Publikationen 2017-2018

New

 

Black, D., et al. (2018): Moving Health Upstream in Urban Development: Reflections on the Operationalization of a Transdisciplinary Case Study. Global Challenges.


This paper describes the development, conceptualization, and implementation of a transdisciplinary research pilot, the aim of which is to understand how human and planetary health could become a priority for those who control the urban development process. Key challenges include a significant dislocation between academia and the real world, alongside systemic failures in valuation and assessment mechanisms. The National Institutes of Health four‐phase model of transdisciplinary team‐based research is drawn on and adapted to reflect on what has worked well and what has not operationally.

Link to the article

Kueffer, C., K.Thelen Lässer, and M. Hall (2017): Applying the Environmental Humanities: Ten steps for action and implementation. Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology, Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences. Bern.


There is a growing perception in society and among decision makers that addressing environmental problems requires fundamentally new approaches. This report is based upon a survey of practitioners who work in the field of Environmental Humanities and summarizes ten steps for action and implementation.

Link to the report

Leydesdorff, L., C.S. Wagner, and L. Bornmann (2018): Interdisciplinarity as Diversity in Citation Patterns among Journals: Rao-Stirling Diversity, Relative Variety, and the Gini coefficient. Cornell University Library.


Questions of definition and measurement continue to constrain a consensus on the measurement of interdisciplinarity. Using Rao-Stirling (RS) Diversity produces sometimes anomalous results. We argue that these unexpected outcomes can be related to the use of "dual-concept diversity" which combines "variety" and "balance" in the definitions (ex ante). We propose to modify RS Diversity into a new indicator (DIV) which operationalizes variety, balance, and disparity independently and then combines them ex post. "Balance" can be measured using the Gini coefficient. We apply DIV to the aggregated citation patterns of 11,487 journals covered by the Journal Citation Reports 2016 of the Science Citation Index and the Social Sciences Citation Index as an empirical domain and, in more detail, to the citation patterns of 85 journals assigned to the Web-of-Science category "information science & library science" in both the cited and citing directions. We compare the results of the indicators and show that DIV provides improved results in terms of distinguishing between interdisciplinary knowledge integration (citing) versus knowledge diffusion (cited). The new diversity indicator and RS diversity measure different features. A routine for the measurement of the various operationalizations of diversity (in any data matrix) is made available online.

Link to the article

Ribeiro, B., et al. (2018): Introducing the dilemma of societal alignment for inclusive and responsible research and innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation, p. 1-16.


In this discussion paper, we outline and reflect on some of the key challenges that influence the development and uptake of more inclusive and responsible forms of research and innovation. Taking these challenges together, we invoke Collingridge’s famous dilemma of social control of technology to introduce a complementary dilemma that of ‘societal alignment’ in the governance of science, technology and innovation. Considerations of social alignment are scattered and overlooked among some communities in the field of science, technology and innovation policy. By starting to unpack this dilemma, we outline an agenda for further consideration of social alignment in the study of responsible research and innovation.

Link to the article

Rüegg, S.R., B. Häsler, and J. Zinsstag, eds (2018): Integrated approaches to health. A handbook for the evaluation of One Health.


One Health addresses health challenges arising from the intertwined spheres of humans, animals and ecosystems. This handbook is the product of an interdisciplinary effort to provide science-based guidance for the evaluation of One Health and other integrated approaches to health. It guides the reader through a systems approach and framework to evaluate such approaches in a standardised way. It provides an overview of concepts and metrics from health and life sciences, social sciences, economics, and ecology that are relevant for the evaluation of the processes involved, as well as the characterisation of expected and unexpected outcomes of One Health initiatives. Finally, the handbook provides guidance and practical protocols to help plan and implement evaluations in order to generate new insights and provide meaningful information about the value of One Health. The handbook is intended for practitioners, researchers, evaluators as well as funders of integrated approaches to health and beyond.

Link to the publication

Szostak, R. (2018): Interdisciplinarity and Adapted Physical Activity. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 35(3), p. 254-266.


The purpose of the paper was to draw lessons for the field of adapted physical activity from the interrelated literatures on interdisciplinarity, creativity, and team research. In each of these literatures, strategies have been identified that have been found to be useful by previous researchers. Lack of familiarity with these strategies can result in unsuccessful research projects or in the devotion of scarce resources to the reinvention of such strategies. The first section in the paper in particular addresses questions that arose at the 2016 North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity symposium in Edmonton, Alberta.

Link to the article

van der Hel, S. (2018): Science for change: A survey on the normative and political dimensions of global sustainability research. Global Environmental Change, 52, p. 248-258.


Global change and sustainability research increasingly focusses on informing and shaping societal transformations towards more sustainable futures. Doing so, researchers encounter the deeply political and normative dimensions of sustainability problems and potential solutions. This raises questions about the value-dimensions of science itself, as well as the appropriate relationship between science and politics. In this paper, these normative and political dimensions of sustainability research are explored based on a literature review and survey.

Link to the article

von Wehrden, H., et al. (2018): Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research: finding the common ground of multi-faceted concepts. Sustainability Science.


Inter- and transdisciplinarity are increasingly relevant concepts and research practices within academia. Although there is a consensus about the need to apply these practices, there is no agreement over definitions. Building on the outcomes of the first year of the COST Action TD1408 “Interdisciplinarity in research programming and funding cycles” (INTREPID), this paper describes the similarities and differences between interpretations of inter- and transdisciplinarity. Drawing on literature review and empirical results from participatory workshops involving INTREPID Network members from 27 different countries, the paper shows that diverse definitions of inter-and transdisciplinarity coexist within scientific literature and are reproduced by researchers and practitioners within the network.

Link to the article

2018

 

Bührmann, A.D. and Y. Franke (2018): Transdisziplinarität: Versuch einer Kartografierung des Feldes. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 19(2), Art. 22.


Transdisziplinäre Ansätze haben derzeit Konjunktur in der deutschsprachigen Forschungslandschaft. Die Autorinnen präsentieren vier Sammelbände zum Thema und möchten so das Feld aus der Perspektive der qualitativen Forschung 'vermessen'. Die Sammelbände dokumentieren das weite Spektrum der gegenwärtigen transdisziplinären Forschung.

Link zur Buchbesprechung

Bulkeley, H., et al. (2018): Urban living laboratories: Conducting the experimental city? European Urban and Regional Studies.


The recent upsurge of interest in the experimental city as an arena within and through which urban sustainability is governed marks not only the emergence of the proliferation of forms of experimentation – from novel governance arrangements to demonstration projects, transition management processes to grassroots innovations – but also an increasing sensibility amongst the research community that urban interventions can be considered in experimental terms. Yet as research has progressed, it has become clear that experimentation is not a singular phenomenon that can be readily understood using any one conceptual entry point. In this paper, we focus on one particular mode of experimentation – the urban living laboratory (ULL) – and develop a typology through which to undertake a comparative analysis of 40 European ULLs, to understand how and why such forms of experimentation are being designed and implemented, and to identify the particular forms of experimentation they entail. We argue that there are distinct types of ULL taking shape, delimited by the ways in which they are designed and deployed through, on the one hand, specific kinds of configuration and practice and, on the other hand, by the ways in which they take laboratory form: the different dispositions towards the laboratory they entail. We propose three ‘ideal’ ULL types – strategic, civic and organic – and argue that these can be placed along the spectrum of four dispositions: trial, enclave, demonstration and platform.

Link to the article

Cabrera, D. and L. Cabrera (2018): Frameworks for Transdisciplinary Research: Framework #4. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 27(2), p. 200.

Cullati, S., M. Kliegel, and E. Widmer (2018): Development of reserves over the life course and onset of vulnerability in later life. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(8), p. 551-558.


This Review develops a theoretical framework for the development and onset of vulnerability in later life based on the concept of reserves. We stress the advantages of using the concept of reserves in interdisciplinary life-course studies, compared with related concepts such as resources and capital. We enrich the definition of vulnerability as a lack of reserves and a reduced capacity of an individual to restore reserves. Two dimensions of reserves, originating from lifespan psychology and gerontology, are of particular importance: their constitution and sustainability by behaviours and interaction with the environment (the ‘use it or lose it’ paradigm) and the presence of thresholds, below which functioning becomes highly challenging. This heuristic approach reveals the potential for a conceptualization of reserves and is exemplified in an empirical illustration. Further interdisciplinary research based on the concept is needed.

Link to the article

Defila, R. and A. Di Giulio (2018): Transdisziplinär und transformativ forschen: Eine Methodensammlung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.


Dieses Open Access Buch ist ein Beitrag zur Methodik transdisziplinärer Forschung, und zwar für transformative wie nicht-transformative Forschung, für solche innerhalb wie außerhalb von Reallaboren. Methoden der Wissenserzeugung, Wissensintegration und Transformation werden ausführlich beschrieben und illustriert, so dass Dritte sie umsetzen können.

Link zum Buch

GAIA Special Issue S1/2018 on Labs in the Real World


At the science-society interface, new forms of experimental and transdisciplinary research approaches, so-called society-based laboratories, have been established to accelerate transformations towards more sustainable societies. This GAIA special issue “Labs in the Real World”, funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts Baden-Württemberg, brings the growing international research community together. They discuss questions such as transdisciplinarity and learning dimensions, as well as the transformative potential of such labs in a large variety of empirical and theoretical investigations.

GAIA Editor Ortwin Renn puts it in a nutshell: “Real-world labs are a viable and promising concept for realizing the vision of transdisciplinary research“.

Link to the journal

Hering, J.G. (2018): Implementation Science for the Environment. Environmental Science & Technology.


The establishment of the field of implementation science was motivated by the understanding that medical and health research alone is insufficient to generate better health outcomes. With strong support from funding agencies for medical research, implementation science promotes the application of a structured framework or model in the implementation of research-based results, specifically evidence-based practices (EBPs). Furthermore, explicit consideration is given to the context of EBP implementation (i.e., socio-economic, political, cultural, and institutional factors that could affect the implementation process). Finally, implementation is monitored in a robust and rigorous way.

Link to the article

Hering, J.G. (2018): Reconnecting academic research with societal needs through assessment. OSF Home

Hilger, A., M. Rose, and M. Wanner (2018): Changing Faces – Factors Influencing the Roles of Researchers in Real-World Laboratories. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 27(2), p. 138-145.

Kirchhoff, T. (2018): 'Kulturelle Ökosystemdienstleistungen'. Eine begriffliche und methodische Kritik ['Cultural Ecosystem Services'. A Conceptual and Methodological Critique]. Freiburg/München: Verlag Karl Alber.


