Areas of professional focus at CDE

  • Natural resource management and its effects on sustainable regional development
  • Governance of socioecological systems in Southeast Asia, East Africa, Horn of Africa, and Central Asia
  • Spatial analysis and modelling approaches for the analysis of global change processes at different scales

Further professional interests

  • Conceptualization of science–policy interfaces for evidence-informed decision-making
  • Management of research partnerships programmes for sustainable development
  • Development of education and training programmes from bachelor to PhD levels for sustainable development

Field experience

15 years of field experience namely in Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand), Central Asia (Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) and Africa (Ethiopia, and Kenya). Work experience in other CDE core regions including Switzerland, South America, and South Asia.

Languages

German, English, French; basic grasp of Lao and Russian

Journal Article

Breu, Thomas; Bader, Christoph; Messerli, Peter; Heinimann, Andreas; Rist, Stephan; Eckert, Sandra (2016). Large-scale land acquisition and its effects on the water balance in investor and host countries. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0150901. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0150901

Hering, Janet G.; Sedlak, D.L.; Tortajada, C.; Biswas, A.K.; Niwagaba, C.; Breu, Thomas (2015). Local perspectives on water. Science, 349(6247), pp. 479-480. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/science.aac5902

Hurni, Hans; Giger, Markus; Liniger, Hanspeter; Mekdaschi Studer, Rima; Messerli, Peter; Portner, Brigitte; Schwilch, Gudrun; Wolfgramm, Bettina; Breu, Thomas Michael (2015). Soils, agriculture and food security: The interplay between ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Current opinion in environmental sustainability, 15, pp. 25-34. Elsevier 10.1016/j.cosust.2015.07.009

Michel, Claudia; Hearn, Simon; Wuelser, Gabriela; Breu, Thomas Michael (2014). Assessing the broad societal impacts of research: The case of the NCCR north-south programme. Fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, 39, pp. 11-15. Österreichische Plattform für Forschungs– und Technologiepolitikevaluierung (fteval)

Portner, Brigitte; Ehrensperger, Albrecht; Nezir, Zufan; Breu, Thomas Michael; Hurni, Hans (2014). Biofuels for a Greener Economy? Insights from Jatropha Production in Northeastern Ethiopia. Sustainability, 6(9), pp. 6188-6202. MDPI 10.3390/su6096188

Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Dwyer, Michael B.; Breu, Thomas Michael; Eckert, Sandra (2014). The geography of large-scale land acquisitions: Analysing socio-ecological patterns of target contexts in the global South. Applied geography, 53, pp. 449-459. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.07.005

Messerli, Peter; Heinimann, Andreas; Giger, Markus; Breu, Thomas Michael; Schoenweger, Oliver (2013). From 'land grabbing' to sustainable investments in land: potential contributions by land change science. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5(5), pp. 528-534. Elsevier 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.03.004

Heinimann, Andreas; Hett, Cornelia; Hurni, Kaspar; Messerli, Peter; Epprecht, Michael; Jørgensen, Lars; Breu, Thomas Michael (2013). Socio-Economic Perspectives on Shifting Cultivation Landscapes in Northern Laos. HUMAN ECOLOGY, 41(1), pp. 51-62. Springer 10.1007/s10745-013-9564-1

Hurni, Hans; Breu, Thomas Michael; Messerli, Peter; Portner, Brigitte (2013). Key implications of land conversions in agriculture. Trade and environment review, 2013, pp. 220-233. UNCTAD

Breu, Thomas; Wiesmann, Urs; Zimmermann, Anne; Herweg, Karl (2012). Research capacity in the South: A key to sustainable development. IAU horizons, 18(2), p. 27. Paris: Internat. Universities Bureau

Anseeuw, Ward; Boche, Mathieu; Breu, Thomas; Giger, Markus; Lay, Jann; Messerli, Peter; Nolte, Kerstin (2012). Large-scale land acquisitions in the 'Global South': creating evidence on a global level. GLP News(9), pp. 9-12. São Paulo: International Project Office - GLP IPO

Michel, Claudia; Heim, Eva; Herweg, Karl; Breu, Thomas (2010). Exploring the effectiveness of development research with a monitoring and learning approach. Knowledge management for development journal, 6(2), pp. 105-119. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis 10.1080/19474199.2010.531754

