The research in the Centre is structured in three main programmes, although individual projects may span programmes.
Within each of the three main research programmes in the Centre, research is centred around several themes. The themes are of different complexity of organization and range from understanding animal behaviour to addressing how Australian society values and empathises with natural environments. Some themes support many different research projects, including post-graduate student research projects and research being done by senior research staff in the Centre. Other themes support few projects at this stage. Many research staff and a few students do research across a number of themes or programmes, thus maintaining the integration of research in the Centre. Some projects are expanding and developing over many years. Others are completed within a relatively short time because they are student projects, or they involve research in response to specific problems brought to the Centre by outside bodies.