Peter Moll:
From Knowledge to Action - Presentation of Curricula Modules for a Stronger Implementation Focus in Tropical and Development Research


Science Development, Germany

Tropical research has been evaluated lately by DAAD, BMZ and others and requested to develop stronger application and implementation elements in university and higher education curricula. Many curricula in Germany are of high quality on academic grounds but, in international comparison, sometimes lack teaching on possible practical implementation. To provide qualification for new job profiles is not everywhere very high on the agenda. The move from foremost scientific knowledge generation to a stronger implementation outlook means a challenge for higher education that is becoming ever more topical with changes in the university education and diploma infrastructure and with increasing emphasis on M.Scs and MAs as respected university degrees. It is not the theoretical components themselves nor the practical - e. g. field experience - components of teaching alone that present this challenge. The real challenge lies in steps towards ``management of the interface''. That is, curricula need to include ever stronger elements that prepare students for real world applications of the acquired knowledge. This involves managerial and communicative as well as social and cultural ``techniques'' for dealing with stakeholders and interest groups. It involves teaching on social, economic and political frameworks for development work. And it involves teaching for science management and project management, that can prepare absolvees to work in large international science networks and prorammes funded e. g. by the Worldbank, GEF or UNEP. The presentation is on ways on HOW to possibly extend existing curricula and on how to integrate stronger application and implementation elements in tropical research. These modules have been developed on the basis of a 2 year monitoring and research project funded by BMBF. During this project some 70 experts have been consulted and projects dealing e.g. with land use problems in Africa or biodiversity loss in South America have been investigated. Particularly in the anglo-saxon academia (USA, GB, Canada) university curricula have been developed lately that go beyond mere academic interdisciplinarity and integrate stronger implementation elements. The presentation will provide an introduction into this development and some suggestions for action.

Keywords: Curriculum development, from knowledge to action, implementation focus of tropical / development research


Contact Address: Peter Moll, Science DevelopmentViktoriastr. 49, 42105 Wuppertal, Germany, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, September 2006