Haslinger, Andrea; Breu, Thomas; Hurni, Hans; Maselli, Daniel (2007). Opportunities and risks in reconciling conservation and development in a post-Soviet setting: The example of the Tajik National Park. International journal of biodiversity science and management, 3(3), pp. 157-169. London: Taylor & Francis

Hoeck, Tobias; Droux, Roman; Breu, Thomas; Hurni, Hans; Maselli, Daniel (2007). Rural energy consumption and land degradation in a post-soviet setting:An example from the west Pamir mountains in Tajikistan. Energy for sustainable development, 11(1), pp. 48-57. Bangalore (India): International Energy Initiative 10.1016/S0973-0826(08)60563-3

Breu, Thomas Michael; Maselli, Daniel; Hurni, Hans (2005). Knowledge for sustainable development in the Tajik Pamir Mountains. Mountain Research and Development, 25(2), pp. 139-146. International Mountain Society

Heinimann, Andreas; Breu, Thomas; Kohler, Thomas (2005). Watershed classification in the Lower Mekong Basin: Rapid economic growth - a source of increasing potential for conflict over resource use. Mountain Research and Development, 25(2), pp. 180-182. International Mountain Society 10.1659/0276-4741(2005)025[0181:WCITLM]2.0.CO;2

Hurni, Hans; Breu, Thomas Michael; Ludi, Eva; Portner, Brigitte (2004). Der Tadschikische Pamir: Entwicklungsprobleme und Perspektiven einer Hochgebirgsregion in Zentralasien. Geographische Rundschau, 56(10), pp. 60-65. Westermann

Heinimann, Andreas; Breu, Thomas Michael; Kohler, Thomas (2004). The challenge of applying Geographic Information Systems to Sustainable Mountain Development. Mountain Research and Development, 23(4), pp. 312-319. International Mountain Society

Newspaper or Magazine Article

Breu, Thomas Michael; Giger, Markus (June 2016). Bewältigung des Klimawandels als Teil der Entwicklungspolitik. Klimafreundlich Schweiz, pp. 14-15. UTK Media GmbH, Au, Switzerland

Book Section

Michel, Claudia; Hearn, Simon; Wülser, Gabriela; Breu, Thomas (2013). Maximising the impact of transdisciplinary research with a novel approach: ROMA (RAPID Outcome Mapping). In: Michel, Claudia; Heim, Eva Maria; Zimmermann, Anne B; Herweg, Karl; Breu, Thomas (eds.) Maximising the impact of research: the NCCR North-South approach. NCCR North-South Dialogue: Vol. 48 (pp. 11-19). Bern: NCCR North-South

Breu, Thomas Michael; Michel, Claudia; Shabdolov, Alisher; Hurni, Hans (2013). Looking back: plausible links between a research intervention and the course of development in the Tajik Pamirs. In: Michel, Claudia; Heim, Eva Maria; Zimmermann, Anne B.; Herweg, Karl; Breu, Thomas (eds.) Maximising the impact of research: the NCCR North-South approach. NCCR North-South Dialogue: Vol. 48 (pp. 45-52). Bern: NCCR North-South

Breu, Thomas; Hurni, Hans; Portner, Brigitte; Schwilch, Gudrun; Wolfgramm, Bettina; Messerli, Peter; Herweg, Karl (2011). Sustainable land management and global development: Factors affecting land users' efforts to adopt and sustain the productive use of natural resources. In: Wiesmann, Urs; Hurni, Hans; , (eds.) Research for Sustainable Development: Foundations, Experiences, and Perspectives. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South: Vol. 6 (pp. 427-449). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Ehrensperger, Albrecht; Heinimann, Andreas; Messerli, Peter; Notter, Benedikt; Muchemi, Julius; Breu, Thomas; Epprecht, Michael (2011). Towards a differentiated assessment of geographic information sciences for sustainable development. In: Wiesmann, Urs Martin; Hurni, Hans (eds.) Research for Sustainable Development: Foundations, Experiences, and Perspectives. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South: Vol. 6 (pp. 361-376). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Wolfgramm, Bettina; Shigaeva, Jyldyz; Nekushoeva, Gulniso; Bonfoh, Bassirou; Breu, Thomas Michael; Liniger, Hanspeter; Maselli, Daniel (2010). Kyrgyz and Tajik land use in transition: Challenges, responses and opportunities. In: Hurni, Hans; Wiesmann, Urs (eds.) Global Change and Sustainable Development: A Synthesis of Regional Experiences from Research Partnerships. Perspectives / NCCR North-South: Vol. 5 (pp. 241-254). Bern: Geographica Bernensia

