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About the Department

Social and environmental change is the research focus of the Department of Development and Gender Research. Governance, sustainable development, and gender are the main categories for analysis.


Governance - On which control mechanisms are development processes based? We study the way in which the behaviour of different stakeholders and interest groups contributes to social and environmental change. Analyzing, planning, and monitoring processes on local, municipal, and regional levels are the core areas of our research. A pivotal question is the impact of instruments of public participation in the context of an established distribution of power.

Development - All studies are subjected to the paradigm of sustainable development. How can social, ecological, economic, and political issues be conciliated in concrete developmental contexts? Within these topic special attention is being payed to the impacts of climate change and local adaptation strategies.

Gender - Gender relations play an important role in the process of development. Thus gender is also a central aspect of our research work. We are especially interested in through which measurements, tools, and methods gender can be operationalized within the context of planning.


It is a matter of particular concern to us to link research and praxis. A close relationship with institutions for development cooperation is therefore essential for our work, as are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary exchange. Participatory methods and different forms of action research are also applied to our research work.


The regional focus of the department is Brazil (Amazonia), China, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Germany.