The aim of transdisciplinary research is to achieve societal change. But what effect does this kind of research actually have on academia? The spectrum of possible effects that transdisciplinary research may generate within academia goes far beyond publications and citations. We will explore this spectrum under topic line 2.

Scientific Effects of Transdisciplinary Research

The aim of transdisciplinary research is to provide new academic insights. The spectrum of possible effects that transdisciplinary research may generate within academia goes far beyond publications and citations. Examples of this are new perspectives on the object of research, experiences with new research methods, or networking with people from different disciplines and spheres of activity. Thus far, however, we have very little knowledge about the kinds of scientific effects generated by transdisciplinary research and how these effects arise. We hope that topic line 2 of the tdAcademy will contribute to closing this research gap.

Experiences of Experts

We aim to find answers to the question of what kinds of effects transdisciplinary research generates within academia, and how these arise. To this end, we interview academics who are established within their discipline and also have experience in transdisciplinary research. In so doing, we concentrate on three exemplary fields: environmental sociology, sustainable chemistry and participatory health research. This is also how we gain insight into the differences and commonalities between and within different specialisations with regard to the question at hand. In total, we conduct 22 qualitative interviews with professors from these three specialisations and evaluate these using the method of qualitative content analysis.

Promoting and Progressing Dialogue

Once all the interviews have been conducted and evaluated, we invite a few of the respondents to exchange ideas within a dialogue forum. In the forum we present the interim results of our study and discuss them together. This is how we hope to promote dialogue about transdisciplinary research within and between the three specialisms. Later on, we present the results of topic line 2 in a larger group as part of a reflection workshop, continuing the dialogue on the questions at hand.

New Insights from the Community

At various times, we also invite academics from scientific research to join our Guest and Fellowship Programme. They focus on issues linked to the question of how academia is changed by a transdisciplinary approach. Here, their research has a certain degree of discreteness but is connected with the topic. This promotes dialogue, giving rise to further research findings that we make available to the community of transdisciplinary researchers. The first guest within this topic line is Peter Wehling.


14. November 2023

New article on the scientific effects of transdisciplinary research published

Recent literature on the evaluation of transdisciplinary research has focused almost entirely on the societal effects. But what about the added value of transdisciplinary research for science? An article published by topic line 2 explores this question.

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15. Juli 2022

What is in it for research? A workshop report

On June 10, 2022, ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research organized an online workshop as part of the topic line 2 to reflect on scientific impacts of transdisciplinary research.

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1. April 2022

Video (German): Webinar with Peter Wehling on disputes about the scientificity of TD research

In this webinar, Peter Wehling analyses the relationship between established science and transdisciplinarity and deconstructs the most common objections towards transdisciplinarity.

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10. Juni 2022

Was hat die Wissenschaft davon? Reflexionen über die wissenschaftlichen Wirkungen transdisziplinärer Forschung

In den letzten Jahren wurde viel über die gesellschaftlichen Wirkungen transdisziplinärer Forschung diskutiert und publiziert. Weniger beachtet wurden hingegen die Wirkungen, die dieser Forschungsmodus auf die Wissenschaft hat. In diesem Workshop möchten wir das Thema wissenschaftliche Wirkungen transdisziplinärer Forschung breit und aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven diskutieren.

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1. Juli 2021

Who’s afraid of transdisciplinary research?

tdAcademy visiting researcher Peter Wehling summarizes his observations and findings on institutional and conceptual resistances to transdisciplinarity in mainstream science.

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26. Juni 2021

Dialogue forum on the scientific effects of transdisciplinary research

On 25 June 2021, we held a dialogue forum where we presented our interim results for topic line 2.

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