Breu, Thomas; Hurni, Hans (2002). Generating knowledge for development in the Pamir mountains. In: Mountains of the world: Sustainable development in mountain areas: The need for adequate policies and instruments (pp. 34-35). Bern, Switzerland: Mountain Agenda

Book

Messerli, Peter; Ludi, Eva; Breu, Thomas (2012). 'Green economy': development opportunity of buzzword? Bern: CDE / NCCR North-South

Breu, Thomas Michael; Hurni, Hans (2003). The Tajik Pamirs: Challenges of sustainable development in an isolated mountain region. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE); Geographica Bernensia

Report

Breu, Thomas Michael; Giger, Markus; Hurni, Hans; Jucker Riva, Matteo; Lannen, Anu; Lardelli, Corina; Lauterburg, Nina Juanita; Messerli, Peter; Schwilch, Gudrun; Trechsel, Lilian Julia; Wolfgramm, Bettina (2015). Spotlight on the role of soils in sustainable development: CDE Annual report 2014 (CDE Annual Report 2014). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Breu, Thomas Michael; Höggel, Udo; Rueff, Henri (2015). Sustainable livestock production? Industrial agriculture versus pastoralism (CDE Policy Brief 7). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Bader, Christoph; Breu, Thomas; Gämperli, Ursula; Hirschbühl, Tina; Kohler, Thomas; Lardelli, Corina; Michel, Claudia; Providoli, Isabelle (2014). Spotlight on knowledge for a new development agenda: CDE annual Report 2013 (CDE Annual Report, 2013). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Balsiger, Urs; Bottazzi, Patrick; Breu, Thomas Michael; Bürgi, Elisabeth; Ehrensperger, Albrecht; Giger, Markus; Kiteme, Boniface; Kohler, Thomas; Lardelli, Corina; Messerli, Peter; Rist, Stephan; Schneider, Flurina (2013). Spotlight on governance of land and natural resources: CDE annual report 2012 (CDE Annual Report, 2012). Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Michel, Claudia; Heim, Eva Maria; Zimmermann, Anne; Herweg, Karl Günter; Breu, Thomas Michael (2013). Maximising the impact of research: the NCCR North-South approach: Fourth NCCR North-South Report on Effectiveness (NCCR North-South Dialogue 48). Bern: NCCR North-South

Michel, Claudia; Paulsson, Maria; Heim, Eva Maria; Zimmermann, Anne B.; Herweg, Karl; Breu, Thomas (2013). Promoting research-user collaboration: an assessment of funding schemes: Fifth NCCR North-South Report on Effectiveness (NCCR North-South Dialogue 49). Bern: NCCR North-South

Anseeuw, Ward; Boche, Matthieu; Breu, Thomas; Giger, Markus; Lay, Jann; Messerli, Peter; Nolte, Kerstin (2012). Transnational land deals for agriculture in the global South: Analytical report based on the land matrix database Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Heim, Eva Maria; Engelage, Sonja; Zimmermann, Anne B.; Herweg, Karl; Michel, Claudia; Breu, Thomas (2012). Tracking Alumni Career Paths: Third NCCR North-South Report on Effectiveness (NCCR North-South Dialogue 42). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) and NCCR North-South

Kohler, Thomas; Messerli, Peter; Breu, Thomas; Balsiger, Urs (2012). Report 2011: Global change and its impacts on sustainable development Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Kohler, Thomas; Messerli, Peter; Breu, Thomas Michael; Balsiger, Urs (2011). Report 2010: Innovations in sustainable development Bern, Schweiz: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Michel, Claudia; Heim, Eva Maria; Herweg, Karl Günter; Zimmermann, Anne B.; Breu, Thomas (2010). Making research relevant to policy-makers, development actors, and local communities: NCCR North-South report on effectiveness of research for development (NCCR North-South Dialogue 23). Bern, Schweiz: NCCR North-South

