The Department focuses on the economic, environmental, geographical, demographic and sociological aspects of regional and local development. This interdisciplinary character lies at the heart of a new, modern teaching structure comparable with the conceptions applied at Western economic faculties, in that it combines theoretical macro- and microeconomic approaches with real, global processes in specific regions and localities in the Czech Republic. The Department was established in 1991 and coordinates the Master's and Bachelor's degree programmes in Regional Development.
Regional economics helps to describe the localizing behaviour of businesses, the creation of spatial interactions, structures and their specific aspects in model and real cases of global, European and Czech regional development. Specifically, regional economics involves current strategic approaches to the application of regional tools and principles, management and the creation of regional programme documents and individual projects. Students focus on the application of management and marketing in the administration of regional and local development in the Czech Republic, both in theoretical terms and with a view to practical application.
The environmental aspects of economics involve the current trends in the understanding of the economic aspects of the environment and sustainable development, the use of natural resources, the approaches and applications of environmental policy in management on the national, regional, and local levels. Teaching focuses on the environmental specifics of the Czech Republic and experiences gained in the European Union.
Students' geographic knowledge is based on the study of socioeconomic structures and demographic processes on various spatial levels. Knowledge of the natural, social and economic differences within the Czech Republic, Europe and other national economies worldwide contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of society-wide global and regional changes.
The fourth area of the Department's activities focuses on regional sociology. The spatial behaviour of populations and the development of social structures in regions are explained both in terms of inter-regional differences within the Czech Republic and with a view to differences between countries.
The Department's research activity is focused on the ecological, economic and sociological aspects of restructuring and innovation processes in industrial regions, increasing regional competitiveness, cross-border cooperation (with the Polish cross-border region), regional management and marketing. This potential is applied by the Department in drawing up specific, strategic regional development documents and forecasting studies, both nationally and on the regional and local levels. The Department is a member of the Slovak Section of the European Regional Science Association, and works closely with similar departments at the University of Ostrava, Charles University in Prague, and the universities in Plzeň and Bratislava. Since 1998 the Department has cooperated with the Department of European and Regional Studies at the Economic Academy in Katowice (Poland) on cross-border regional development projects.