Natur hat für Menschen nicht nur extrinsische, instrumentelle Werte, sondern auch vielfältige intrinsische, nicht-instrumentelle Werte. Der immer einflussreicher werdende Ökosystemdienstleistungsansatz versucht, diese intrinsischen ästhetischen, symbolischen und moralischen Werte von Natur als „kulturelle Ökosystemdienstleistungen“ zu erfassen. Dieses Konzept beinhaltet jedoch – das zeigt die vorliegende Analyse – grundlegende begriffliche und ontologische Fehler, die methodische Unzulänglichkeiten bei der Erfassung dieser Werte implizieren und auch kommunikative Probleme mit sich bringen. Das Konzept der kulturellen Ökosystemdienstleistungen stellt einen scientific imperialism dar, der – entgegen der Intention, mit der dieses Konzept eingeführt worden ist – einen angemessenen gesellschaftlichen Verständigungsprozess über die Erhaltung von Naturphänomenen, die wir ästhetisch, symbolisch und moralisch wertschätzen, untergräbt.

Leseprobe über researchgate

Lagaay, A. and A. Seitz, eds (2018): Wissen Formen – Performative Akte zwischen Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kunst. Erkundungen mit dem Theater der Versammlung. transcript Verlag.


Was passiert, wenn die Sprache der Wissenschaften auf die Sprache der performativen Künste trifft? Welche Formen der öffentlichen Inszenierung, Darstellung und Versammlung laden dazu ein, sich auf die Produktivität der Fremdheit im Umgang mit Themen und Situationen, mit Anderen und mit sich selbst einzulassen?

Zum Buch

Lüneburg, B. (2018): TransCoding – From `Highbrow Art' to Participatory Culture. Social Media – Art – Research. transcript Verlag.


Between 2014 and 2017, the artistic research project "TransCoding – From 'Highbrow Art' to Participatory Culture" encouraged creative participation in multimedia art via social media. Based on the artworks that emerged from the project, Barbara Lüneburg investigates authorship, authority, motivational factors, and aesthetics in participatory art created with the help of web 2.0 technology. The interdisciplinary approach includes perspectives from sociology, cultural and media studies, and offers an exclusive view and analysis from the inside through the method of artistic research. In addition, the study documents selected community projects and the creation processes of the artworks Slices of Life and Read me.

Zum Buch

Maag, S., et al. (2018): Indicators for measuring the contributions of individual knowledge brokers. Environmental Science & Policy, 89, p. 1-9.


An increasing number of knowledge brokers work at the interface between research, policy and practice. Their function is to facilitate processes to foster mutual learning among research, policy and practice. For some knowledge brokers, practical methodologies to assess the quality of their work is an important concern. While frameworks exist for assessing research impact at the level of a project or program, few are available for assessing contributions of individual knowledge brokers. In response to this, we have compiled a set of indicators to measure the quantity and quality of the contributions of individual knowledge brokers to projects, programs or platforms at the interface between research, policy and practice.

Link to the article

Miller, C.A. and C. Wyborn (2018): Co-production in global sustainability: Histories and theories. Environmental Science & Policy.


Co-production is one of the most important ideas in the theory and practice of knowledge and governance for global sustainability, including ecology and biodiversity conservation. A core challenge confronting the application of co-production has been confusion over differences in definition and practice across several disciplinary traditions, including sustainability science, public administration, and science and technology studies. In this paper, we review the theoretical foundations of these disciplinary traditions and how each has applied co-production. We suggest, at the theoretical level, the differences across disciplines are, in fact, more apparent than real. We identify several theoretical convergences that allow us to synthesize a strong conceptual foundation for those seeking to design and implement co-production work in programs of global sustainability research and policy.

Link to the article

Misra, S. and G.R. Lotrecchiano, eds (2018): Special issue of 10 articles on transdisciplinary communication for Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 21, p. 41-253.


The focus of this special issue is to highlight different considerations about communication in transdisciplinary teams by focusing on theory, practice, emerging technologies, management and leadership practices and educational trends.

Link to the articles

Mitchell, C., D. Fam, and D. Cordell (2018): Frameworks for Transdisciplinary Research: Framework #3. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 27(1), p. 112.


Outcome Spaces: Designing for Impact in Transdisciplinary Research

Link to the article

Mountain Research and Development, 38(1)


Papers analyze gender-inclusive value chain development in Nepal, the impact of Swiss policy to maintain high-mountain pasturing, cultivation of an endangered runner bean in Italy, an intercropping experiment in Thailand, Bhutanese herders’ perceptions of climatic changes, the introduction of non-native plants by tourists in a Chinese national park, plant functional groups in grassland in the Georgian Caucasus, and large-scale mapping of arid regions in river valleys in southwestern China.

Link to the journal (open access)

Mountain Research and Development, 38(2)


Papers explore self-governed small-scale irrigation in Tajikistan; how Kenyan commercial horticulture affects water resources; the impact of extensive grazing on forest soils in Mexico; how mining restoration measures influence vegetation in Peru; human impact on vascular plants in Ethiopia; the impact of climate change on treelines in Nepal; and how climate warming affects snow availability in a ski area in New Hampshire, USA.

Link to the journal (open access)

Perry, B.G., et al. (2018): Organising for Co-production: Local Interaction Platforms for Urban Sustainability. Politics and Governance, 6(1), p. 189–198.


Urban sustainability is a wicked issue unsuited to management through traditional decision-making structures. Co-productive arrangements, spaces and processes are inscribed in new organisational forms to bridge between diverse forms of knowledge and expertise. This article suggests that local interaction platforms (LIPs) are innovative responses to these challenges, developed in two African and two European cities between 2010 and 2014. Through elaborating the design and practice of the LIPs, the article concludes that the value of this approach lies in its context-sensitivity and iterative flexibility to articulate between internationally shared challenges and distinctive local practices. Six necessary conditions for the evolution of LIPs are presented: anchorage, co-constitution, context-sensitivity, alignment, connection and shared functions. In the context of increased uncertainty, complexity and the demand for transdisciplinary knowledge production, the platform concept has wider relevance in surfacing the challenges and possibilities for more adaptive urban governance.

Link to the article

Pettibone, L., et al. (2018): Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research and Citizen Science: Options for Mutual Learning. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 27(2), p. 222-225.


Both citizen science and transdisciplinary sustainability research involve nonacademic actors in the production of knowledge while seeking to contribute to sustainability transitions, albeit in different ways. From citizen science, transdisciplinary researchers can learn about the multiple ways of engaging knowledge holders, and producing and sharing knowledge.

Link to the article

Pinter-Wollman, N., et al., eds (2018): Theme issue ‘Interdisciplinary approaches for uncovering the impacts of architecture on collective behaviour’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 373(1753).

Puerari, E., et al. (2018): Co-Creation Dynamics in Urban Living Labs. Sustainability, 10(6), p. 1893.


Citizens and urban policy makers are experimenting with collaborative ways to tackle wicked urban issues, such as today’s sustainability challenges. In this article, we consider one particular way of collaboration in an experimental setting: Urban Living Labs (ULLs). ULLs are understood as spatially embedded sites for the co-creation of knowledge and solutions by conducting local experiments. As such, ULLs are supposed to offer an arena for reflexive, adaptive, and multi-actor learning environments, where new practices of self-organization and novel (infra-) structures can be tested within their real-world context. Yet, it remains understudied how the co-creation of knowledge and practices actually takes place within ULLs, and how co-creation unfolds their impacts. Hence, this paper focuses on co-creation dynamics in urban living labs, its associated learning and knowledge generation, and how these possibly contribute to urban sustainability transitions. We analyzed empirical data from a series of in-depth interviews and were actively involved with ULLs in the Rotterdam-The Hague region in the Netherlands. Our findings show five distinct types of co-creation elements that relate to specific dynamics of participation, facilitation, and organization. We conclude with a discussion on the ambivalent role of contextualized knowledge and the implications for sustainability transitions.

Link to the article

Rohrbach, B., P. Laube, and R. Weibel (2018): Comparing multi-criteria evaluation and participatory mapping to projecting land use. Landscape and Urban Planning, 176, p. 38-50.


Projections pertaining to future land use and land use change may have diverse backgrounds. Often, both local and scientific knowledge encompass important pieces of information for such a projection. Acknowledging the diversity across the two types of knowledge, we investigated their differences and similarities in a twofold case study, conducting a participatory mapping (PM) exercise with local wine growers, as well as a Multi Criteria Evaluation (MCE) with non-local experts from science, government and industry. Hence, we not only utilised two different knowledge elicitation methods, but also two types of ‘knowledges’.

Link to the article

Rüegg, S., et al. (2018): A Systems Approach to Evaluate One Health Initiatives. Front. Vet. Sci., 5(23).

Sahakian, M. and G. Seyfang (2018): A sustainable consumption teaching review: From building competencies to transformative learning. Journal of Cleaner Production, 198, p. 231-241.


Sustainable consumption (SC) is a growing area of research, practice and policy-making that has been gaining momentum in teaching programs among higher education institutions. Understanding how, in what way, and what we consume, in relation to environmental integrity and intra/inter-generational equity, is a complex question, all the more so when tied up with questions of social change, justice and citizenship. To understand and address (un)sustainable consumption, different disciplines and related methodologies are often brought together, ranging from sociology, economics and psychology, to political science, history and environmental engineering. Combining and indeed transcending disciplinary approaches is necessary, and what better place to explore these approaches than in the classroom?

Link to the article

Scherhaufer, P., et al. (2018): A participatory integrated assessment of the social acceptance of wind energy. Energy Research & Social Science.


This research paper deals with problems of operationalisation or how to conduct research in the field of energy and climate change from a methodological point of view. Guided by a participatory integrated assessment the research project TransWind identified key issues relevant to the social acceptance of wind energy development in Austria. Based on a mixed-method design including modelling and visualisation efforts, workshops, interviews, focus groups and questionnaires researchers and stakeholders expressed their ideas and perceptions with regard to the three dimensions of social acceptance: community, market, and socio-political acceptance.

Link to the article

Schneider, F. and T. Buser (2018): Promising degrees of stakeholder interaction in research for sustainable development. Sustainability Science, 13(1), p. 129-142.


Stakeholder interactions are increasingly viewed as an important element of research for sustainable development. But to what extent, how, and for which goals should stakeholders be involved? In this article, we explore what degrees of stakeholder interaction show the most promise in research for sustainable development. For this purpose, we examine 16 research projects from the transdisciplinary research programme NRP 61 on sustainable water management in Switzerland. The results suggest that various degrees of stakeholder interaction can be beneficial depending on each project’s intended contribution to sustainability, the form of knowledge desired, how contested the issues are, the level of actor diversity, actors’ interests, and existing collaborations between actors. We argue that systematic reflection about these six criteria can enable tailoring stakeholder interaction processes according specific project goals and context conditions.

Link to the article

Scholz, R.W. (2018): Ways and modes of utilizing Brunswik’s Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism: new perspectives for decision and sustainability research? Environment Systems and Decisions, 38(1), p. 99-117.


