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.

Goals and principles

What are the goals and principles of transdisciplinary reserach?

There is a plurality of definitions of transdisciplinary research (TDR), as each is dependent on the context, field and purpose of research. This is why we consider it especially important that researchers make it explicit to which goals and principles of TDR they refer to. Generally, the process of TDR brings together scientists across disciplines and  stakeholders across sectors to  jointly analyse the problems, discuss desirable futures, and explore strategies and actions towards these more desirable futures. 

In the context of societal challenges, TDR aims at transgressing boundaries between scientific disciplines as well as between science and practice. The objective is to develop new knowledge that can help to solve, mitigate, or prevent societal challenges. This means, that not only knowledge to understand the problem is produced but the the problem itself is addressed.  

In a nutshell, TDR links societal problem solving with scientific knowledge production in a process of co-producting knowledge. 

Principles of transdisciplinary reserach

Based on several authors, we propose seven principles for guidance of TDR:


  1. Orientation to societal challenges
  2. Grasping the complexity of problems
  3. Develop knowledge and practices that promote what is perceived as common good
  4. Integrating different perspectives
  5. Producing systems, target, and transformation knowledge
  6. Science as part of a social learning process
  7. Linking abstract and case-specific knowledge
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