The main research objectives for the programme are:

1.) To build social theory that is rooted in an appreciation of the urgency of the socio-economic and environmental challenges facing the Karoo and South Africa as a whole, as well as the importance of inter-disciplinary work across the social and natural sciences

2.) To explore the social-ecological dynamics within which commitments to sustainability, development and social and environmental justice in the Karoo region must operate

3.) To examine ongoing investments in astronomy, renewable and non-renewable energy, mining, conservation and large-scale agriculture and their different implications for relationships to land and the understanding and practice of sustainable development

4.) To probe social meanings around land, place, nature, identity and development in selected sites affected by these national and international developments as well as by other locally significant developments

5.) Through this work to contribute to national policy development on land, environment and development and to support community development initiatives in selected sites.