Summer School - The Precautionary Principle: Governance of Innovation and Innovations in Governance, 24-30 June, 2017

Central European University (CEU)


March 01, 2017

Event Date:

June 24, 2017 - June 30, 2017

Opportunity Cover Image - Summer School - The Precautionary Principle: Governance of Innovation and Innovations in Governance, 24-30 June, 2017

About the scholarship

The purpose of this course is to explore challenges and possible ways forward for the effective and appropriate application of the precautionary principle in sustainability governance. It will bring together a solid and diverse group of scholars and practitioners with expertise on the precautionary principle, risk assessment and management, environment and health research, science and technology studies, the governance of innovation, environmental governance, and long term transitions to sustainability. The course is designed as a strategic knowledge and experience sharing course at the intersection between a research-oriented course and a professional development course, dedicated to collaborative exploration and learning. It will provide intensive research training, but also allow for policy discussions in a variety of sector and contexts and, through a knowledge co-creation approach, help to identify and find solutions to course-related issues in the participants’ research, policy or business application fields.
This course is the third edition of the highly successful 2015 SUN course on the same topic. The faculty is composed of renowned and high profile scholars and practitioners with broad experience in interdisciplinary research and integrative policy-making. The team includes the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, the former Senior Advisor of EEA and 'Late Lessons' project leader, the Chair of the Scientific Committee of EEA, as well as professors from renowned Universities and Business Schools. Participants will come from a variety of backgrounds (including researchers as well as practitioners from public bodies, NGOs and business). The Course will give them a unique opportunity to (i) increase their theoretical and practical expertise on issues surrounding the precautionary principle; to (ii) train in inter- and transdisciplinary research and integrative policy praxis; and (iii) build a strong network with other participants and faculty. 
The precautionary principle is a key principle of environmental governance. It features prominently in many international environmental policy processes, texts and treaties and in national strategies and laws of many countries. 
It is one of the four environment principles in the Treaty of the European Union, in which article 191,§2 states that Union policy on the environment "shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay". Together these 4 principles –precaution, prevention, polluter-pays and rectification of damage at source– are central to managing risk to the environment, human health and well-being. The most problematic of these principles is without doubt the precautionary principle. 
The precautionary principle poses challenges to environmental science, environmental governance and praxis because it applies to 'situations of scientific complexity, uncertainty and ignorance, where there may be a need to act in order to avoid, or reduce, potentially serious or irreversible threats to health and/or the environment, using an appropriate strength of scientific evidence, and taking into account the pros and cons of action and inaction and their distribution' (see the working definition of the precautionary principle proposed by the European Environment Agency – EEA 2013, p. 681). As a tool to manage risks, uncertainties and ignorance in complex social ecological systems, it is a core element of governance for a transition towards sustainability.
The principle is subject to a variety of interpretations, at the heart of major controversies and the target of serious attacks, sometimes because of misinterpretations, sometimes because of the vested interests it may be thought to disturb.
As shown by the seminal work of the European Environment Agency in the two 'Late Lessons from Early Warnings' reports (EEA 2001, 2013) there are still many open and pressing questions around the precautionary principle and its application, ways of doing research, science-policy-society interfaces, the governance of innovations and risk governance in the framework of sustainability transitions. And, in the current political context, notably in the European Union, there is a need for intellectual rigour around the concept, both from a research and a praxis point of view. 


Please read the following directions carefully.

Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including list of publications, if any
  3. Statement of Purpose (max. 1 page)
  4. Writing Sample in English (max. 10 pages), e.g. research proposal/ case study/ country report/ article /research paper/thesis, etc.

Optional attachments:

  • Copy of an article in English published recently (if available)
  • A copy of an English language certificate (if available)
  1. Online Application Form

SUN's Online Application Form, delivered by Embark, enables the online submission of the application form itself as well as all other relevant documentation, including CV's and resumes, letter of recommendation, statements of purpose and application essays (such as research proposal, case study, paper proposal, writing samples, academic records, etc.), eliminating all paper mailing to the SUN Office.

In addition, applicants will be able to use this system to track their progress and learn the outcome of their admissions evaluation online. Admissions decisions will be available to applicants as soon as they are entered into the system.

Please note that you can only apply to one course.

The application form is password-protected. 

  1. a) In case you have started an application for our program in previous years, you can use your old login and password and can log in as a "Returning Embark User" (right-hand side of the page). In case you cannot remember your old password, click on the "Forget your password?" link.
  2. b) In case you have not started an application before, please register first in the "New User?" section (left-hand side of the page). For registration please click on "Create an Account" and provide the requested information. Embark will send you your password by email and then you can log in and start your application, this time already as a returning user.

Further user's instructions for the online application are included in the form itself.

  1. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including list of publications, if any

Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.

  1. Statement of Purpose (max. 1 page)

In your Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your professional work, research, or teaching; in what way you expect to benefit from it; and how you see your contribution to the course. Propose a specific research or praxis question in relation to the theme of the Course which you intend to explore in more depth during the School.  Please list professional activities and/or courses you have taken previously - which are relevant to the theme of the course. 

You are advised to consult the detailed course description on the course web page so that the statement of purpose is in accordance with the main objectives of the course.

  1. Writing Sample in English (max. 10 pages), e.g. research proposal/ case study/ country report/ article /research paper/thesis, etc.

Optional attachments:

  • Copy of an article in English published recently (if available)

If you have an article published in English, please upload it in the online system.