Several of the comments on the Managing Complexity paper deal with theoretical issues regarding Brunswik’s Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism (TPF) (Mumpower; Hoffrage) or its application to sustainability planning groups (Mieg; Susskind). Other commenters extend the space of application of the TPF to better frame innovation or open data management (Steiner; Yarime) or focus frameworks of how to conceptualize modeling or transdisciplinary processes in sustainable transitioning (Wilson; Dedeurwaerdere). This response paper first clarifies several general issues, such as how to approach the evaluation of single TPF principles such as representativeness, in what way TPF may improve sustainability planning groups’ performance, how sustainability may be conceived as a terminal focal variable, and in what way groups are organisms.

Link to the article

Schuck-Zöller, S., C. Brinkmann, and S. Rödder (2018): Integrating Research and Practice in Emerging Climate Services — Lessons from Other Transdisciplinary Dialogues. In: S. Serrao-Neumann, A. Coudrain, and L. Coulter, eds: Communicating Climate Change Information for Decision-Making. Dordrecht: Springer, p. 105-118.

Sellberg, M. (2018): Creating meaningful transdisciplinary collaborations during the limited time of a PhD. Blog post on Social-Ecological Systems Scholars, 11 April 2018.

Stiftung für Technologiefolgen-Abschätzung (2018): Jahresbericht 2017. DT-51/2018. Bern.

Tobias, S., M.F. Ströbele, and T. Buser (2018): How transdisciplinary projects influence participants’ ways of thinking: a case study on future landscape development. Sustainability Science.


Transdisciplinary (TD) approaches have increasingly been promoted in the field of land-use research. However, the theoretical discourse about transdisciplinarity is far more advanced than its implementation in practice. In particular, empirical studies about the effects of concrete TD projects on the participants are rare. We evaluated joint knowledge generation among researchers and non-academics in a TD research programme on urban and landscape development.

Link to the article

van Breda, J. and M. Swilling (2018): The guiding logics and principles for designing emergent transdisciplinary research processes: learning experiences and reflections from a transdisciplinary urban case study in Enkanini informal settlement, South Africa. Sustainability Science.


Transdisciplinarity is not a new science per se, but a new methodology for doing science with society. A particular challenge in doing science with society is the engagement with non-academic actors to enable joint problem formulation, analysis and transformation. How this is achieved differs between contexts. The premise of this paper is that transdisciplinary research (TDR) methodologies designed for developed world contexts cannot merely be replicated and transferred to developing world contexts. Thus a new approach is needed for conducting TDR in contexts characterised by high levels of complexity, conflict and social fluidity. To that end, this paper introduces a new approach to TDR titled emergent transdisciplinary design research (ETDR).

Link to the paper

Vienni Baptista, B., F. Vasen, and J.C. Villa Soto (2018): Interdisciplinary Centers in Latin American Universities: The Challenges of Institutionalization. Higher Education Policy.


Universities represent a particularly interesting environment for interdisciplinary development; as institutions, they are simultaneously guardians of tradition and spaces for experimentation. This article focuses on initiatives for the creation of institutional spaces for interdisciplinary research in three Latin American universities: Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, Universidad de la República in Uruguay and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The article analyzes the processes of institutionalization of interdisciplinary centers. It compares (a) the context of creation, (b) the conception of interdisciplinarity, (c) the integration into preexisting structures and (d) internal organization and planning of the centers.

Link to the article

von Wirth, T., et al. (2018): Impacts of urban living labs on sustainability transitions: mechanisms and strategies for systemic change through experimentation. European Planning Studies, p. 1-29.


Urban Living Labs (ULL) are considered spaces to facilitate experimentation about sustainability solutions. ULL represent sites that allow different urban actors to design, test and learn from socio-technical innovations. However, despite their recent proliferation in the European policy sphere, the underlying processes through which ULL might be able to generate and diffuse new socio-technical configurations beyond their immediate boundaries have been largely disregarded and it remains to be examined how they contribute to urban sustainability transitions. With this study, we contribute to a better understanding of the diffusion mechanisms and strategies through which ULL (seek to) create a wider impact using the conceptual lens of transition studies. The mechanisms of diffusion are investigated in four distinct ULL in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Malmö, Sweden. The empirical results indicate six specific strategies that aim to support the diffusion of innovations and know-how developed within ULL to a broader context: transformative place-making, activating network partners, replication of lab structure, education and training, stimulating entrepreneurial growth and narratives of impact.

Link to the article

Wang, J., T. Aenis, and S. Hofmann-Souki (2018): Triangulation in participation: Dynamic approaches for science-practice interaction in land-use decision making in rural China. Land Use Policy, 72, p. 364-371.


Land use decision making requires knowledge integration from a wide range of stakeholders across science and practice. Many participatory methods and instruments aiming at such science-practice interaction have been developed during the last decades. However, there are methodological challenges, and little evidence neither about the methodological applicability and practicability under diverse socio-political conditions nor about their dynamics. The objective of this paper is to offer some insights on the design and implementation of reasonable science-practice interaction.

Link to the article

Zscheischler, J., S. Rogga, and A. Lange (2018): The success of transdisciplinary research for sustainable land use: individual perceptions and assessments. Sustainability Science, p. 1-14.


With the increasing introduction of transdisciplinary research (TDR) in sustainability and land use sciences, the issue of evaluation has come to the fore. Today, a large part of the literature is dedicated to the search for adequate evaluation approaches. Empirical studies often consider expert perspectives; however, knowledge of the experiences, attitudes, and motivations of a broader science-practice community applying collaborative research approaches remains rare.
The present study aims to gather insights into the perceptions and assessments of success of TDR projects from scientists and practitioners. Based on a mixed-method approach combining qualitative expert interviews with a quantitative survey reaching 178 respondents from practice and science, the results show a high commitment to the targets of TDR projects and a basic shared ‘success profile’. Nevertheless, there is currently a strong ‘practice tendency’, while TDR-specific benefits of the scientific knowledge gain remain neglected. The general success assessment of TDR projects can be described as rather moderate, indicating several deficits in the application and management of TDR.

Link to the article

2017

 

Adler, C., et al. (2017): Conceptualizing the transfer of knowledge across cases in transdisciplinary research. Sustainability Science.


Transdisciplinary (TD) research is increasingly suggested as a means of tackling wicked problems by providing knowledge on solutions that serve as pathways towards sustainable development. In contrast to research striving for generalizable findings, TD research produces insights for a particular case and context. TD researchers, who build on other TD projects’ results, need to know under what conditions knowledge gained from their case can be transferred to and applied in another case and context. Knowledge transfer between researchers and stakeholders is extensively discussed in the literature. However, a more profound understanding and management of the challenges related to knowledge transfer across cases, as it applies to TD research, are missing.

Link to the publication

Akira Schickhaus, T. (2017): Interkulturelle Literaturwissenschaft und Wissenssoziologie. Studien zu deutsch- und japanischsprachigen Texten von Yoko Tawada. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.


Die wissenssoziologische Perspektive sieht erkennende Menschen als Teil eines sozialen Zusammenhanges. Wissen bildet hier eine Funktion des Sozialen und kulturelle Denkstile wirken konstitutiv in dieses Wissen mit ein.
Ausgehend von Karl Mannheims Lehre der »Weltanschauungs-Interpretation« praktiziert Tobias Akira Schickhaus die interdisziplinäre Anbindung der interkulturellen Literaturwissenschaft an die Wissenssoziologie: Wie wird historisch repräsentatives Wissen über Interkulturalität in Literatur organisiert, vermittelt und kommentiert? Über wissenssoziologische Ansätze untersucht Tobias Akira Schickhaus deutsch- und japanischsprachige Texte der Schriftstellerin Yoko Tawada.

Link zum Buch

Albrecht, C. and A. Bogner (eds) (2017): Tischgespräche: Einladung zu einer interkulturellen Wissenschaft. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.


Was sind Bedingungen, Voraussetzungen und Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten einer interkulturellen Wissenschaft? Der Band versammelt Beiträge, die Zugänge, Themen und Gegenstände, Sprechweisen und Gesprächsräume einer interkulturellen Wissenschaft vorstellen. Mittels der Beschäftigung mit Sprache und Literatur werden Einblicke in Wahrnehmungsverhältnisse, Verstehensmöglichkeiten, Darstellungs- und Erkenntnisformen einer auf Interkulturalität ausgerichteten Wissenschaft eröffnet. Im Fokus stehen dabei immer wieder auch Ausgangspunkte der wissenschaftsgeschichtlichen Entstehungskontexte einer interkulturellen Germanistik und sich verändernde Problemlagen.

Link zum Buch

Alhadeff-Jones, M. (2017): Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education. Rethinking the temporal complexity of self and society. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.


Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education argues that by rethinking the way we relate to time, we can fundamentally rethink the way we conceive education. Beyond the contemporary rhetoric of acceleration, speed, urgency or slowness, this book provides an epistemological, historical and theoretical framework that will serve as a comprehensive resource for critical reflection on the relationship between the experience of time and emancipatory education.

Drawing upon time and rhythm studies, complexity theories and educational research, Michel Alhadeff-Jones reflects in this book upon the temporal and rhythmic dimensions of education in order to (re)theorize and address current societal and educational challenges. The book is divided into three parts. The first begins by discussing the specificities inherent to the study of time in educational sciences. The second contextualizes the evolution of temporal constraints that determine the ways education is institutionalized, organized, and experienced. The third and final part questions the meanings of emancipatory education in a context of temporal alienation.

This is the first book to provide a broad overview of European and North-American theories that inform both the ideas of time and rhythm in educational sciences, from school instruction, curriculum design and arts education, to vocational training, lifelong learning and educational policies. It will be of key interest to academics, researchers, postgraduate students and practitioners, in the fields of philosophy of education, sociology of education, history of education, psychology, curriculum and learning theory, and adult education.

For more information, and to read the introduction chapter (freely accessible), please visit: www.routledge.com/9781138845848

For more information about Michel Alhadeff-Jones's work and upcoming projects, please visit: www.alhadeffjones.com or www.sunkhronos.com

Bammer, G. (2017): Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity – Toolkit #7: (Dynamic) Systems Thinking. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p. 7.

Bammer, G. (2017): Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity – Toolkit #8: Integration Methods. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(2), p. 79.


Eighth and final issue in the series “Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity” on integration methods.

Link to the article

Bergmann, M., et al. (2017): PoNa als inter- und transdisziplinäres Experiment in der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung. In: D. Gottschlich and T. Mölders (eds): Politiken der Naturgestaltung. Ländliche Entwicklung und Agro-Gentechnik zwischen Kritik und Vision. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, p. 243-263.


Über das Buch:
Ausgehend von der Frage, wie die vielfältigen Beziehungen zwischen Natur und Gesellschaft durch Politik gestaltet werden, behandelt dieser Band Themen wie Agrobiodiversität, Geschlechterverhältnisse, widerständige Praktiken und Alternativen in den Politikfeldern Ländliche Entwicklung und Agro-Gentechnik. Die inhaltliche Klammer bildet ein kritisch-emanzipatorisches Nachhaltigkeitsverständnis, mit dem die Gestaltung gesellschaftlicher Naturverhältnisse analysiert wird. In der Verbindung von theoretischen Reflexionen zu Gesellschaft-Natur-Verhältnissen und empirischen Untersuchungen in Deutschland und Polen leisten die Autorinnen und Autoren einen Beitrag zur kritischen Nachhaltigkeitsforschung. Der Band präsentiert die Ergebnisse der Sozial-ökologischen Forschungsnachwuchsgruppe „PoNa – Politiken der Naturgestaltung. Ländliche Entwicklung und Agro-Gentechnik zwischen Kritik und Vision“.

