Core Courses


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Winter Term

Development Innovation

Innovation derives from the human desire to develop new ideas and to try them out in practice. Development innovation refers to the social process of formulating, adapting and applying strategies at a meaningful scale. Themes and topics covered during the course address rural and urban development challenges in relation to natural resource management issues.

Applied Development Research I

Applied development research searches for ways to enhance global sustainability and wellbeing. This course introduces Masters and Doctoral students to the principles and practices of applied development research. Themes and topics covered during the course address rural and urban development challenges in relation to natural resource management issues. >more information


Summer Term

Participatory methods in development research and practise

Originally participatory methods evolved in developing countries. There is a growing family of approaches and methodologies enabling local people to share their views and experiences, as well as to jointly plan and implement the concepts evolving from their own knowledge and cultural background. This empowerment also comprises local ownership of knowledge and resources and self-determination.  The course introduces to a range of method families (e.g. PRA and RRA methodology, community forestry, Agroecosystems Analysis (AEA

Applied Development Research II

The course focuses on the integration of scientific disciplines and research findings into development discourse and practice. Implementing development research: i) approaching the field, data collection, logistical arrangements, keeping in touch with supervisors and the support team; ii) ethical considerations when doing development research, gender dimensions, working with marginalised groups, feedback and data ownership, trust and partnerships; and iii) research integration and policy interaction.

Livelihood system dynamics in rural development

The course „Livelihood system dynamics in rural development“, focuses in detail at how rural population in the global South manage their livelihoods. We focus on challenges and opportunities for the sustainable management of natural resources. The sustainable livelihoods enables us to analyse people's livelihood strategies, and by applying the approach to case studies we use systems thinking to identify weaknesses and strengths of real livelihood syste

Facilitating change for sustainable development

Sustainable development is made by people - those who actually change their attitudes, expand their knowledge and adapt their daily working practices. Facilitating such a change process is theoretically discussed and tried out in „Facilitating change for sustainable development

Interdisciplinary project: Development research - field applications

The interdisciplinary project “Development research - field applications”, currently implemented as the International Training Course on Organic Agriculture (ITCOA), combines all fields of training at BOKU-CDR: concepts of development and innovation in research and practice; applied development research using participatory methods and tools; facilitating change processes with different stakeholders; intensive systems learning, focusing on agro-ecosystem and the sustainable management of natural resources.&nb