The aim of NOSTER is to create an academic community in which research in the field of theology and religious studies can be optimally pursued. In this context NOSTER wants to bring both established and new generations of researchers in this field into contact with innovative disciplinary and interdisciplinary developments, theoretical and methodological alternatives, and broad overviews of possible applications. NOSTER stimulates new initiatives and explorations in research, and provides a national forum to further communication between the participating institutes with a view to both short- and long-term collaboration. NOSTER advances an outstanding and challenging curriculum in theology and religious studies for graduate students committed to excellence, consisting of an optimal combination of national and local educational activities. International exchange is strongly stimulated for the benefit of research and education. The actual research training programme of NOSTER has two objectives. In the first place, without prescribing a uniform methodology, it serves to familiarise the trainee researcher with various forms of research in the field of theology and religious studies and the methods used in them. Secondly, it is intended to provide further training for trainee researchers and PhD candidates in the skills and techniques of the discipline which forms their background.