Over the last years, the recognition of goods and services provided by mountain areas meeting in-creased social demand has risen considerably. With the United Nation's International Year of the Mountains (IYM) 2002 the international awareness for mountain ecosystems and the inter-relationship to lowland developments attained high political levels and priority. This process requires a high degree of inter-disciplinary research, experience from application through practitioners and institutional development. In order to supply a sound basis for dissemination of results from the ISDEMA project, an analysis of the respective mountain development research focusing on the European scale, has been carried out. The following paper gives an overview in this situation, and discusses main tendencies and gaps of the respective research activities.