Network for Transdisciplinary Research

Our contribution to address complex societal challenges: We link scientific communities, support transdisciplinary careers and promote the development of competencies and methods.

Community news

Here you will find all the news of the last four months from the transdisciplinary community. The website is constantly updated. If you have any messages you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Preliminary Insights into Student Skills Development



The objective of this preliminary study was to evaluate the perceived improvement in skills development among student users of the Rflect app during autumn semester 2023. The analysis involved assessing the mean average score changes between pre- and post-surveys across 5 dimensions inspired by the Inner Development Goals, as well as examining qualitative responses using a multi-stage qualitative content analysis. The quantitative results exceeded the Rflect team’s initial hypothesis, and the qualitative data confirmed that Rflect has had a positive impact on student skills development and student users’ ability to reflect. This self-study serves as an initial step towards making Rflect more evidence-based, and will be followed by an academic rigor study in spring semester 2024. The results should therefore be interpreted with cautious optimism.


Towards fair transdisciplinary collaborations that honour epistemic justice



What principles need to be upheld to fund and support fair, inclusive, and equitable transdisciplinary collaborations? What competences and attitudes are required for transdisciplinary collaborations to foster epistemic justice? And what do mushrooms have to do with this?!

It is widely acknowledged that to address complex societal problems and harness plural ways of knowing, a wider range of actors, perspectives and types of knowledge are needed than is traditionally the case in other forms of knowledge creation.


Weaving knowledge systems: Honouring Indigenous knowledge



What is Indigenous science? How can it be properly recognised? How can we overcome current practices where Indigenous knowledge-holders are generally not regarded as experts, their knowledge is not used as evidence or in decision-making, and non-Indigenous people think Indigenous knowledge needs to be ‘validated’ by Western science?

Lack of recognition of Indigenous data sovereignty raises concerns about the conduct of research – by and for whom? Indigenous cultural knowledge is often used without permission or proper protocols, and is used and appropriated under Western science.


Navigating the complexities of decolonizing knowledge production



Has the movement to decolonize knowledge production caught your attention in recent academic discussions? Do you recognize how colonialism has deeply influenced traditional knowledge systems, embedding biases and inequalities in our academic practices? Given the noble aspiration behind decolonizing knowledge, have you ever paused to critically examine its feasibility and achievability? Are we embarking on a realistic journey towards change, or are we chasing an idealistic endeavor?


Survey: Who Does Science & Technology Policy?

Issues in Science and Technology


Who does science and technology policy? You do! And we want to hear from you. Back in 1968, journalist Dan Greenberg tried to estimate the “remarkably small number” of people involved in science policy and landed on somewhere between 200 and 1,000. The world has changed, but we still don’t have a good idea of who does science policy and what they do.

This community survey is hosted by Issues in Science and Technology, a 40-year-old quarterly science policy magazine published by the National Academy of Sciences and Arizona State University.

By taking this survey, you’re helping the science and tech policy community define itself and its goals.


Mountain Research and Development Vol 44, No 1

Mountain Research and Development


A study across all Andean countries details how immigration in the region is linked to an increase in exotic plant species, posing challenges for sustainable management of local ecosystems and biodiversity reservoirs. Research into the heterogeneity of Swiss alpine summer farms provides a typology to support the development of tailored policies toward sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation. Finally, a comprehensive review of the state of pastoralism and related policies and initiatives in Changthang, Ladakh, shows that integrated strategies that include regulated grazing practices, respect pastoralists’ stewardship, and are guided by impact monitoring are key to sustaining this age-old production system and culture.


TA-Swiss Annual Report



Evidence-based policy advice is sometimes seen - especially in times of crisis - as the search for clear-cut solutions to political problems in technology and expertise. The newly published annual report of TA-SWISS explains why technology assessment sees things differently: In the interest of broadly based, democratically legitimised and therefore sustainable decisions, it is committed to acting as an ‘honest broker’ between science, research, politics and society, while always keeping an eye on the various interests, concerns and needs – and never glossing over ambivalences.


Leibniz-Labs - ein neues Format

Leibniz Gemeinschaft


Die Leibniz-Gemeinschaft erprobt mit den "Leibniz-Labs" ein neues inter- und transdisziplinäres Format der Generierung von Wissen und Wirkung. In drei Leibniz-Labs arbeitet ein weites Spektrum von Leibniz-Instituten interdisziplinär und mit Akteuren aus Gesellschaft, Politik und Wirtschaft zusammen, um für große gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen praxistaugliche Lösungen zu entwickeln.