Link zum Buch

Bergmann, M. and T. Jahn (2017): Frameworks for Transdisciplinary Research: Framework #2. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(4), p. 304.

Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin (Hrsg.) (2017): Research Day 2016: Stadt der Zukunft. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag.


Erstmals in der Geschichte lebt heute mehr als die Hälfte der Weltbevölkerung in Städten. Der Megatrend Urbanisierung stellt die Gesellschaft vor zahlreiche Herausforderungen, birgt aber auch gewaltige Potenziale, denn Städte müssen innovative Lösungen finden, um auch in Zukunft eine lebenswerte Umwelt für die wachsende Stadtbevölkerung gewährleisten zu können.
Die zunehmende Digitalisierung aller Lebensbereiche erweist sich dabei als wichtiger Impulsgeber, um diesen Herausforderungen zu begegnen. Obwohl Digitalisierungsprozesse aufgrund datenschutzrechtlicher Bedenken oder drohenden Arbeitsplatzabbaus häufig in der Kritik stehen, bietet der digitale Wandel auch zahlreiche Chancen...

Weiterlesen

Bieling, C. (2017): Rezension zu "Defila R, Di Giulio A (Hg.) 2016. Transdisziplinär forschen – zwischen Ideal und gelebter Praxis. Hotspots, Geschichten, Wirkungen". GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p. 52-53.


Prof. Dr. Claudia Bieling (Universität Hohenheim) weist in ihrer Besprechung der Synthesepublikation aus dem SÖF-Themenschwerpunkt "Vom Wissen zum Handeln – Neue Wege zum nachhaltigen Konsum" darauf hin, dass sich das Buch "als Ergänzung zu vorliegenden Handbüchern [versteht] – dieser Literatur entlehnte Empfehlungen und Rezepte werden in ihrer praktischen Umsetzung untersucht, um „Varianten des Gelingens“ transdisziplinärer Forschung herauszuarbeiten. Dabei wird eine sehr pragmatische, im Hinblick auf die diversen theoretischen Einbettungen offene Grundhaltung eingenommen." Bezogen auf die im Buch präsentierten Hotspots transdisziplinärer Zusammenarbeit geht sie davon aus, dass diese "einem großen Publikum äußerst hilfreiche Einsichten bieten", den für die Fallstudien gewählten Ansatz des Storytelling findet sie "gleichermaßen innovativ und überzeugend", und an der Untersuchung zur außerwissenschaftlichen Wirkung transdisziplinärer Forschung findet sie insbesondere den "Versuch einer Einordnung möglicher Formen des Wirkungsnachweises sowie der Erwartungen, die an transdisziplinäre Forschung herangetragen werden" interessant. Sie schließt mit der Einschätzung, dieser "Band kommt dem Anspruch, eine übergeordnete Synthese der transdisziplinären Forschungspraxis zu bieten, diese zu strukturieren und im Hinblick auf ein breites Spektrum transdisziplinaritätsrelevanter Fragen und Problemstellungen nutzbar zu machen, sehr nah – ohne es an gebotener Differenziertheit und Offenheit vermissen zu lassen". Zur Besprechung
(Quelle: Forschungsgruppe Inter-/Transdisziplinarität, Universität Basel)

Link zur Rezension

Bieling, C. (2017): Rezension zu "Dressel G, Berger W, Heimerl K, Winiwarter V (Hg.) 2014. Interdisziplinär und transdisziplinär forschen. Praktiken und Methoden". GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p. 52-53.


Prof. Dr. Claudia Bieling (Universität Hohenheim) würdigt den Band, "der eine große Runde von Autor(inn)en versammelt, die an der Fakultät für Interdisziplinäre Forschung und Fortbildung der Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Wien und Graz arbeiten oder gearbeitet haben. Ziel ist es, die Erfahrungen zu reflektieren, die an Österreichs einziger sich explizit der Inter- und Transdisziplinarität
widmenden universitären Einrichtung gemacht wurden, wobei methodische Aspekte im Mittelpunkt stehen." Der erste Teil des Buchs widmet sich den typischen Etappen eines transdisziplinären Projektverlaufs: "Die einzelnen Kapitel bieten vielfältige und spannende Reflexionen zu diesen Etappen, etwa zur Rolle von Emotionen und dem Umgang mit ihnen." Im zweiten Teil werden Forschungsprojekte in ihrer Gesamtheit vorgestellt: "Hier wird eine Verschiedenheit transdisziplinärer Forschungspraxis deutlich, die auch klarmacht, dass dieser Ansatz sich einfachen Blaupausen und Patentrezepten verschließt und in jedem konkreten Fall immer wieder neu definiert und ausbalanciert werden muss. In Anbetracht dessen ist es umso mehr zu schätzen, dass das Buch mit einem Kapitel endet, das die Erfahrungen und Einsichten zur transdisziplinären Forschungspraxis sehr schlüssig zusammenführt und auf den Punkt bringt." Die Besprechung endet mit der Würdigung, dass der Sammelband "wertvolle Einblicke, die weit über spezielle Fallbetrachtungen hinausgehen", bietet.

Zur Rezension

Blättel-Mink, B. (2017): Rezension zu "R. Defila und A. Di Giulio (eds) (2016): Transdisziplinär forschen – zwischen Ideal und gelebter Praxis. Hotspots, Geschichten, Wirkungen". Köln Z Soziol, 69(3), p. 537-540.


Prof. Dr. Birgit Blättel-Mink (Universität Frankfurt) zieht in ihrer Besprechung zur Synthesepublikation aus dem vom deutschen BMBF geförderten SÖF-Themenschwerpunkt "Vom Wissen zum Handeln – Neue Wege zum nachhaltigen Konsum" folgende Bilanz: "Die vorliegende Publikation enthält keine methodologischen Debatten zu transdisziplinärer Forschung, stattdessen ermöglicht sie dem Leser/der Leserin einen umfassenden Einblick in die Praxis des transdisziplinären Arbeitens und vermittelt damit eine „dichte Beschreibung“ einer gelebten Wissenschaftspraxis, die sich durch einen starken Problembezug und die Einbeziehung nicht-akademischer Akteure in den Forschungsprozess auszeichnet. Die Rolle der wissenschaftlichen Begleitforschung in einem vom BMBF-geförderten Themenschwerpunkt machte es den Herausgebern möglich, die transdisziplinäre Praxis aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven zu betrachten und nicht zuletzt nach der gesellschaftlichen Wirkung einer solchen Praxis zu fragen. Ihre wertvollen Erkenntnisse teilen sie hier mit uns."

Link zur Buchbesprechung

Bradbury, H., et al. (2017): Cooking with Action Research: Stories and Resources for Self and Community Transformation. AR+ Action Research.


The Cookbook — along with the companion Resource Guide — shares from inside the world and work of Action Researchers. It shows how this democratizing, people centered, orientation to inquiry & practice is helping to create a more just and sustainable world.

Link to the book

Briefe zur Interdisziplinarität 20 - 2018: Science and Art


Die Zeitschrift Briefe zur Interdisziplinarität lädt ein zum Dialog über die Entwicklung und Umsetzung neuer interdisziplinär geprägter Methoden. Sie unterstützt die gegenseitige Anregung und den Austausch auf den Gebieten der Geistes-, Natur-, Ingenieur- und Sozialwissenschaften, der Kunst und des Handwerks sowie traditionell überlieferten Wissens.

Link zur Zeitschrift

Broniatowski, D. A. and C. L. Magee (2017): The Emergence and Collapse of Knowledge Boundaries. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 99, p. 1-14.


The dynamics of knowledge transfer is an important topic for engineering managers. In this paper, we study knowledge boundaries—barriers to knowledge transfer—in groups of experts, using topic modeling, a natural language processing technique, applied to transcript data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Circulatory Systems Advisory Panel. As predicted by prior theory, we find that knowledge boundaries emerge as the group faces increasingly challenging problems. Beyond this theory, we find that knowledge boundaries cease to structure communications between communities of practice when the group's expert ability is insufficient to solve its task, such as in the presence of high novelty. We conjecture that the amount of expert knowledge that the group can collectively bring to bear is a determining factor in boundary formation. This implies that some of the factors underlying knowledge boundary formation may aid—rather than hinder—knowledge aggregation. We briefly explore this conjecture using qualitative exploration of several relevant meetings. Finally, we discuss the implications of these results for organizations attempting to leverage their expertise given the state of their collective knowledge.

Link to the article

Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS): Academic Recognition of Team Science: How to Optimize the Canadian Academic System.


The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) convened an expert panel to examine how institutions in Canada’s research system evaluate and recognize the contributions of individuals for work done within research teams, and to identify promising practices to improve such evaluation and recognition.

Link to the report

Cörvers, R., et al. (eds) (2017): Sustainable Development Research at ICIS – Taking stock and looking ahead. Maastricht University.


CIS, the International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development at Maastricht University released a new book which gives an overview of the diversity and richness of ongoing and recent sustainable development research at the institute in 35 short chapters, and it introduces the research agenda for the coming years. The book is intended for a broad audience of fellow researchers, collaborators from outside academia, students, and in fact everyone who is interested in learning more about the topics and types of research conducted at ICIS.

free download e-book and chapters

Darbellay, F., Z. Moody, and T. Lubart, eds (2017): Creativity, Design Thinking and Interdisciplinarity. Springer Singapore.


This book, at the crossroads of creativity, design and interdisciplinary studies, offers an overview of these major trends in scientific research, society, culture and economics. It brings together different approaches and communities around a common reflection on interdisciplinary creative design thinking. This collective effort provides a unique dialogical and convergent space that deals with the challenges and opportunities met by researchers and practitioners working on design thinking, creativity and inter- and transdisciplinarity, or at the interface between these areas.

Link to the book

de Greef, L., et al. (2017): Designing Interdisciplinary Education. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.


The handbook Designing Interdisciplinary Education serves as a foothold for interdisciplinary initiatives in higher education, whether it be programmes, minors, courses or extra-curricular activities. It offers accessible guidance and practical advice for university teachers and curriculum leaders who aim to develop, implement and sustain a successful interdisciplinary approach to their teaching at the classroom, course or programme level.

Link to the book

Di Giulio, A. and R. Defila (2017): Enabling university educators to equip students with inter- and transdisciplinary competencies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 18(5), p. 630-647.


