tdAcademy

Platform for Transdiscplinary Research and Studies

tdAcademy aims to be a continuously evolving knowledge base for transdisciplinary research and a platform for its global community to reflect on existing concepts and methods, discuss latest insights, and develop new ideas.

Transdisciplinary (td) research is a research practice with the intent to solve complex societal problems and advance scientific knowledge production in times of complex sustainability challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. Its wide application in different sectors (e.g. energy, waste, and transport sectors) in the global North and South shows its importance as a transformative research practice to frame and conduct research.

tdAcademy pursues three objectives. First, consolidating state of the art insights concerning four issues relevant for td research: societal impact, scientific impact, context dependencies, and new formats. Second, providing high quality capacity-building opportunities (e.g. summer schools or workshops) for td researchers. Third, supporting and further developing the global td community by providing a space for exchange, reflection, collaboration, and new ideas. In addition, the platform will set up a guest and fellowship program to actively involve the td community in the project. Guests and fellows will enrich the new knowledge gained concerning td research with their experiences and expertise.

tdAcademy started its work in June 2020. The founding partners are the Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft from the TU Berlin and the Oeko-Institut. However, it is a main project goal to collaborate closely with other academic institutions that conduct, promote, and shape td research. Such academic institutions will be invited to be partners of the tdAcademy.

Focus on four main issues

As a first step, we will consolidate the newest insights concerning the four issues societal impact, scientific impact, context dependencies, and new formats of td research. For this, we will conduct reviews, analyze td research projects, organize workshops, and conduct interviews. Afterwards, we want to discuss our insights with experts in the field from science, society, and research funding agencies. In addition, we seek to bring together capacity-building opportunities from leading td research institutes and develop new ones to support td researchers, especially early-career researchers.

Additionally, a compact overview of the results of the previous project TransImpact will be available in English after the relaunch. TransImpact formed the basis for tdAcademy. The project investigated with which processes and methods td research can achieve the desired societal and scientific effects.

Transdisciplinary research community

tdAcademy seeks to strengthen the global td community by providing a space for reflections, discussions, and new ideas. A close collaboration between all founding partners and additional td research institutes is key for the success of the tdAcademy project. For this, the new website will contain interactive elements to enable an online dialogue that will be supported with offline events.

If you like to take part in the dialogues or read about its results for your research projects, you can register for the community. You will soon find the content in English as well.

tdAcademy welcomes universities, institutes, organizations, and individuals who are interested in or working with the td research practice to share their experiences, provide capacity-building opportunities, and participate in dialogues to advance the field.

Background

The platform tdAcademy is the follow-up project of the research project TransImpact (2015-2019). TransImpact focused on four topics of td research processes: joint problem description and project planning, participation of societal actors, knowledge integration, and transferability of findings. For each of these topics, TransImpact showed the most important opportunities for action and suggested methods that help td researchers to increase the impact potential of their research projects.

tdAcademy picks up on the need to expand and deepen the knowledge base for effective td research and reacts to the need from the td research community to reflect, consolidate and advance the td research practice and its unique features. The tdAcademcy is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Social-Ecological Research funding scheme. The guest and fellowship program is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

So far, this website is only partly accessible in English. After the relaunch in spring 2021, it will be fully accessible in German and English.