The range and magnitude of problems at the environment-development interface requires a community of interdisciplinary researchers to examine these issues over a period of time. CISED has committed itself to help enhance the capacity for such research in India and elsewhere in South Asia. The Centre attempts to carry this out along several lines: fostering academic debate, collaborating with kindred institutions and individual researchers, participating in pedagogical activities, conducting training programmes and enhancing awareness among various audiences.
Specific activities include CISED’s ongoing contributions to the Ph.D programme at the Institute for Social and Economic Change each year. Faculty members also developed a module on global environmental negotiations for the South Asia Foundation for Learning Initiatives course in environment and sustainable development. We have also participated in teaching programmes at other academic institutions. These include the recent course on crossing disciplinary boundaries in conservation science, organized by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. CISED faculty members have also lectured in a variety of forums on diverse themes, ranging from institutional arrangements for resource management to ecosystem services and ecological economics in a Himalayan context, to energy and climate change. They have also conducted lecture series under the aegis of institutions such as the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Virginia, USA. To promote exchange of ideas and facilitate research, the Centre also periodically hosts visiting students and scholars from various universities abroad, such as from Norway, Pakistan, USA, and Spain.
In addition to organizing several workshops and academic seminars on subjects ranging from the environmental and health impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle, to an examination of institutional pluralism in surface irrigation systems in Kerala, CISED also conducts periodic training programmes on Environment and Rural Development . These courses, aimed at making academic debates and discussions in the field of environment and rural development accessible to practitioners working in the field, discuss normative concerns such as livelihood enhancement, equity, and sustainability; different theoretical approaches such as political ecology, environmental economics, institutional economics, and science and technology studies; and basic natural science concepts, particularly in the fields of hydrology and forestry.