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The Centre for Rural Development

The Centre for Rural Development (SLE) belongs to the Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture Sciences, a department of the Humboldt-University of Berlin. As a postgraduate study program, the SLE prepares students for work in the field of international development cooperation, connecting both studies and profession, i.e., science and practice. Alongside SLE STUDIES, the SLE further engages in development cooperation through its other departments, which strengthen one another: SLE RESEARCH, SLE TRAINING, and SLE ADVISORY SERVICES.

The SLE, shortly explained


International Cooperation for Sustainable Development, a one-year vocational graduate programme for students with master’s degrees in various disciplines (language: German)

Thematically and methodologically oriented trainings on current development and sustainability issues, as well as tools and strategies for practice, such as conflict or project management for experts and managers from all over the world.

Empirical and application-oriented research projects as part of the degree programme. Multi-year collaborative research in joint projects with HU institutes and other universities worldwide. The research focus of the SLE is on transformation topics with a focus on rural development.

Process-oriented curricular and methodological consultancy for universities, agricultural schools and professional development institutions around the world. In addition, policy advice for ministries and development cooperation organisations, especially in the areas of food security and poverty reduction and on SLE transformation topics.

Organizational structure

The postgraduate programme is organised as an extended education certificate programme. It draws on the professional experience and competences of staff and specialised trainers and lecturers, as well as on the latest findings in development, transformation and inequality research.

The SLE is active in research within the framework of its Joint International Research Projects (JIRP, formerly Foreign Projects, AP). Together with SLE participants and international postgraduates, tandem teams are formed and work together on development policy issues in a solution-oriented manner. Co-financing by development agencies ensures their interest and the topicality of the issues. The projects take place worldwide.

In the field of SLE RESEARCH, the SLE also acquires multi-year research projects, usually in cooperation with other research institutions. The focus here is on topics of the SLE transformation agenda and on the topic of translating scientific results into practice.


The SLE was founded in 1962 as the "Centre for Agricultural Development". With its focus on tropical and subtropical agriculture, it belonged for a long time to the department of "International Agricultural Development" at the Technical University of Berlin. In the course of the reorganisation of the three Berlin universities after reunification, the SLE was assigned to the Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture at the Humboldt University of Berlin in October 1992 and renamed the "Centre for Rural Development" in 1994. This renaming was intended to make clear the broader approach of the SLE, which goes beyond technical concepts. With the faculty reform in 2014, the SLE was placed under the umbrella of the Faculty of Life Sciences, under which it still operates today.


 zeichenFor my profession, SLE studies was...

...the start of a 20 year, varied and fulfilling career."

Dr. Andrea Brechelt, ComAg - Key Account Manager America, Africa and Asia