The core research theme of ECS is competence development within the Wageningen domains of healthy food and the living environment. Competence is conceived of as the key capability of professionals in work and citizens in society to successfully perform tasks, to cope with profound change and to contribute to it. Competence development is seen as a learning process leading to human resource and capacity development, which should result in sustainable socio-economic development and performance improvement.
ECS distinguishes three scientific perspectives from which competence development is studied: 1. societal forces, which constitute emerging competence needs; 2. education, social and business environments as contexts for learning, human resource development and performance improvement; and 3. sustainable development as imperative normative framework.
ECS focuses on three research themes within the core theme of competence development: 1. the identification of new competencies and the development of competence frameworks, 2. the design of innovative learning arrangements, and 3. competence assessment.