Inter- and transdisciplinarity are core concepts in almost all education for sustainable development (ESD) competence frameworks and curricula. To equip students with inter- and transdisciplinary competencies is highly demanding for educators. Educators must not only know how to teach students such competencies, but need to be experienced in inter- and transdisciplinary research and must have some technical knowledge about inter- and transdisciplinarity. This paper aims to show how university educators can be supported in their teaching. The paper is a case study based on research and on experiences in interdisciplinary teaching and in supporting educators in their interdisciplinary teaching. It presents a competence framework of interdisciplinary competencies to guide university teachers that has been developed, implemented and refined in interdisciplinary study programmes belonging to the field of ESD. The paper shows how the professional development of educators could be addressed referring to the experiences in these programmes. The measures presented consist for one thing of interdisciplinary processes among the educators and of measures directly supporting educators in their teaching for another thing. The case study the paper refers to is of special value, first, because the experiences are based on long-standing research and on two decades of experiences. Second, because considerable efforts were made to deliver coherent and consistent interdisciplinary teaching in which interdisciplinarity was not only a teaching subject for the students but showed by the educators as well so that the educators involved did not only talk about competencies for inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations but also set an example in their own doings.

Link to the article

Emmenegger, R., et al. (2017): Ontology and integrative research on Global Environmental Change: towards a critical GEC science. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 29, p. 131-137.


This paper addresses ‘integration’ at the level of ontology to reflect on the conception and conduct of integrative research in Global Environmental Change (GEC) science. First, it outlines how the Earth system has become the dominant conceptual framework within which to approach GEC, marginalizing other ways of understanding the world. The paper argues that in order to grasp GEC and develop more effective responses to it, it is necessary to move beyond the singular ontology offered by the Earth system and engage with plural ontologies. Second, the paper highlights that scientific knowledge is inherently situated within networks of social and institutional power and oriented towards various social ends, and that as a consequences GEC science needs to reflect more deeply on the politics of its own knowledge production and its relationship to the policy sphere. In conclusion the paper calls for a more critical GEC science that builds these reflections into its scientific practices, and provides some leading questions that integrative research initiatives can use to guide self-reflexive research practices.

Link to the article

Fiore, S. (2017): Creating Community Around the Science of Team Science. I2Insights blog, 31 August.


The Science of Team Science (SciTS) is a rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of study that works to build an evidence-base and to develop translational applications to help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of team-based research. The 8th annual conference was held June of 2017 and attended by approximately 200 people. A focus was on the current state of knowledge in the SciTS field along with applications for enhancing team science. As with prior years, there were a diverse group of stakeholders, with thought leaders in the SciTS field, scientists engaged in team-based research, institutional leaders who promote collaborative research, policymakers, and federal agency representatives in attendance. This year we continued our efforts in building the foundational knowledge supporting effective team science. An important element of this involves understanding transdisciplinary research and supporting collaborators solving problems of societal significance. One of our keynote speakers, Dr. Jakob Zinsstag, president of the scientific advisory board of the Network for Transdisciplinarity Research (td-net), talked of the co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic partners for societal problem solving. This year’s conference was hosted by the University of Central Florida, a major metropolitan research university promoting a number of interdisciplinary collaborative research projects. Their Faculty Cluster Hiring initiative enhances scholarly collaborations crossing disciplines to solve complex scientific and societal problems. SciTS seeks to connect with other organizations that have similar missions.

Link to the essay

Frodeman, R., J. T. Klein and R. C. D. S. Pacheco (eds) (2017): The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Interdisciplinarity has become as important outside academia as within. Academics, policy makers, and the general public seek insights to help organize the vast amounts of knowledge being produced, both within research and at all levels of education. The second edition of The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity offers a thorough update of this major reference work, summarizing the latest advances within the field of inter- and transdisciplinarity. The collection is distinguished by its breadth of coverage, with chapters written by leading experts from multiple networks and organizations. The volume is edited by respected interdisciplinary scholars and supported by a prestigious advisory board to ensure the highest quality and breadth of coverage.

The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity provides a synoptic overview of the current state of interdisciplinary research, education, administration and management, and of problem solving-knowledge that spans the disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. The volume negotiates the space between the academic community and society at large. Offering the most broad-based account of inter- and transdisciplinarity to date, its 47 chapters provide a snapshot of the state of knowledge integration as interdisciplinarity approaches its century mark. This second edition expands its coverage to discuss the emergence of new fields, the increase of interdisciplinary approaches within traditional disciplines and professions, new integrative approaches to education and training, the widening international presence of interdisciplinarity, its increased support in funding agencies and science-policy bodies, and the formation of several new international associations associated with interdisciplinarity.

This reference book will be a valuable addition to academic libraries worldwide, important reading for members of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities engaged in interdisciplinary research and education, and helpful for administrators and policy makers seeking to improve the use of knowledge in society.

Link to the book

GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 1/2017.


GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

Link to the journal

GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 3/2017.


New Issue!

GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

Link to the journal

GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 4/2017


GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

Link to the journal

Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity (flyer). GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society.


The Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity series – published between mid-2015 and mid-2017 in the scientific journal GAIA – highlights existing compilations of methods useful for transdisciplinary research.

A flyer with the eight toolkits is now avalaible here.

Henke, J., P. Pasternack and S. Schmid (2017): Mission, Die dritte. Die Vielfalt jenseits hochschulischer Forschung und Lehre: Konzept und Kommunikation der Third Mission. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag.


Hochschulen leisten heute durch Weiterbildung, Wissenstransfer oder Gründungsförderung weit mehr, als grundständige Studienangebote oder zweckfreie Grundlagenforschung zu betreiben. Diese zusätzlichen Aufgaben, häufig Third Mission genannt, beschreiben gesellschaftsbezogene Aktivitäten einer Hochschule, die im Kontext von Lehre und Forschung stattfinden, ohne selbst oder ohne allein Lehre bzw. Forschung zu sein. Allerdings sind Hochschulen zu diesem Teil ihres Leistungsspektrums nicht umfassend aussagefähig, da er oftmals an individuelles Engagement gebunden und/oder auf Institutsebene verankert ist.

Weiterlesen

Hering, J. G. and H. von Waldow (2017): Concept note: call for management of knowledge relating to freshwater and sustainable water management as a public good (version 2). Eawag.

Hoffmann, S., C. Pohl and J. G. Hering (2017): Methods and procedures of transdisciplinary knowledge integration: empirical insights from four thematic synthesis processes. Ecology and Society, 22(1): 27.


What methods and procedures support transdisciplinary knowledge integration? We address this question by exploring knowledge integration within four thematic synthesis processes of the Swiss National Research Programme 61 Sustainable Water Management (NRP 61). Drawing on literature from inter- and transdisciplinary research, we developed an analytical framework to map different methods and procedures of knowledge integration. We use this framework to characterize the variety of methods and procedures that were combined in the four processes to produce thematic synthesis reports. We suggest that the variety of combinations observed reflects the different objectives and questions that guided the processes of knowledge integration as well as the different roles that leaders assumed in these processes. Although the framework was developed in the course of NRP 61, we consider it as a basis for designing ex ante new synthesis processes by defining and sequencing different synthesis stages and by identifying, for each stage, the contributions of specific scientific and societal actors, the purpose of their contributions, and the methods and procedures supporting their contributions. Used in a formative evaluation process, the framework supports reflection on and adaptation of synthesis processes and also facilitates the generation of new knowledge for designing future processes.

Link to the article:
http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol22/iss1/art27/

Hoffmann, S., C. Pohl and J. G. Hering (2017): Exploring transdisciplinary integration within a large research program: Empirical lessons from four thematic synthesis processes. Research Policy.


What challenges do researchers face when leading transdisciplinary integration? We address this question by analyzing transdisciplinary integration within four thematic synthesis processes of the Swiss National Research Programme (NRP 61) on Sustainable Water Management. We adapt an existing analytical framework to compare transdisciplinary integration across the four synthesis processes regarding different types of generated knowledge (systems, target and transformation knowledge), different types of involved actors (core team, steering committee, advisory board, scientific experts and practice experts) and different levels of actor involvement (information, consultation and collaboration) at different stages of the processes. Based on a structured ex-post self-evaluation of the four synthesis processes, we present core challenges of transdisciplinary integration as perceived by core team members of the four synthesis processes and formulate empirically derived recommendations for designing and implementing future processes. We suggest that future synthesis processes should be conceptualized and initiated concurrently with all other individual research projects, involving a phasing-in stage where leaders conceptualize transdisciplinary integration, an intermediate stage of intense knowledge integration involving all relevant actor groups in a functional and dynamic way, and a final phasing out stage, where synthesis results are consolidated within the research program, validated by different actor groups and diffused to the target audiences. We argue that transdisciplinary integration requires professional competences, management skills and enough time. Finally, we suggest fostering communities of practice (CoP) to link committed leaders and enable mutual learning processes beyond the boundaries of individual synthesis projects or research programs.

Link to the article

Ingrisch, D., M. Mangelsdorf, and G. Dressel, eds (2017): Wissenskulturen im Dialog. Experimentalräume zwischen Wissenschaft und Kunst. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.


Wenn Wissenskulturen aufeinandertreffen, kann das verunsichern: All das, was in der eigenen wissenschaftlichen oder künstlerischen Disziplin als gesichertes Wissen gilt, verliert in inter-, trans- und postdiszplinären Konzepten sowie konkreten Begegnungen an Selbstverständlichkeit. Zugleich können sich dabei Experimentalräume eröffnen, in denen Inhalte anders gedacht und durch alternative Formen und Methoden generiert werden.
Die Beiträger_innen des Bandes gehen in theoretischen Aufsätzen und anhand konkreter und experimenteller Beispiele den Resonanzen wie Dissonanzen, möglichen Berührungszonen, gemeinsamen Potenzialen und neuen Erkenntnisinteressen nach, die sich aus dialogischen Begegnungen – das heißt: im Dazwischen verschiedener Wissenschaften und Künste – ergeben können.

Link zum Buch

Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies, volume 2017 (vol. 35)


With a Special Section (of ca. 100 pages) on 'Multi-Level Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Cognition and Team Collaboration - Challenges and Opportunities’.

Link to the articles

Klein, J. T. and H. J. Falk-Krzesinski (2017): Interdisciplinary and collaborative work: Framing promotion and tenure practices and policies. Research Policy, 46(6), p 1055-1061.


Interdisciplinarity and collaboration are keywords for change in the 21st century. Both, however, face challenges across the entire academic system, from administrative policies and budget formulas to disciplinary cultures of research and education. This Research Note is the first synthesis of findings from literature and models for practices and policies that recognize interdisciplinary and collaborative work in the promotion and tenure (P&T) process, brought together in a table of recommendations. Creating a culture of reward requires consistency, alignment, and comprehensiveness at all stages and levels of evaluation, from defining expectations in the initial appointment to preparing individual candidates’ dossiers to incorporating appropriate criteria. Several organizations have led the way in formulating recommendations for recognizing interdisciplinary and collaborative work. Professional societies and academic administrators at local levels are also providing leadership. Institution-wide policies are rare though do exist. More often individual units are issuing guidelines for appropriate evaluation. A number of studies have also called for widening definition of what counts for consideration, including innovative, applied, and commercial research and development. The overriding lesson to emerge is the importance of a systematic and informed approach.