Messerli, Peter; Salmi, Annika; Herweg, Karl; Breu, Thomas (2007). Bridging Research and Development : Partnership Actions for Mitigating Syndromes (PAMS) in the Swiss National Centre of Competence (NCCR) North-South - Capitalising on Experience (NCCR North-South Dialogue 17). Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South

Conference or Workshop Item

Breu, Thomas Michael; Messerli, Peter; Rist, Stephan; Heinimann, Andreas; Bader, Christoph; Eckert, Sandra (2016). Effects of foreign direct investments on water resources and its relevance for common pool resources (Unpublished). In: IASC Regional Conference (Europe) 2016. Global connections and local responses. Bern, Switzerland. 10.-13.05.2016.

Breu, Thomas (2014). Creating Spaces to Improve Science–Policy Exchange in the Lao PDR. Lao DECIDE info brief(3). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Michel, Claudia; Hearn, Simon; Wülser, Gabriela; Breu, Thomas (2013). Assessing the diverse impacts of transdisciplinary research on poverty reduction: the case of the NCCR North-South (Unpublished). In: New Horizons / New Challenges: evaluation of STI policies, instruments and organisations. Wien, Österreich. 14.-15.11.2013.

Messerli, Peter; Breu, Thomas; Reenberg, Annette; Taylor, Michael; Heinimann, Andreas; Gironde, Christophe (2012). Large scale land acquisitions (LSLA) and sustainable rural development in the global South. In: Planet under Pressure, 26.-29.3.2012, London, UK. Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Heim, Eva Maria; Michel, Claudia; Zimmermann, Anne; Breu, Thomas; Messerli, Peter; Herweg, Karl; Salmi, Annika (2010). Partnership Actions for Mitigating Syndromes (PAMS): Experience with a transdisciplinary tool in the NCCR North-South programme (Unpublished). In: Transdisciplinarity Net Conference. Geneva, Switzerland. 15.-17. September 2010.

Hurni, Hans; Breu, Thomas Michael (2008). Der Nationale Forschungsschwerpunkt Nord-Süd an der Universität Bern (Unpublished). In: Präsentation vor einer Delegation des Kantonsparlaments Bern. Bern, Schweiz. 08.04.2008.

Messerli, Paul Walter; Kaufmann-Hayoz, Ruth; Hurni, Hans; Lienemann, Wolfgang; Breu, Thomas Michael (2008). Bildung und Forschung zu Nachhaltiger Entwicklung an der Universität Bern (Unpublished). In: Tagung der Erziehungsdirektion des Kantons Bern zu Lehre und Forschung zu Nachhaltiger Entwicklung. Bern, Schweiz. 19.02.2008.

Breu, Thomas (2006). Spatial Environmental Risk Modelling in the Pamir-Alai Mountains: Application of a fuzzy-logic based GIS approach. In: International Disaster Reduction Conference (IDRC). Proceedings. Davos, Switzerland. 27.08.-01.09.2006.

Breu, Thomas Michael (2006). Erfahrungen und Perspektiven aus dem NCCR North-South (Unpublished). In: Annual Meeting of the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE). Bern, Switzerland. 14.09.2006.

Audiovisual Material & Event

Droux, Roman; Hurni, Hans; Lutz, Ulrich; Breu, Thomas Michael (2002). Pamir: Life on the roof of the world [Movie]. Bern: Centre for Development and Environment

  • Member (ad personam) of the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE) of the Swiss Academy of Sciences
  • Institutional partner representative in the Global Water Partnership (GWP)
  • Liaison person of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  • Official contact person of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for the Swiss-Ethiopian bilateral research treaty
  • Volkswagen Foundation - Central Asia & Caucasus funding initiative
  • Member of the Commission on Sustainable Development of the University of Bern
  • Member of the Committee for the Bernese Prize for Environmental Research
  • Member of Geographical Society of Bern
  • Member of different Scientific Steering Committees