History of SLUSE
The program was initially sponsored by the Danish Co-operation for Environment and Development (DANCED), but was taken over by Danida (Danish National Development Assistance) in late 2001. SLUSE was initiated as a pilot phase in March 1998 which lasted until October 2000.
Joint research programmes have been set up with partners in Malaysia, Thailand and Southern Africa.
Furthermore the interdisciplinary joint field course (ILUNRM), linking students from different universities and cultures, has been integrated in the regular university curricula in Denmark, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa, and Thailand.
SLUSE Vision and Means
From the very outset of the formation of SLUSE it was realised that while the worldwide scientific communities dealing with the oceans and the atmosphere have been able to integrate and synthesize their findings and thus formulate a compelling message that has found its way to the global agenda, this level of clarity has not been attained across the scientific communities dealing with the land.
Therefore the vision for the consortium was originally stated to be:
To develop interdisciplinarity with the view to formulate a univocal perception of the problems and solutions with regard to land use and land stewardship.
The mission for the collaboration has more recently been stated as:
"Addressing priority development challenges regionally - making targeted interventions to inform policy and governance decision-making. A possibility of positioning and directing combined research capacity to address priority public policy and decision-making issues; developing a public face for SLUSE as a globally-connected think-tank and home of applied multi-disciplinary research".
One of the important vehicles to achieve this is through the role of SLUSE as promoting both 'research based-teaching' as well as 'teaching based and participatory research' at the partner universities. Both cases building on commonalities among the researchers being:
- An interdisciplinary, problem-based approach
- An intercultural collection of people
- Attaching value to "equitable development"
Seeking to promote
- ecological sustainability
- capacity development
- serving community needs
There is a need for shifting paradigms in teaching and thinking through promoting increased inter-disciplinary "learning by doing" amongst natural and social sciences. Furthermore, practical knowledge and academic knowledge can in this way synergistically support each other in producing both academic qualifications and practical solutions that will enhance sustainable land use. Practical knowledge is obtained from field experiences and is important from the point of view of being applied to both the researchers and the recipient communities - the approach is illustrated in the figure below.
Current SLUSE status
Now, the outlined objectives have been reached or are on-going:
The foundation for teaching inter-disciplinary environmental courses has been set up in the two partner universities in Denmark and in the partner consortia in Malaysia, Thailand and southern Africa (MUCED, TUCED and SACUDE SLUSE).
SLUSE research programs have been set up.
SLUSE PhD students are currently working within SLUSE.
Extensive course catalogues have been set up.
Over 400 Danish students have participated in the central field course, together with 300 Malaysian students, 300 Thai students and 100 students from Southern Africa.