Link to the article

KFPE: Annual Report 2016


This was a productive year for KFPE; here are some highlights from 2016:
More information

KFPE Jahresbericht 2016 (pdf)

Kirchhoff, T., et al. (eds) (2017): Naturphilosophie. Ein Lehr- und Studienbuch. Tübingen: UTB/Mohr Siebeck.


Was ist Natur oder was könnte sie sein? Diese und weitere Fragen sind grundlegend für Naturdenken und -handeln. Das Lehr- und Studienbuch bietet eine historisch-systematische und zugleich praxisbezogene Einführung in die Naturphilosophie mit ihren wichtigsten Begriffen. Es nimmt den pluralen Charakter der Wahrnehmung von Natur in den philosophischen Blick und ist auch zum Selbststudium bestens geeignet.

Link zum Buch

Krohn, W., A. Grunwald, and M. Ukowitz (2017): Transdisziplinäre Forschung revisited: Erkenntnisinteresse, Forschungsgegenstände, Wissensform und Methodologie. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(4), p. 341-347.

Lange, H. and V. Fuest (2014/2015/2016): OPTIONEN zur Stärkung inter- und transdisziplinärer Verbundforschung. Eine empirische Studie. artec-paper, N201/209/210.


Es handelt sich um eine ausgiebige Evaluation von vier großen Verbundprojekten aus der Förderung des deutschen BMBF, davon zwei Projekten mit rein deutschem Bezug und zwei internationalen Kooperationsprojekten.
Alle vier Verbünde waren explizit als inter- und transdisziplinäre Forschungskooperationen angelegt.

Die Evaluation galt drei Dimensionen:
- der Zielerreichung in inter- und transdisziplinärer Hinsicht
- strukturellen Gründen, die der Zielerreichung im Wege standen, darunter insbesondere (i) konzeptionellen Aspekten der Projektgestaltung, (ii) vorgefundenen Handlungsmustern der Akteure und (iii) den institutionell gegebenen Handlungsrahmen der Akteure sowie (iv) Formen der Arbeitsteilung zwischen den Akteurgruppen.
- Optionen für Veränderungen dieser Gegebenheiten

Das Resultat der Evaluation besteht aus drei Teilen
- einem Gesamtbericht in deutscher Sprache (243 S., pdf)
- zwei detaillierten Kurzfassungen, davon eine in englischer (40 S., pdf) und eine in französischer Sprache (38 S., pdf).


Lawrence, R. J. (2017): Three tasks for transdisciplinary bridge builders. I2Insights blog, 17 October.

Leydesdorff, L., C. S. Wagner and L. Bornmann (2017): Betweenness and Diversity in Journal Citation Networks as Measures of Interdisciplinarity. A Tribute to Eugene Garfield. ArXiv e-prints, 1705.03272.


Journals were central to Eugene Garfield's research interests. Among other things, journals are considered as units of analysis for bibliographic databases such as the Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus. In addition to disciplinary classifications of journals, journal citation patterns span networks across boundaries to variable extents. Using betweenness centrality (BC) and diversity, we elaborate on the question of how to distinguish and rank journals in terms of interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinarity, however, is difficult to operationalize in the absence of an operational definition of disciplines, the diversity of a unit of analysis is sample-dependent. BC can be considered as a measure of multi-disciplinarity. Diversity of co-citation in a citing document has been considered as an indicator of knowledge integration, but an author can also generate trans-disciplinary--that is, non-disciplined--variation by citing sources from other disciplines. Diversity in the bibliographic coupling among citing documents can analogously be considered as diffusion of knowledge across disciplines. Because the citation networks in the cited direction reflect both structure and variation, diversity in this direction is perhaps the best available measure of interdisciplinarity at the journal level. Furthermore, diversity is based on a summation and can therefore be decomposed, differences among (sub)sets can be tested for statistical significance. In an appendix, a general-purpose routine for measuring diversity in networks is provided.

Link to the article

Mann, C. and M. Schäfer (2018): Developing sustainable water and land management options: reflections on a transdisciplinary research process. Sustainability Science, 13(1), p. 205-217.


Knowledge production for sustainable land management requires close cooperation between research and practice. Drawing on insights from the ELaN project, which has developed a set of products to foster integrated water and land management in Northeast Germany, this paper compares two specific transdisciplinary research processes, seeking to obtain a clearer picture of what influences the acceptance and up-take of generated research products beyond methodological considerations of transdisciplinary research design and stakeholder interaction.

Link to the article

Mehring, M., et al. (2017): Halting biodiversity loss: how social-ecological biodiversity research makes a difference. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 13(1), p 172-180.

Mountain Research and Development, 37(1).


This issue offers 14 peer-reviewed articles focusing on questions related to water, risk reduction, energy, land use change, biodiversity, vegetation ecology, conservation, gender policy, ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, economic opportunities, mobility, and glacier monitoring—always with sustainable development in mind. This broad and often integrative thematic coverage, calling upon a number of disciplines, is relevant in the context of the recently adopted UN resolution 71/234 on “Sustainable Mountain Development”. Geographically, papers present insights from Nepal, China, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Ecuador, and Colombia.

The issue is available online and open access:
http://www.bioone.org/toc/mred/37/1

Read about the journal’s section policies, guidelines, and submission procedure at:
http://www.mrd-journal.org/

The MRD Editorial Team
MRD Editorial Office, University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment
mrd-journal@cde.notexisting@nodomain.comunibe.notexisting@nodomain.comch

Mountain Research and Development, 37(2).


Papers in this issue cover mismanagement of irrigation water and landslips in Pakistan, a review of climate change impacts on ecosystem services in high mountains, maize diversity and poverty reduction in Guatemala, a new approach to assessing tap water recharge in Japan, a method for measuring bark biomass in Nepal, and the habitat ecology of a profitable but endemic resource in Tibet.

Link to the Journal (open access)

Mountain Research and Development, 37(3): Moutain Forests and the SDGs


This Focus Issue assesses the role of mountain forests in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. After an Introductory Essay, papers cover gender issues in agroforestry (Ethiopia) and community forests (Nepal), small-scale mountain farm forestry (Austria), rubber and the rural economy (China), a throughfall-exclusion experiment (Bhutan), mountain forest resilience (India), Andean forest landscape research, US federal forest productivity, rangeland property rights (Bhutan), and urban spatial growth modelling (China).

Link to the Journal (open access)

Mountain Research and Development, 37(4): Migration and Sustainable Development in Mountains


This focus issue on implications of out- and in-migration for sustainable development in mountains offers papers on asylum seekers, amenity migrants, young in-migrants, depopulation, the elderly, the structurally poor, and resettled migrants; they analyze social, environmental, and economic impacts of migration in mountains in Europe, Chile, Georgia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Tibet, and Ethiopia. Further topics are vegetation, wildfire observation, and hydro-sociology.

Link to the journal

Otero, I., et al. (2017): The position of scientists in transformations of human-environment systems. An inquiry into IRI THESys research practices. THESys Discussion Paper, 1.


Based on an inquiry into IRI THESys research practices the Discussion Paper "The position of scientists in transformations of human-environment systems" is out now. It was prepared in collaboration between seven THESys staff members led by Dr. Iago Otero.

More information and link to the paper

Ott, C. (2017): Enabling Transformative Research: Lessons from the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (1999-2015). Challenges in Sustainability, 5(1), p 15–23.


World leaders at the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York have re- confirmed the relevance of sustainability as the guiding paradigm in countering the development and climate crisis of the Anthropocene. Recent decades however, have been characterized by confusion, contestations, and arbitrariness in defining the nature and pathways of sustainable development. Humanity must urgently find ways to unlock the potential of the sustainability paradigm and organize a sustainability transforma- tion. An emerging sustainability science community has already established considerable consensus on essential features of transformative science and research. Sustainability scholars are providing growing evidence that an emancipatory and democratic construction of sustainable development and more equitable, deliberative, and democratized knowledge generation are pivotal in tackling sustainability challenges. These findings are further underpinned by experiences gained in the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (1999–2015)—a rare case of a long-term, transnational, and transdisciplinary research en- deavour already completed. The programme fulfilled the dual role which is compulsory in transformative research: It generated contextualized knowledge and innovation at the science–society interface while simultaneously securing meaningful participation and Southern agency in a co-evolutionary process. This paper offers insight into the programme’s adaptive structure and implementation processes, which fostered deliberation, capacity development, and joint programme navigation benchmarked against local needs and broader sustainability demands. The ESAPP experience confirms that, if taken as the overarching frame of reference for all actors involved, the sustainability paradigm unfolds its integrative and transformative power. It enables sustainability-oriented actors from all scientific and practical fields to seek consilience between differing development and innovation paradigms and synchronize their development agendas and research frameworks on behalf of societal co-production of knowledge and innovation. Accordingly, the sustainability paradigm has the power to guide development and innovation policy, and practice out of the current confusion and ineffectiveness.

Link to the article

Padmanabhan, M. (ed.) (2017): Transdisciplinary Research and Sustainability: Collaboration, Innovation and Transformation. Routledge Studies in Environment, Culture, and Society. London, New York: Routledge.


Transdisciplinary Research and Sustainability breaks new ground by presenting transdisciplinary research in practice, drawing on recent advances by the vibrant transdisciplinary research communities in the German-speaking world. It describes methodological innovations developed to address wide-ranging contemporary issues including climate change adaptation, energy policy, sustainable agriculture and soil conservation. Furthermore, the authors reflect on the challenges involved in integrating non-academic actors in scientific research, on the tensions that arise in the encounter of theory and praxis, and on the inherently normative, political nature of sustainability research.

Link to the book

Patze-Diordiychuk, P., et al. (eds) (2017): Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung. Band 1: Beteiligungsprozesse erfolgreich planen. München: oekom verlag.


Spätestens die Proteste gegen die Erweiterung des Flughafens in Frankfurt am Main, den Bau der Dresdner Waldschlößchenbrücke oder Stuttgart 21 haben gezeigt: Die Bürgerinnen und Bürger möchten auf die konkrete Ausgestaltung ihres unmittelbaren Lebensumfeldes stärker als bisher Einfluss nehmen. Durch eine frühzeitige Einbindung der Bürgerschaft in Entscheidungsprozesse lassen sich u.a. mögliche Konflikte zeitiger erkennen und einvernehmliche Lösungen erarbeiten. Das schafft mehr Akzeptanz für Entscheidungen und hilft langfristig auch, Geld zu sparen.

