How we work

Any activity and cooperation within CNRD is related to the core topic: the sustainable management of natural resources in regard to development. The CNRD core products and activities are grouped into the three key processes: education, research, and capacity development and are supported by academic staff of the partnering universities with the aim to guarantee high quality results.


The Labs for Natural Resources and Development (LNRD)

The Labs for Natural Resources and Development are the network’s cooperation hubs in which context all the CNRD activities take place. The LNRDs are inspired by the concept of a ‘living lab’ and thus offer an alternative form of cooperation between science and civil society. Each LNRD is related to a specific case study area (usually a watershed or a river basin), located in the CNRD partner countries, from which specific environmental and socio-economic challenges are addressed. Stakeholders from academia and practice jointly develop research results, assuming that the findings are adopted more easily by society, politics and industry. The work produced in each LNRD (research articles, policy briefs, teaching materials, project proposals, and collected data) is made available in the network’s RDI . The LNRD is the corner stone of the CNRD strategy, supporting the knowledge generation steps ‘inquiry’, ‘synthesis’ and ‘communication and policy action’. This allow a maximal synergy between in the research-science-policy interface.


In accordance with the logic of the LNRD’s the CNRD network basically follows the science-policy approach. We are convinced that science should serve the public interest and that the research topics, especially in the field of natural resource management, should be elaborated with the involvement of society’s different stakeholders. To this end, the CNRD is in active exchange with non-university partners and global players such as UN Environment, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and many more.

In order to contribute to the decision-making process towards development, CNRD partner universities need to obtain information on the prevailing challenges and problems and the related knowledge demands. Subsequently, they can design the related knowledge creation (research) and knowledge transfer (education and capacity development) processes and feed the results back to society to contribute to the development process. By initiating science-policy workshops CNRD supports the systematic linkage of the research/education with the decision-making/policy cycle. As this process cannot be initiated in an abstract or theoretical form, the linkage to the concrete local or regional demands as elaborated through the case studies (LNRDs) is of crucial importance.