Who, today, would contest the correlation between poverty and environmental degradation? Sustainable solution strategies demand a fairer access to resources for all, a goal that requires a deep understanding of the natural resources themselves as well as their social and institutional context.
The Center’s focus on agricultural, environmental and developmental research is based on the insight that ecological and economic challenges of natural resource use are co-dependent and should thus be investigated in an interdisciplinary way. Hence, disciplinary diversity plays a crucial role at the ZEU. This is true for the institutional structure of ZEU, its research approach as well as its training programme. These practices are not regarded as an abstract theory or method, but are practiced on a daily basis by the staff of the Center.
The members and clients of the Center, both international and from within the university, benefit from interdisciplinary cooperation with regard to methods, as interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity allow for a degree of problem-oriented research that would be impossible within standard stand-alone projects. They gain access to international research partners in order to generate advantages from the joint training of postgraduates and benefit from ZEU’s experience in planning and managing events and its access to a large international network of experts. Members are entitled to full admin-istrative support from the ZEU office during project acquisition.