CPAS initiates, promotes and coordinates high quality and innovative research in the Asian and Pacific region. The centre focuses on Anthropology and Development Studies and on their interaction with other sciences.

The Centre conducts projects together with other universities and research institutes but has also various projects carried out by individual researchers.

In the past CPAS has been involved in research on a broad variety of themes, ranging from ethno-religious conflicts and identity formation to social security, livelihoods and socio-economic development.