Im Fokus stehen große Fragen der Gegenwart: Wie können wir uns besser auf künftige Pandemien vorbereiten? Wie können wir Biodiversität und Klima effektiv schützen und gleichzeitig eine widerstandsfähige Landwirtschaft zur Ernährungssicherung erreichen? Und wie können historische Erfahrungen aus fundamentalen Umbrüchen und Krisen helfen, unsere Gesellschaften resilienter zu machen?


Development cooperation and research: a promising model

Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development


The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme), run by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), ended on 25 April 2024. Its completion was the occasion for the two institutions to launch the new successor programme, SOR4D, which also focuses on health, food security, social conflicts, ecosystems, work and income in developing countries. Odile Robert from the SDC offers insights into both the completed and successor programmes in this interview.


Improving how we do research with indigenous and local communities

i2insights - Roxana Ross


How can we best include the perspectives of indigenous and local people in global change research? What are the major challenges in doing research with and within local and indigenous communities? How can we best deal with such challenges?


More and more, global challenges like climate change are being felt locally, and indigenous peoples are often the most vulnerable. The inclusion of the perspectives of indigenous and local people when developing ways to respond to societal challenges is increasingly the norm in the scientific world. For response strategies to be effective, communities need to be involved in their development. This is true for a whole range of topics, from social justice to climate adaptation. But getting local communities involved in research by ‘outsiders’ can be a challenge for a multitude of reasons.


Online-Course on Narratives in Sustainability Transformations



The tdAcademy Fellow group "Fostering inclusivity and transformative action through narratives in transdisciplinary processes" around Paula Maria Bögel (University of Vechta, DE), Karoline Augenstein (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, DE) and Meike Levin-Keitel (TU Dortmund, DE) in close cooperation with Anna Sundermann (Leuphana University Lüneburg, DE) has developed an extensive collection of teaching and learning materials on the importance of narratives in sustainability transformations. The course provides an overview of research and the role of narratives in transformations. It helps to reflect on various perspectives in a socioconstructivist research mode and to understand the complexity of sustainability transformations. The teaching and learning materials include videos with theoretical inputs, interviews with practitioners, and two case studies. The online course can be used both: as a self-learning course and as open educational material in teaching.


The course is available in English.


Survey on researchers' expectations of conferences

Ariane Wenger, TdLab


Are you a researcher planning to attend scientific conferences?

Please consider participating in and distributing this survey on researchers’ expectations of conferences that Ariane Wenger (TdLab, ETH Zurich) is conducting as part of her dissertation on changing research exchange practices. The short (10-15 minutes) online survey is aimed at researchers of all scientific disciplines and career stages who are planning to attend scientific conferences. In particular, opinions and views of researchers from all around the world are appreciated. Participation in the survey will not only enrich this study, but will also help to identify avenues for enhancing current conference practices, benefiting the wider academic community.

Thank you very much for your support!


Programme de recherche sur le logement 2024-2027

Office fédéral du logement OFL


Le programme de recherche 2024-2027 comprend des sujets qui détermineront, en partant du point de vue actuel, les travaux de recherche au cours de ces quatre prochaines années. Ce faisant, il met l’accent sur des développements qui pourraient rendre nécessaire l’intervention de l’Etat, élabore et diffuse des bases de décision axées sur la pratique, et soutient des approches concrètes en vue de résoudre des problèmes existants.


Not just in our heads: Embodied and creative practices for creating connection



How can embodied and creative practices, such as dance and poetry, be used to bridge different forms of knowledge?


Transdisciplinarity requires crossing many boundaries, including knowledge fields, perspectives, languages, personalities, and geographic areas. This is often somewhat uncomfortable. Arts-based and embodied approaches can support creative thinking, perspective-taking and communication. For some, these art-based methods feel more natural than for others, but we suggest that the willingness to leave our comfort zone (‘embracing the discomfort’) opens up space for shared vulnerability that is much needed for integrating perspectives. Moreover, doing these practices under time pressure helps remove the tendency to self-criticise and strive for perfection in artistic expression. To be fair, creative practices are not everyone’s style. It is important to note that the effort is not about co-creating beautiful artwork, but rather to facilitate alternative means of expression.