Das praxisorientierte »Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung« stellt dafür ein breites Set an Methoden vor, die von der Beteiligungsplanung bis zur Lern- und Ergebnistransfersicherung reichen und auch das Thema Online-Beteiligung berücksichtigen. Es richtet sich u.a. an kommunale Verwaltungen, Politik, Vereine, Bürgerinitiativen, Prozessgestalter und erscheint in 5 Bänden. Band 1: Zu Beginn eines Beteiligungsprozesses gilt es u.a. zu klären: Welche Ziele sollen erreicht werden? Welche Akteure und Ressourcen werden benötigt? Damit die Beteiligungsplanung gelingt, setzen Prozessgestalter Erhebungs- und Analysetechniken ein.

Link zum Buch

Patze-Diordiychuk, P., et al., Deutsche Museum (eds) (2017): Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung. Band 2: Passende Beteiligungsformate wählen. München: oekom verlag.


Spätestens die Proteste gegen die Erweiterung des Flughafens in Frankfurt am Main, den Bau der Dresdner Waldschlößchenbrücke oder Stuttgart 21 haben gezeigt: Die Bürgerinnen und Bürger möchten auf die konkrete Ausgestaltung ihres unmittelbaren Lebensumfeldes stärker als bisher Einfluss nehmen. Durch eine frühzeitige Einbindung der Bürgerschaft in Entscheidungsprozesse lassen sich u.a. mögliche Konflikte zeitiger erkennen und einvernehmliche Lösungen erarbeiten. Das schafft mehr Akzeptanz für Entscheidungen und hilft langfristig auch, Geld zu sparen. Das praxisorientierte »Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung« stellt dafür ein breites Set an Methoden vor, die von der Beteiligungsplanung bis zur Lern- und Ergebnistransfersicherung reichen und auch das Thema Online-Beteiligung berücksichtigen. Es richtet sich u.a. an kommunale Verwaltungen, Politik, Vereine, Bürgerinitiativen, Prozessgestalter und erscheint in fünf Bänden.

Band 2 des Methodenhandbuchs Bürgerbeteiligung:
Jeder Beteiligungsprozess braucht ein maßgeschneidertes Moderations- und Beteiligungskonzept. Die Vielfalt an Methoden, die hier zum Einsatz kommen können, ist groß. Die Methodenkoffer sind heute sehr gut gefüllt.
Band 2 stellt 20 erprobte Methoden vor und sortiert diese nach sinnvollen Kriterien, etwa hinsichtlich ihrer Zielsetzung, Teilnehmerzahl, Kostenrahmen und Zeitbedarf. Zahlreiche Anwendungsbeispiele schaffen konkrete Praxisbezüge.

Link zum Buch

Pohl, C. and G. Hirsch Hadorn (2017): Frameworks for Transdisciplinary Research: Framework #1. GAIA – Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(3), p. 232.

Pohl, C., P. Krütli and M. Stauffacher (2017): Ten Reflective Steps for Rendering Research Societally Relevant. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p 43-51.

Rogga, S., et al. (2017): Jenseits von „Bürgerwissenschaften“ – neue Wege der Nachhaltigkeitsforschung im integrierten Naturschutz und dem Kulturlandschaftsmanagement. Laufen: ANLiegen Natur, 39(1), p 60-68.


Um Strategien gegen die negativen Folgen des Landschaftswandels zu erarbeiten, wird in jüngster Zeit verstärkt die Zusammenarbeit zwischen Wissenschaft und Praxis gefördert. Ziel dieser disziplinenübergreifenden Forschungsverbünde ist nicht nur die Steigerung des wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisgewinns, sondern zugleich die Erarbeitung konkreter Lösungsschritte für die beteiligten Praxispartner. Auch für den Naturschutz und die Landschaftspflege ergeben sich aus diesem Forschungsansatz Potenziale für eine nachhaltige regionale Entwicklung. Drei Projekte zeigen exemplarisch, wie konkrete Fragen des Natur- und Umweltschutzes mit anderen gesellschaftlichen Teilinteressen integriert werden können und welche Beiträge die Wissenschaft bei der Problemlösung liefern kann.

Beitrag lesen

Sanders, S. and J. Oberst Eds. (2017): Changing perspectives on daylight: Science, technology, and culture. Science/AAAS, Washington, DC.


This is the first publication of the Daylight Academy and gives a non-exhaustive overview of the variety of topics that unite scientist and professionals working on daylight. The interdisciplinary publication highlights the state of the art as well as future perspectives ahead of us.

Link to the publication

Schäpke, N., et al. (2017): Reallabore im Kontext transformativer Forschung. Ansatzpunkte zur Konzeption und Einbettung in den internationalen Forschungsstand. IETSR Discussion Papers in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research, 1. Lüneburg: Leuphana Universität - Institut für Ethik und Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung.

Scherhaufer, P. and H. Grüneis (2017): Auf der Suche nach der „guten“ Partizipation in Forschungsprojekten. Auf partizipation.at.


Eine partizipativ ausgerichtete Klimawandelanpassungsforschung soll wissensbasiert und auf einem Dialog aufbauend zu Ergebnissen führen, die die Wahrnehmungen, Sichtweisen und Bedürfnisse der Beteiligten widerspiegeln. Die Praxis zeigt, dass dieser hehre Anspruch aber nur schwer erfüllt werden kann. Trotz der vielfältigen Erfahrungen und Anleitungen zur „guten“ Partizipation in Forschungsprojekten bleibt es schwierig, die TeilnehmerInnen ausreichend zu motivieren. Ein genauer Zeit- und Ressourcenplan sowie die Einhaltung der Vorgaben der Offenheit, Transparenz und Iteration scheinen nicht genug, um Praxiswissen mit wissenschaftlichem Wissen integrativ zu verbinden und zu gesellschaftlich nützlichen und handlungsanleitenden Ergebnissen zu kommen. Im Rahmen eines Beitrags in der Zeitschrift für Umweltpsychologie (1) haben die Autoren die Normen transdisziplinärer Forschung aufgegriffen und sie mit einem Ausschnitt der Realität derartiger Projekte konfrontiert. Das Anschauungsmaterial auf dem die Analyse basiert, stammt dabei aus zwei angewandten Vulnerabilitäts- und Anpassungsprojekten in Österreich: Capital-Adapt und RIVAS.

Artikel lesen

Schmidt, L. and M. Pröpper (2017): Transdisciplinarity as a real-world challenge. A case study on a North-South collaboration. Sustainability Science, doi:10.1007/s11625-017-0430-8.


Transdisciplinarity (TD) has become a buzzword, promoted as a suitable approach to address today’s urgent challenges in human-environment interactions. Looking at its practical implementation, however, challenges still remain to be met. Despite the concept’s popularity, it seems difficult to reconcile the idea of knowledge co-production with research realities. Taking a TD research project dealing with sustainable land management in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, and Namibia) as a case study, we aim to provide empirically based insights into the real-world application of this collaborative research approach to improve the general understanding of TD research in the making. Based on semi-structured interviews with project partners and stakeholders, we reveal the underlying interests, mismatching institutions and structures of power shaping the TD research process in this North–South collaboration. We identified TD as falling victim to a kind of “tragedy of the commons”, paralysed between existing power structures and conflicting interests, and being considered as extra work instead of an integral task with an inherent value in itself. By demonstrating some of the underlying causes of the challenging practice of TD, we reveal starting points for changes and provide recommendations that aim to set the base for a more reflexive and fruitful TD knowledge co-production.

Link to the article


Schmuck, P. (2016): Rezension zu "Defila R, Di Giulio A (eds) 2016. Transdisziplinär forschen – zwischen Ideal und gelebter Praxis. Hotspots, Geschichten, Wirkungen". Umweltpsychologie, 1, p 151-154.


Prof. Dr. Peter Schmuck (Universität Göttingen) zieht in seiner Besprechung der Synthesepublikation aus dem vom BMBF geförderten SÖF-Themenschwerpunkt "Vom Wissen zum Handeln – neue Wege zum nachhaltigem Konsum" folgendes "Fazit: Das Buch behandelt die existentielle Frage, ob und inwieweit WissenschaftlerInnen zur Lösung der großen Nachhaltigkeitsherausforderungen unserer Zeit Substantielles beisteuern können. Auch wenn bei einem derart komplexen Feld sicherlich kein einfacher Konsens zu erzielen ist und sich leicht kritische Punkte finden lassen, auch wenn wir WissenschaftlerInnen zum Theoretisieren neigen – und auch wenn bei einem Buch mit einem derart umfangreichen Anspruch Wünsche offen bleiben (wie meine Erwartung, etwas über die gesellschaftlichen Wirkungen von 10 Forschungsverbünden zu nachhaltigem Konsum zu erfahren): Ein in weiten Teilen lesenswertes und anregendes Buch zu einem der spannendsten Forschungsfelder unserer Zeit."

Link zur Buch-Besprechung

Schmutzer, M.E.A. (2017): Um-Wege zur Un-Wahrheit. Von Technikeuphorie über Wissenschaftsskepsis zur Kunst. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.


Das Zeitalter der Vernunft neigt sich dem Ende zu. Vernunft hat sich zu oft als Un-Vernunft erwiesen, alte Un-Wahrheiten wurden wahr und umgekehrt. Manfred E.A. Schmutzer zeigt Alternativen auf. Dabei wird die Philosophie Heideggers genauso weitergedacht wie jene des arabischen Philosophen al-Farabi aus dem zehnten Jahrhundert.
Wesentliches Resultat der Überlegungen ist, dass sich Erkenntnis nicht durch Wissenschaft allein gewinnen lässt und Wahrheit sich erst durch Kunst erweist. Die Aufsatzsammlung folgt daher einer Dramaturgie, die absichtsvoll den Regeln der aristotelischen Poetik entspricht. Es folgt: Wissenschafter sollten auch Dichter sein. Diese Möglichkeit wird im zweiten Teil des Bandes mithilfe einer unüblich poetischen Sprache demonstriert.

Link zum Buch

Scholz, R.W. (2017): Managing complexity: from visual perception to sustainable transitions—contributions of Brunswik’s Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism. Environment Systems and Decisions.


Coping with the multitude of information, relationships, and dynamics of the biotic and abiotic environment is a fundamental prerequisite for the survival of any organismic system. This paper discusses what contribution the Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism (TPF) of Egon Brunswik (1903–1955), which was originally developed for visual perception (including certain cognitive processes) and later for judgment, may provide today.

Link to the paper

Scholz, R. (2017): The Normative Dimension in Transdisciplinarity, Transition Management, and Transformation Sciences: New Roles of Science and Universities in Sustainable Transitioning. Sustainability, 9(6), p. 991.


The paper focuses on what roles normative aspects play in the different approaches and new societal demands imposed on science and universities. Based on this, we conclude that a new order of universities, public knowledge institutions, and boundary institutions is forthcoming.

Link to the paper

Scholz, R.W., M. Yarime, and H. Shiroyama (2017): Global leadership for social design: theoretical and educational perspectives. Sustainability Science.


The rapid change of technological, social, and cultural structures is challenging universities to offer new educational programs. The Global Leader Program for Social Design and Management (GSDM) of the University of Tokyo can be seen as a forerunner in this field. The paper provides definitions of social design as well as of global leadership and provides a proposal for the definition of the objective of the GSDM program, i.e., multi-level resilient human–environment system. These subjects are embedded in the framework of human–environment systems (HES). We identified the different types of knowledge integration that ‘global leaders for social design’ should master.

