recently completed a NERC-funded PhD and missed out on field training experience due to the pandemic, you can apply and would be considered alongside current NERC-funded students.
  2. Other UKRI-funded environmental scientists, including PhD students funded by other UKRI research councils, UKRI-funded or UKRI-sponsored research fellows (e.g. NERC Independent Research fellows; NERC Daphne Jackson Trust fellows) or early-career faculty in receipt of UKRI funding. In all cases you must demonstrate that your research programme aligns to NERC’s scientific remit, even if it is not funded by NERC.
  3. All other students as well as early career researchers (ECRs), regardless of funding source or location of institution.

The prioritisation to NERC-funded PhD students and other UKRI-funded environmental scientists is a condition of the NERC funding we have received for the course.

Applications are likely to be competitive and so we also expect you to demonstrate the following in your application:

  • the benefit that this training will have to your programme of research
  • the benefit that this training will have to your personal and career development

Previous experience of cold-regions fieldwork is not required.

Application process

Applications for the April 2024 version of the course are now closed.

We’ll let you know whether you’ve been awarded a place on the course by 10 November 2023. You will be asked to confirm that you will attend the course by 1 December 2023 - if you find you cannot attend, we will offer your place to someone on the reserve list.


All expenses related to the course, including materials, travel, and subsistence, are fully covered by a NERC Advanced Training Grant. We intend that the majority of the course costs (including air and train tickets) will be paid for directly by the organisers, but participants who do incur course-related expenses will be able to claim for reimbursement from Cardiff University.