Education & Training: Habitable Planet

Education & Training: Habitable Planet

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“Why is the planet Earth habitable?”


In an age where thousands of planets are known, this question is now more pertinent and intriguing than ever before. Each of our training events invites students to examine all, or parts, of this question. In doing so we introduce students to the emerging interdisciplinary field of Earth Systems Science. As we do so, we come to the inescapable revelation that southern Africa turns out to be an exceptional region to be studying the Earth’s systems.

Find out more about our amazing Habitable Planet with ACCESS and the Planeteers (the name given to our students) below:

1. For  undergraduate students

ACCESS run a series of ten day long undergraduate training workshops held four times every year, all around Southern Africa. These workshops, called Habitable Planet (HPW), aim to introduce students to the concept of Earth Systems Science from a unique Southern African perspective.  You can find out what our alumni have to say about the programme in the short video below. If you are excited to be a part of the HPW experience, a good first step is to join our active Facebook group (link on the right) or, for more information, click the links below.

More about the ACCESS/DST “HPW” Undergraduate Programme

More about the Planeteers National Student Committee

Join this year’s HPW online programme

2. For postgraduate students and seasoned planeteers

For postgraduates, and alumina from our undergraduate programme, we offer opportunities to improve your transferable skills by either training to lecture on the HPW course itself, or training to run a mini-HPW schools engagement programme (see links below for more info). Furthermore, we are currently in the process of rolling out a HPW themed postgraduate course. Research funding for post graduate students is available through our research themes, contact the relevant theme leader for more information.

Our research themes

Information about postgraduate student bursaries

ACCESS Postgraduate Student Database (complete if you wish to be considered for post graduate study with ACCESS)

3. For schools and teachers

ACCESS offer a range of resources to help teachers engage school pupils around Earth Systems Science issues (links below). We are also planning to run HPWs (see section 1 above) for teachers in the near future. Teachers themselves, parents and some older learners may also benefit from the online Earth Systems Science lectures we provide (see section 4 below).

Poster: Why is South Africa such a special place to study science?

Poster: How does biodiversity help make the planet habitable?

Poster: How does photosynthesis help make the planet habitable?

Poster: What are biogeochemical cycles?

Materials to run the World Challenge Game

4. For everyone

Learning about the planet is too important to be left to those still in formal education. Find out more below!

Our students talking about why Earth is habitable (online lectures)

Find out about our research programme