Transdisciplinary Research and its Scientific Impact
The Fellow Group "Transdisciplinary Research and its Scientific Impact: Insights and implications from health research and sustainability research on interconnected health-environmental challenges, collaborative approaches, and structural development in science" is composed of Richard Beecroft (KIT-Center Humans & Technology, DE), Guido Caniglia (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI), AT), Evelyne de Leeuw UNSW Australia Research Centre for Primary Health Care & Equity, AUS), Alfred Rütten (Department of Sport Science and Sport, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, DE), Jana Semrau (Department of Sport Science and Sport, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, DE).
The fellows will be focusing on advancing the study of the interface between sustainability research and health research, which has been little researched so far. The group seeks to strengthen transdisciplinary approaches through conducting a systematic inventory of existing research at the aforementioned interface in order to gain a better empirically based understanding of the scientific effects of transdisciplinary research in this field. In doing so, the group hopes to gain new insights regarding both the methodological and theoretical advancement of transdisciplinary research.
Starting in June 2023, the group will meet several times online as well as in a face-to-face meeting at ISOE.
The fellow group consisting of Dena Fam (UTS, AU), Livia Fritz (EPFL, CH), Ulli Vilsmaier (Responsive Research, CH) with Juliana Mercon (University of Veracruz, MX) as associated member focuses on the transformation of universities towards dynamic and relational inter- and transdisciplinary institutions through the lens of Antiono Gramsci's concept of hegemony. The groups objectives are: to understand how universities develop and implement strategies, integrated practices, and organizational models that enable inter- and transdisciplinary research and teaching as well as to develop a perspective that accounts for the broader societal, i.e. political-historical, economic and socio-cultural context conditions that enable or hinder such transformations. The intensive working phase of the fellow group was between October and December 2021. This publication was produced as part of the Fellowship: The Responsive and Constitutive Character of Transdisciplinarity: Consequences for Higher Education (Fam, Dena, & Vilsmaier, Ulli (2022). The Responsive and Constitutive Character of Transdiciplinarity: Consequences for Higher Education, Journal of educational studies,21(2), 30–50.) Learn more
The fellow group consisting of Rachel Claus (Royal Roads University, CA), Janet Harris (University of Sheffield, UK) as well as Josefa Kny and Martina Schäfer (both ZTG, TU Berlin, DE) from the tdAcademy team deals with approaches and methods of impact assessment and evaluation in transdisciplinary or participatory research in the three fields of research for development, sustainability and (public) health. The group has been working together continuously and decentrally since summer 2021. Learn more
Context: Building relations across contexts in transdisciplinary research
The fellow group consisting of David Manuel-Navarrette (School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, US), Sarah Burch (University of Waterloo, CA), Zainal Abidin Bin Sanusi (International Islamic University, MY) and Bagele Chilisa (Faculty of Education, University of Botswana, BW) will work on context dependencies of transdisciplinary research. They will pursue a self-reflective and explorative approach through which they will collaboratively study the value and dynamics of relations in transdisciplinary research. A central component of these considerations will also be the reflection on one's own experiences with relationships as a researcher, whereby, in addition to the personal level, a historical perspective on the production and recognition of knowledge(s) in relations is important to the fellows.
Transdisciplinary Learning towards Collective Transformation
In this fellow group, Gemma O'Sullivan (EWUU Alliance, NL), BinBin Pearce (Delft University of Technology, NL), Jillian Student (Wageningen University & Research, NL) and Ulrike Zeshan (University of Central Lancashire, UK) jointly work on the topic of TD Teaching and Learning. The group aims to address knowledge gaps related to TD curricula that are centred around the development of competencies to address societal challenges connected to sustainable development. The fellows want to explore to which extent TD concepts and methods may be merged with other action-oriented approaches to learning (e.g. challenge-based learning, participatory action research, transitions management research). Additionally, the group would like to investigate the conditions that help fostering lifelong learning competencies among actors in the field of education and transdisciplinary research. They envision outputs in the areas of network formation, evaluation of research, bringing together best practice examples, and communication about TD learning.
The group will meet four times between Winter 2022 and Summer 2023. Each time, they will be hosted by a different tdAcademy institution to promote knowledge sharing among the team and the four different institutions.
Fostering inclusivity and transformative action through narratives in transdisciplinary processes
The fellow group around Paula Maria Bögel (Universität Vechta, DE), Karoline Augenstein (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, DE) and Meike Levin-Keitel (TU Dortmund, DE) has the objective to develop a narrative perspective on analyzing mechanisms of change and to derive design principles for narratives in TD research formats, such as real-world labs. In this way, the group aims to contribute to more inclusivity in TD knowledge and to foster exchange with practitioners.The fellows would like to align their work with some of the following questions: How can abstract data and facts about sustainability challenges be translated into personally meaningful narratives? How are specific identities at individual and collective levels formed through narrative, and the other way around? How can narrative processes (e.g. joint storytelling in real-world labs) foster trust, accountability and collective action? Planned outputs are the design principles for narratives in transdisciplinary research, the exchange with the wider TD community through hosting discussions, the public dissemination of their results on several platforms and a final publication on their work.
In March 2023, the group will meet for the first time at Leuphana University, followed by visits of the other institutes in summer and autumn.
Transdisciplinarity for Holistic Sustainability Education: New Learning Approaches
The fellows Alicia Jiménez (Earth Charter Secretariat, CR) and Charles Hopkins (York University, CAN) will work on transforming Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with transdisciplinary innovative approaches. The objective of their fellowship is to deepen the discussion around the changes needed to create education processes that serve the common good, to contribute solving real world complex problems, and to explore ESD in a local context.
They will investigate assessment methods for value based ESD processes in higher education institutions. They intend to develop a quality seal for ESD that incorporates an ethical perspective on sustainability. They also jointly aim to develop an in-service teacher training module that will empower schools to become agents of social transformation. In addition, they will collaborate with the residents of Lüneburg through community dialogues to create a blueprint for engaging the public in identifying relevant local ESD themes. The fellows will discuss their work results together with Leuphana staff members and students involved in education research and learning.
In the period from April to May 2023, Alica Jiménez and Charles Hopkins will work together at the Leuphana University.