CALL: Special Issue "Sustainability and Digital Environment"
> A special issue of Sustainability. Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2017.

The ongoing digital revolution is changing all domains of life and technology. Against this background, it is remarkable that so little attention has been given to the unintended feedback loops (i.e., rebound effects) that may be faced by social, economic, and environmental systems. In a discussion of the major changes and threats, a recent paper ( elaborated that the current digital transformation heralds a new stage of evolution. A main environmental concern is that the large-scale manipulation of genetic processes and cell processes (i.e., directed evolution) is inducing new regulatory processes in evolution. Others stress that big data, the Internet of Things, and the global networking of all human minds are double-edged swords, and may endanger systems and structures that should be sustained from a resilience or sustainable development perspective.

The special issue, Sustainability and Digital Environments, will address a broad range of topics that should help readers to understand both the generic and specific aspects of the critical developments related to the spread of digital environments. Thus, the issue may include papers on challenging economic questions (e.g., the potential loss of workplaces and employment due to digitalization and what the future of both may look like), sociopolitical issues (e.g., altered human behavior, communication, or networking and different forms of cyber addiction), or environmental questions (e.g., the loss of agrobiodiversity linked to digital technologies). However, in addition, contributions related to technological aspects such as durable digital storage are welcomed. In particular, we invite contributions that reflect on the unintended side effects of digital technologies and papers that contribute to the structuring of critical aspects or types of rebound effects related to digital environments, as well as from epistemological or ethical perspectives. Finally, we invite papers that sketch processes related to the type of transdisciplinary or other processes of science and practice collaboration needed to establish sustainable digital environments.

More information

CALL: Special collection call for papers: Interdisciplinarity

Palgrave Communications – the fully open access journal published by Palgrave Macmillan – is inviting article proposals and submissions for a special article collection dedicated to the concept of Interdisciplinarity.

The traditional disciplinary boundaries that are cemented in the academic world are regularly questioned by the “real world”. While not necessarily antidisciplinary, interdisciplinary research is today crucial in seeking solutions to global social, environmental and economic challenges. Yet traditional academic research assessment practices can incentivise approaches to research that lack the interdisciplinary flexibility to engage with challenges like migration, water scarcity, educational underperformance, and many others. Nevertheless, the orientation of some research might be changing, and there are today many emerging examples of promising interdisciplinary collaborations.

This thematic collection is dedicated to the concept of Interdisciplinarity within and between disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, including how these disciplines interact with the life and physical sciences. Articles in this collection explore evolving definitions of the term ‘interdisciplinary’, as well as different perspectives on the need and drive for interdisciplinary research, and provide case studies of effective collaborative research in practice.

If you would like to propose a paper for this collection, please contact the editorial office at: palcomms@palgrave.notexisting@nodomain.comcom

For more information about the collection including articles already published, please click on the link below:



Enabling Transformative Research: Lessons from the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (1999-2015)
Ott C 2017. Challenges in Sustainability, V5, N1, pp 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

KFPE: Annual Report 2016

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

KFPE Jahresbericht 2016 (pdf)

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

Naturphilosophie. Ein Lehr- und Studienbuch
> Kirchhoff T, Karafyllis N C, Evers D, Falkenburg B, Gerhard M, Hartung G, Hübner J, Köchy K, Krohs U, Potthast T, Schäfer O, Schiemann G, Schlette M, Schulz R, Vogelsang F (eds) 2017. 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

Mountain Research and Development Vol 37, No 1
> Available online and open access.

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:

Read about the journal’s section policies, guidelines, and submission procedure at:

The MRD Editorial Team
MRD Editorial Office, University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment

Methods and procedures of transdisciplinary knowledge integration: empirical insights from four thematic synthesis processes
> Hoffmann S, Pohl C, Hering J G 2017. Ecology and Society, V22, N1:27.

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:

I2S News
> January/February issue is now available

The January/February I2S News is available at:

It presents a tool for understanding values, videos on disciplinary perspectives on unknowns, the Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal journal, and the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society. These have all recently been added as resources to the Integration and Implementation Sciences website ( There are also upcoming conferences in areas related to transdisciplinarity.

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

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


A list of publications of 2017 announced in td-Info. The puplications are listed alphabetically.

Tischgespräche: Einladung zu einer interkulturellen Wissenschaft
> Albrecht C, Bogner A (eds) 2017. 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

Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education. Rethinking the temporal complexity of self and society
> Alhadeff-Jones M 2017. 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:

For more information about Michel Alhadeff-Jones's work and upcoming projects, please visit: or

Defining and assessing research quality in a transdisciplinary context
> Belcher B M, Rasmussen K E, Kemshaw M R, Zornes D A 2016. Research Evaluation, V25, N1, pp 1-17.

Research increasingly seeks both to generate knowledge and to contribute to real-world solutions, with strong emphasis on context and social engagement. As boundaries between disciplines are crossed, and as research engages more with stakeholders in complex systems, traditional academic definitions and criteria of research quality are no longer sufficient—there is a need for a parallel evolution of principles and criteria to define and evaluate research quality in a transdisciplinary research (TDR) context. We conducted a systematic review to help answer the question: What are appropriate principles and criteria for defining and assessing TDR quality? Articles were selected and reviewed seeking: arguments for or against expanding definitions of research quality, purposes for research quality evaluation, proposed principles of research quality, proposed criteria for research quality assessment, proposed indicators and measures of research quality, and proposed processes for evaluating TDR. We used the information from the review and our own experience in two research organizations that employ TDR approaches to develop a prototype TDR quality assessment framework, organized as an evaluation rubric. We provide an overview of the relevant literature and summarize the main aspects of TDR quality identified there. Four main principles emerge: relevance, including social significance and applicability; credibility, including criteria of integration and reflexivity, added to traditional criteria of scientific rigor; legitimacy, including criteria of inclusion and fair representation of stakeholder interests, and; effectiveness, with criteria that assess actual or potential contributions to problem solving and social change.

Link to the publication

Sustainable Development Research at ICIS – Taking stock and looking ahead
> Cörvers R, De Kraker J, Kemp R, Martens P, Van Lente H (eds) 2017. 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

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

OPTIONEN zur Stärkung inter- und transdisziplinärer Verbundforschung. Eine empirische Studie
> Lange H, Fuest V 2014/2015/2016, 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).

Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung. Band 1: Beteiligungsprozesse erfolgreich planen
> Patze-Diordiychuk P, Smettan J, Renner P, Föhr T (eds) 2017. 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

Methodenhandbuch Bürgerbeteiligung. Band 2: Passende Beteiligungsformate wählen
> Patze-Diordiychuk P, Smettan J, Renner P, Föhr T, Deutsche Museum (eds) 2017. 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

Nachhaltige Entwicklung braucht soziale Innovationen – die Sozial-ökologische Forschung als Wegbereiter
> Wilhelm R, Schulz T 2017. In Jaeger-Erben M, Rückert-John J and Schäfer M (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

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

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.

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