Link to the paper

Schuck-Zöller, S., J. Cortekar, and D. Jacob (2017): Evaluating co-creation of knowledge: from quality criteria and indicators to methods. Adv. Sci. Res., 14, p. 305-312.


This paper starts by describing a comprehensive and interdisciplinary literature overview of indicators to evaluate co-creation of knowledge, including the different fields of integrated knowledge production. Then the authors harmonize the different elements of evaluation from literature in an evaluation “cascade” that scales down from very general evaluation dimensions to tangible assessment methods. They describe evaluation indicators already being documented and include a mixture of different assessment methods for two exemplary criteria. It is shown what can be deduced from already existing methodology for climate services and envisaged how climate services can further to develop their specific evaluation method.

Link to the article

Sieveking, A., et al. (2017): Towards a Sustainable Use of Phosphorus. A Transdisciplinary Scenario Analysis for the Administrative District of Lüneburg, Germany. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p 34-42.

Sugiyama, M., et al. (2017): Unintended Side Effects of Digital Transition: Perspectives of Japanese Experts. Sustainability, 9(12), p. 2193.


The core of the digital transition is the representation of all kinds of real-world entities and processes and an increasing number of cognitive processes by digital information and algorithms on computers. These allow for seemingly unlimited storage, operation, retrieval, and transmission capacities that make digital tools economically available for all domains of society and empower human action, particularly combined with real-world interfaces such as displays, robots, sensors, 3D printers, etc. Digital technologies are general-purpose technologies providing unprecedented potential benefits for sustainability. However, they will bring about a multitude of potential unintended side effects, and this demands a transdisciplinary discussion on unwanted societal changes as well as a shift in science from analog to digital modeling and structure. Although social discourse has begun, the topical scope and regional coverage have been limited. Here, we report on an expert roundtable on digital transition held in February 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. Drawing on a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, our discussions highlight the importance of cultural contexts and the need to bridge local and global conversations. Although Japanese experts did mention side effects, their focus was on how to ensure that AI and robots could coexist with humans. Such a perspective is not well appreciated everywhere outside Japan. Stakeholder dialogues have already begun in Japan, but greater efforts are needed to engage a broader collection of experts in addition to stakeholders to broaden the social debate.

Link to the article

Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (2017): A Conflict Sensitive Approach to Field Research – Doing Any Better? Swiss Academies Reports, 12(5).


This publication by swisspeace and the KFPE demonstrates, in eight contributions, how scientists view their research as dependent of national and international power structures. Research in conflict zones can point to ways and means to diffuse tension, if consciously undertaken. To achieve this objective, field research projects need to consider these specifics from the very outset.

Link to the report

Ukowitz, M. (2017): Transdisziplinäre Forschung in Reallaboren. Ein Plädoyer für Einheit in der Vielfalt. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p 9-12.

Ukowitz, M. (2017): Rezension zu "Defila, R. and A. Di Giulio (eds) (2016): Transdisziplinär forschen – zwischen Ideal und gelebter Praxis. Hotspots, Geschichten, Wirkungen". TATuP, 26(1-2), p.76-78.


Assoc.Prof. Mag. Dr. Martina Ukowitz (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt) zieht in ihrer Besprechung der Synthesepublikation aus dem vom BMBF geförderten SÖF-Themenschwerpunkt "Vom Wissen zum Handeln – neue Wege zum nachhaltigem Konsum" folgendes Fazit: "Das Buch ist eine Bereicherung für den Diskurs zu transdisziplinärer Forschung. Es ist wichtig, sich kontinuierlich mit der Forschungspraxis auseinanderzusetzen und aktuelle Befunde in die Scientific Community einzubringen, auch wenn die Themen nicht immer neu sind. Lesenswert erscheint mir das Buch für verschiedene AdressatInnengruppen: NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen, FördergeberInnen und PraxispartnerInnen bekommen Einblicke, wie Prozesse im Forschungsalltag verlaufen und mit welchen Freuden und Herausforderungen die Beteiligten darin konfrontiert werden. Erfahrene ForscherInnen finden darin einen Resonanzboden eigener Erfahrungen und werden angeregt, die Zukunft transdisziplinärer Forschung weiterzudenken. Das Buch ist informativ, weil es neben den Erfahrungsberichten literaturbasierte Sequenzen zu Begriffserklärungen (transdisziplinäre Forschung, Formen von Begleitforschung, Storytelling) und zur Frage der gesellschaftlichen Wirkung von Forschung enthält. Dank des erfrischenden und persönlichen Schreibstils der AutorInnen ist es angenehm zu lesen. Die Bedeutung des Bandes liegt vor allem in der umfassenden und genauen Auseinandersetzung mit der transdisziplinären Projektpraxis. Was nur angedeutet ist, aber letztlich nicht von der praxisbezogenen Ebene getrennt werden kann, sind die Hotspots im Zusammenhang mit wissenschaftlicher Forschung in transdisziplinären Projekten. Darin liegt genügend Stoff für weitere Auseinandersetzung. Dem Wunsch der HerausgeberInnen nach soll das Buch für die vielfältige Praxis transdisziplinären Forschens hilfreich sein und ermuntern, transdisziplinäre Prozesse pragmatisch-kreativ anzugehen. Das tut es in ausgezeichneter Weise."

Link zum Artikel

Vilsmaier, U. (2017): A Space for Taking a Culturally Sensitive Look at Transdisciplinarity: Report of the ITD Conference 2017. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(4), p. 352-354.


The International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2017 brought together representatives of different world regions, institutions, cultures, and communities. It was co-organized by td-net and Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany.

Link to the article

Wellman, B., et al. (2017): Fifteen Implications of Networked Scholar Research for Networked Work. International Journal of Communication, 11, p. 2062–2066.

West, C., E. Marquardt and U. Gerhard (2017): Co-design und co-production von Wissen für die nachhaltige Stadt. Das Reallabor Urban Office in Heidelberg. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 26(1), p 58-59.

Wilhelm, R. and T. Schulz (2017): Nachhaltige Entwicklung braucht soziale Innovationen – die Sozial-ökologische Forschung als Wegbereiter. In: M. Jaeger-Erben, J. Rückert-John and M. Schäfer, eds: Soziale Innovationen für nachhaltigen Konsum: Wissenschaftliche Perspektiven, Strategien der Förderung und gelebte Praxis. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.


Seit einigen Jahren wird in verschiedenen Kontexten verstärkt über die Bedeutung sozialer Innovationen für die Transformation zu einer nachhaltigen Gesellschaft diskutiert. Diese Diskussion findet ihren Widerhall auch in der internationalen und deutschen Forschungspolitik. In zunehmendem Maße werden Programme der Forschungsförderung für einen breit gefassten Innovationsbegriff geöffnet, der sich nicht allein auf neue Technologien und Produkte konzentriert, sondern auch immaterielle Formen von Innovationen (z. B. institutionelle, organisatorische oder verhaltensbezogene) sowie soziale Aspekte des Innovationsprozesses umfasst.

Link zum Buchkapitel

Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen WBGU (2016): Der Umzug der Menschheit: Die transformative Kraft der Städte. Berlin.


Die Wucht der derzeitigen Urbanisierungsdynamik und ihre Auswirkungen sind so groß, dass sich weltweit Städte, Stadtgesellschaften, Regierungen und Internationale Organisationen diesem Trend stellen müssen. Ein „Weiter so wie bisher“, würde ohne gestaltende Urbanisierungspolitik zu einer nicht-nachhaltigen Welt-Städte-Gesellschaft führen. Nur wenn Städte und Stadtgesellschaften ausreichend handlungsfähig werden, können sie ihre Kraft für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung entfalten: In den Städten wird sich entscheiden, ob die Große Transformation zur Nachhaltigkeit gelingt. In diesem Buch werden die Erfolgsbedingungen dafür diskutiert.

Mehr Informationen & download PDF's

Zaehringer, J. G., et al. (2017): Remote sensing combined with social-ecological data: The importance of diverse land uses for ecosystem service provision in north-eastern Madagascar. Ecosystem Services, 25, p. 140-152.


Through ongoing deforestation in the tropics, forest-related ecosystem services are declining, while ecosystem services provided by agricultural land uses are on the increase. Land system science provides a framework for analysing the links between land use change and the resulting socio-environmental trade-offs. However, the evidence base to support the navigation of such trade-offs is often lacking, as information on land use cannot directly be obtained through remote sensing and census data is often unavailable at sufficient spatial resolution. The global biodiversity hotspot of north-eastern Madagascar exemplifies these challenges. Combining land use data obtained through remote sensing with social-ecological data from a regional level household survey, we attempt to make the links between land use and ecosystem service benefits explicit. Our study confirmed that remotely sensed information on landscapes reflects households’ involvement in rice production systems. We further characterized landscapes in terms of “ecosystem service bundles” linked to specific land uses, as well as in terms of ecosystem service benefits to households. The map of landscape types could help direct future conservation and development efforts towards places where there is potential for success.

Link to the article

Zscheischler, J., S. Rogga, and M. Busse (2017): The Adoption and Implementation of Transdisciplinary Research in the Field of Land-Use Science—A Comparative Case Study. Sustainability, 9(11), p. 1926.


Transdisciplinary research (TDR) is discussed as a promising approach in land-use science and spatial research to address complex multifaceted “real-world problems” and to design strategies and solutions for sustainable development. TDR has become a widespread research approach in sustainability science and is increasingly promoted by research programmes and agencies (e.g., Future Earth and Horizon 2020). Against this backdrop, TDR can be considered a (social) innovation in the academic system, which is currently in the midst of an up-scaling diffusion process from a rather small TDR-advocating expert community to a broader science-practice community. We argue that this up-scaling phase also places TDR in a critical state as the concept potentially risks a type of “rhetorical mainstreaming”. The objectives of this study were to analyse how the challenging approach of TDR is currently adopted and implemented in the field of land-use research and to identify potential influencing factors. We studied 13 transdisciplinary research projects from Germany by performing qualitative interviews with coordinators, document analysis and participatory observation during meetings over a period of five years. Results show that the adoption level of the TDR concept varied widely among the studied projects, as did the adoption of the TDR indicators used in our analysis. In many of the investigated projects, we identified a clear lack of conceptual knowledge of TDR. In addition, we found that current academic structures limit the ability of researchers to thoroughly adapt to the requirements of TDR. We conclude that further communication and educational efforts that promote TDR are required. In addition, we advocate for the development of suitable funding instruments that support sustained research structures.

Link to the article

NEWSLETTER TD-INFO
>> ANMELDEN


td-net
Haus der Akademien
Laupenstrasse 7
Postfach
CH-3001 Bern

Tel +41 (0)31 306 93 60
td-net@scnat.notexisting@nodomain.comch
Twitter: @tdnetCH