Applied Research and Services

The HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute is a competence centre active in developing and transition countries. We offer interdisciplinary applied research and consulting services in sustainable smallholder agricultural, forest and food systems.

The institute focuses on land use and management and also on food systems, including rural smallholders and their communities, and seeks to address global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and conservation, natural resource management, food and nutrition safety and security, gender and youth, governance and policy frameworks – all within the context of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

In the last two years, BFH-HAFL has contributed to and carried out over 70 projects in non-OECD countries. Building on this wealth of experience, we offer a platform for the cross-functional and interdisciplinary collaboration of crop and livestock scientists, forest scientists, socio-economists, food scientists, educationalists and other key stakeholders at BFH-HAFL and partner institutions.

Our work centres around three key pillars: integrated landscape management and food systems, project cycle management and impact assessment, and knowledge management and capacity building.

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Integrated landscape management and food systems

Globally, the development of sustainable food systems and integrated landscape management processes are a growing area of priority. At BFH-HAFL, an increasing number of our research and consultancy services address entire food value chains, as well as the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our projects. This includes trend research, innovation management, production processes, marketing, sensory evaluation, wholesaling and retailing, and consumer behaviour.

When it comes to climate strategies and integrated landscape management, we provide:

  • analysis of forest policy processes at global and regional level
  • analysis of forest strategies and integration of forests in related policy areas (climate, energy, agriculture, etc.)
  • analysis of the forest-landscape-society nexus at local and global level
  • economic and ecological assessment of forests, forest products and services
  • forest inventories, calculation and modelling of biomass and C fixation in the tropics
  • design of monitoring systems

Project cycle management and impact assessment

We develop, plan and evaluate partners’ projects, measure their impact and analyse their effectiveness and efficiency. Our services in this area include:

  • project identification and feasibility studies
  • facilitation of planning workshops
  • coaching of project staff
  • scientific support during project implementation
  • development of smart monitoring concepts
  • project follow-up and analysis of lessons learnt

Knowledge management and capacity building

Our know-how in education, consultancy and knowledge management feeds into a wide range of projects, from curriculum development to website maintenance. Some of the key services that we offer are:

  • facilitation and management of thematic networks
  • information transfer and online content management
  • knowledge curation, promotion and building of communities of practice
  • evaluation, development and implementation of curricula, training programmes and teaching materials
  • training of trainers in teaching and consulting methods
  • backstopping of education projects
  • evaluation of selected issues in education and consultancy
  • planning and realisation of study trips with a focus on vocational training