CETRAD multidisciplinary team integrates researchers with disciplinary background, including anthropology, economics, management, social work, sociology, tourism, and interdisciplinary experience in agrarian studies, development studies, regional and rural studies.

The research team is enriched by more than 50 Ph.D. students, national and international, developing their thesis projects under one of the two doctoral programmes hosted by CETRAD Agribusiness and Sustainability and Development, Societies and Territories.

Supported on community of around 100 researchers, CETRAD develops innovative research, comprising the design of integrative frameworks, methods and tools and the application of a large spectrum of methods and techniques to gather both in-depth and generalizable empirical evidence contributing to better understand how inclusive and smart sustainable development can be unlocked in low-density territories. These includes rural areas and small-medium-sized towns across different parts of Europe and beyond.

CETRAD research has being focused on the Mediterranean uplands mountainous areas of Portugal and the Southern Europe, the Iberian mountains and other territories facing challenging socioeconomic dynamics and depicting relevant territorial inequality patterns at the European level. Simultaneously, the centre develops acknowledged research in the field of ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship, both conceptual and applied, providing frameworks, data and tools to support place-based innovation and to understand how it can anchor Quintuple Helix Ecosystems in low-density territories. These latest wave of innovation ecosystems are acknowledged as being key to set in motion the socioeconomic transformations required by demographical, climate and digital sociotechnical transitions at both global and the local level.

CETRAD has dedicated along the time, the centre celebrates 20 years in 2022, a particular attention to the dynamics of rural economy of their elected territories, the Mediterranean uplands mountainous areas of Portugal and the Southern Europe, and the Iberian mountains, where agriculture, food and tourism are key economic activities. The accumulated experienced in this topic, built on innovative highly internationalised research, posits CETRAD as a national reference, recognised at the European level, in the area of rural sustainable development.

CETRAD cross-disciplinary approach, mixing heterogeneous ontologies, mobilising a diversity of research methods and techniques, despite being challenging for its researchers, originates singular research opportunities. Enables CETRAD researchers collectively contributing to the advance of the state-of-art in the designing, understanding and assessing of old and new generations of territorial policies in the context of low-density regions. Combining cross-disciplinary knowledge, analysing through complementary (and also potentially conflictual) perspectives – society, economy, policy and science – and, observing at different scales macro (global or national), meso (regional) and at the micro level of analysis (the urban or rural community, the firm, farm or the citizen), CETRAD is able to create knowledge with place-based socioeconomic impact.

CETRAD is currently exploring the field of Place-Based Territorial Intelligence (IT), as a way of exponentiation its R&D activity impact in the promotion of inclusive smart sustainable wellbeing development policies, strategies, processes and in low-density territories by understanding how better overcoming the barriers derived from insufficient embeddedness, feeble connectivity, and limited relatedness. Place-based IT is being developed by the CETRAD, at a pilot stage, through the collaborative lab Data4LowDensity.

CETRAD is organised into 4 research groups (RG)
defined by strong interconnectivity and transdisciplinary work.