  • A copy of an English language certificate (if available) for non-native speakers of English

As proof of your English language proficiency, if you have passed a language exam, please upload a scanned copy of the exam result in the online system.

All application materials must be submitted electronically with the online application form. CEU does not accept application documents by e-mail or fax. Candidates who may experience difficulties with the online submission of their documents should contact the SUN Office.

CEU does not return application documents, or copies thereof under any circumstances. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff:

E-mail for inquiry and correspondence:
Tel: (36-1) 327-3811
Fax: (36-1) 327-3124


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results around the end of April. Please check the 'Important course dates' section on the relevant course web sites for earlier or later planned notification deadlines. The final decision is not open to appeal.

Financial Information

Program Costs

  • Tuition Fee:
    • 400 EUR ("Early Bird" fee: 360 EUR) for participants from academia and NGOs
    • 900 EUR ("Early Bird" fee: 820 EUR) for participants from business, public bodies & administrations and international

Tuition waivers are available to excellent candidates, especially from developing countries and countries in transition. The decision to waive tuition is made by the course organizers on a case-by-case basis. 

  • Self-funded participants can book accommodation at CEU Residence Center at special SUN rates (single room: 28 EUR/ night / person - including breakfast; shared double room: 17 EUR / night / person - including breakfast) via the Housing form, for which the link will be provided in the email notification letter. 
  • Estimated living costs: 150 - 200 EUR

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the following categories:

  • tuition waiver
  • accommodation grant
  • travel grant (full or partial)
  • Participants from non-OECD countries are eligible to apply for financial aid in all categories listed above; there is only a very limited number of scholarships available to exceptional candidates.
  • Participants from developed countries are expected to pay a tuition fee. However, there are a limited number of tuition waivers available on a competitive basis. Those who wish to apply for a tuition waiver should send a separate cover letter specifying their reasons.
  • Participants are NOT eligible to receive financial aid if they attended two CEU funded Summer University courses within a four-year period.
  • In case an applicant is accepted to two courses, which is only possible if the two courses are run consecutively, financial aid is only available for attending one course. 

SUN Packages

All packages will include the following:

  • a minimum of 24 tuition hours per week
  • a certificate of attendance
  • access to course E-learning page (with readings, assignments, etc.)
  • access to CEU facilities (Library, IT services, sports center at the CEU Residence Center including the use of the indoor swimming pool, tennis courts)
  • some social and cultural events depending on the course schedule (e.g. welcome and farewell reception / outings /fieldtrips / film screenings, etc.)

  1. Fee-Paying Package

Financial aid: N/A
Participant's own contribution: tuition, travel, accommodation, health insurance and living expenses

Payment deadlines

  • April 30 (Early Bird fee)
  • May 28 (Full tuition fee)

Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation, CEU will refund the tuition fee as follows:

  • Before May 28 - CEU will fully refund the tuition fee.
  • Between May 28th and 14 days prior to the course starting - 80% of the tuition fee will be refunded. 
  • Within 14 days of the course starting - no refund for tuition fees will be given. 
  1. Financial Aid packages
  • Tuition Waiver
    Financial aid: tuition fee waived
    Participant's own contribution: health insurance, travel, accommodation and living expense.
  • Partial SUN Scholarship
    Financial aid: tuition fee waived and free accommodation
    Participant's own contribution: health insurance, travel and living expenses
  • Full Scholarship
    Financial aid: tuition fee waived; free accommodation and a full or partial travel grant (available on exceptional basis to a very limited number of candidates from non-OECD countries)
    Participant’s own contribution: health insurance and living expenses.


Target group

Applications are invited from researchers (advanced PhD students, postdocs) and practitioners from policy-making institutions, NGOs, business and international organizations. Undergraduates will not be considered.


Participants to be selected to the school shall meet the following criteria:

- hold positions at universities, research institutions, consultancies, business, relevant public bodies and administrations (including the European Institutions) or a research-oriented NGO;
- have MSc or PhD degree or equivalent and at least two years of research or professional experience or/and teaching at graduate level;
- be fluent in English;
- have demonstrable achievements in research or in praxis;
- demonstrate good communication skills;
- demonstrate originality and motivation in their application letter.

Language requirement

The language of instruction is English, thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview.

Important dates and deadlines 

General application deadline for most courses: February 14, 2017  

In exceptional cases the application deadline is different from the above. See the list of these courses below:

  • Media Capture: The Relationship Between Power, Media Freedom and AdvocacyMarch 31, 2017

Important program dates (for all courses):

  • Email notification about the decision: mid-April - mid-May
  • Participants confirm acceptance and housing needs: in two weeks after receipt of the acceptance notification
  • Activation of the course-specific e-learning sites with readings and course outlines: end of April - end of May
  • Early-bird deadline of tuition payment for fee-paying participants: March - April, for course specifique early bird deadline see the course website
  • Tuition payment deadline for fee-paying participants: April - May, for course specifique fee payment deadline see the course website
  • Participants needing a visa reserve tickets, confirm exact travel dates to SUN; SUN Office sends out original invitation letter and room reservation for visa application: 6 weeks prior to arrival
  • Participants submit visa applications: 30 days prior to arrival
  • Participant arrivals, hotel check-in, and registration: one day before the course starts
  • Orientation session at CEU: on the first day of the course

For more information click "Further official information" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Publish Date
December 13, 2016