Interdisciplinary handling of environmental topics is the main objective of IMDO. The Institute collaborates with research groups in the social and natural sciences. This collaboration results in the organisation of interdisciplinary programmes for education and research.

In the field of environmental sciences and sustainable development, IMDO provides a forum for the exchange of information concerning analysis, impacts and solutions, socio-economical aspects, law and policy, the ecological and societal context, education.

The Institute also aims to disseminate scientific knowledge by implementing or stimulating policy and society relevant projects, and by organising education and training programmes for different target groups.