We put these principles into practice when we organised the TRED (Transdisciplinary Research, Education and Dialogue) conference in 2023. At that conference we drew on metaphors, poetry, drawing and dancing as creative and embodied practices.


Mountain Research and Development Vol 43, No 4: Restoring Mountain Systems for Social–Ecological Resilience

Mountain Research and Development


Conserving and recovering mountain landscape functions are key concerns in the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and a focus of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030. Two MountainDevelopment articles in this focus issue assess efforts to protect the páramo in Ecuador and rehabilitate puna grassland in Peru. MountainResearch articles investigate the impacts of plantation forests in Ethiopia on plant species and ecosystem services and examine local governments’ views on spring drying and conservation in Nepal. A MountainAgenda article proposes a social science research agenda for the conservation of North America’s Yellowstone to Yukon Region. The guest editorial embeds the articles in the wider debate around mountain system restoration and its challenges, highlighting the attention all contributions give to its social dimensions.


td-net toolbox in Japanese



The translation of the td-net toolbox into Japanese has recently been completed. We would like Yuko Onishi for the opportunity of working together, the translation of this toolbox and its availability is a great sucess.


SWIFCOB 24 "Biodiversität integrieren" - Tagungsunterlagen der Konfrenez jetzt online

Forum Biodiversität Schweiz


Wie können wir in der Schweiz die neuen Ziele des Globalen Biodiversitätsrahmens erreichen und möglichst viele Menschen daran beteiligen? Die SWIFCOB vom 9. Februar 2024 begab sich auf die Suche nach integralen Lösungen, um bei der Erhaltung der Biodiversität und der Ökosystemleistungen und dem dafür nötigen transformativen Wandel der Gesellschaft einen Schritt weiterzukommen. Mittlerweile sind alle Tagungsunterlagen inklusive Tagungsbericht und Aufzeichnungen der Referate und Podiumsdiskussion online.


News from TA-SWISS



Technology assessment is concerned with the impact of new technologies on society and the environment. One of its tasks is monitoring, i.e. analysing current technological developments at an early stage. Below you can find out which technological developments TA-SWISS is currently working on.


Symposium declaration online

Université de l'Ontario français


On May 11-12, 2023, the ACFAS international symposium "Transdisciplinarity and the evolution of knowledge: foundations and practices" was held in Montreal. The symposium concluded with the adoption of the Message de Montréal, a declaration on the role of the transdisciplinarity in the evolution of knowledge, particularly in the current context dominated by the Artificial Intelligence.


This declaration follows in the line of other declarations, charter and messages relating to the transdisciplinarity.


The conferences of this symposium are published as academic articles in the "Cahiers du Centre de recherche sur les innovations et les transformations sociales" of Ottawa's Saint Paul University.


ISOE startet Runde Tische zu Waldkonflikten

Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung


Der Klimawandel macht den Umbau unserer Wälder notwendig. Wie genau dieser Umbau aussehen soll, ist häufig jedoch umstritten. Dabei geht es beispielsweise um die Art der Wiederbewaldung, der Jagd, der Holzernte oder der Waldbrandprävention. Das ISOE startet jetzt Runde Tische zu aktuellen Konflikten um den Wald der Zukunft. Die Ergebnisse sollen helfen, künftig in ähnlichen Fällen schneller zu besseren Lösungen zwischen unterschiedlichen Interessengruppen zu kommen. 


Living labs are learning labs: Creating and mapping conditions for social learning in transdisciplinary research



What is required for social learning in living labs? How can social learning be mapped in living labs?

Living labs are conceived as spaces for social learning across difference in real-world situations through transdisciplinary research with diverse actors. We argue that the following conditions, often intertwined and building on each other, are required to set up living labs as learning spaces:

  • Epistemic
  • Social
  • Symbolic
  • Temproal


Visit the archive site of the Bridge 47 project


Bridge 47 was a project by the EU to achive the SDG-Goal 4.7 and mobilise, network and strengthen civil society worldwide in order to contribute to a local-global transformation through Global Citizenship Education (GCE). Visit the archive site now.


The projects continues with UNESCO's Futures of Education and Transformative Education ideas and projects.

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