Food Security

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 1189–1201 | Cite as

Conflict management programs in trans-disciplinary research projects: the case of a food security project in Tanzania

  • Katharina Löhr
  • Christian Hochmuth
  • Frieder Graef
  • Jane Wambura
  • Stefan Sieber
Original Paper


The scientific response to the challenges of security for food systems, as well as other global topics such as climate change, has been to shift from research projects with a narrow focus on one or a few sectors of the food system to broader trans-disciplinary approaches. Such research settings are inherently complex and involve the potential for substantial conflict that can put the success of the entire research project at risk. Allocating time and resources to establish mechanisms that facilitate meta-communication among project members is increasingly advocated in order to minimize conflicts. The aim of this paper is to analyze and then facilitate the integration of conflict management programs as a tool within such research projects. This was achieved by establishing the framework characteristics that define the food security research environment as: (1) donor-funded; (2) temporary; (3) virtual; (4) international; (5) inter-organizational; and (6) trans-disciplinary; and by discussing their implications for the implementation of a conflict management program. A participatory and transdisciplinary food security research project active in Tanzania (Trans-SEC) was used as the case study, with qualitative research methods applied.


Food security Trans-disciplinary research Conflict management Conflict resolution Project management 



This publication is a product of the project Trans-SEC ( and Food Security Africa (FSA). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded Trans-SEC, with co-funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The views expressed are those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the BMBF and BMZ. The Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research ZALF e.V. financed FSA. The authors acknowledge the help provided by the Trans-SEC consortium throughout their procedures for data collection. Advice and guidance given by Dirk Sprenger, Dr. Felix Wendenburg and Prof. Dr. Lars Kirchhoff was very valuable during the planning and development of this study. Thanks also to the reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Löhr
    • 1
  • Christian Hochmuth
    • 2
  • Frieder Graef
    • 3
  • Jane Wambura
    • 1
  • Stefan Sieber
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)Institute of Socio-EconomicsMünchebergGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Conflict ManagementEuropean University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany
  3. 3.Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)Institute of Land Use SystemsMünchebergGermany

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