A few examples of broad research questions that address some of the challenges described above are: What effect is climate change likely to have on the food security of those living in the rural areas of South Africa, and how can such effects be mitigated? How can the management of ecosystem services within the southern African social-ecological system more effectively and directly assist in the alleviation of poverty? Can the benefits provided by ecosystem products and services in Africa be more effectively utilised by the local communities?
These complex social-ecological systems problems, responsible for Africa’s sustainability challenges, behave in a non-linear and unpredictable manner, which can affect a diverse range of stakeholders and interest groups in different ways. Therefore, addressing sustainability problems is normally a highly contested process. In this context, the Transdisciplinary PhD Programme encourages participatory multi-stakeholder research that is aimed at gaining an integrated understanding of both the material and non-material determinants underlying Africa's sustainability challenges.