The school’s teaching, research, community and other activities are driven by four strategic goals:


We want to contribute knowledge, solutions and answers to current societal challenges. Although many of the PhD-projects focus on problems in specific regions or places, we aim at relating them to a wider context by recognizing the multidimensional interrelations between various scale levels in politics, the economy, societies and the environment.

Inter – & Transdisciplinarity

To adequately address these societal problems, we aim at integrating knowledge of different scientific disciplines with that of practitioners and to provide it to the scientific community as well as to the society. This also entails our commitment to communicating results and findings in an understandable language.

Diversity, Plurality and Equity

We honour biological diversity as well as human plurality. We try to grow beyond European-centred cultural hegemony into a cosmopolitan perspective raising our awareness to global effects of the regional processes under study. Hence we take care to include various stakeholders from different backgrounds (e.g., ethnical, gender, age, educational background) and acknowledge their different perspectives, interests and needs.

Systems approach

Aiming at holistic research, we respect the systemic character of ecological and also societal problems and try to reveal the(ir) underlying causes, processes and interlinkages. This paradigm does not exclusively refer to system theories. In our research we are open to applying diverse methodological approaches.