Transdisciplinary research is a joint learning process of society and science.
Transdisciplinary research is a joint learning process of society and science. Shutterstock/Rawpixel

Headline: Transdisciplinary Theory, Evaluation, and Culture

Transdisciplinary approaches have become increasingly common in the field of sustainability research in recent years. These approaches are rooted in the understanding that diverse forms of knowledge and practice will be needed to tackle complex sustainability challenges such as climate change. At the same time, there is considerable debate around the actual practice of transdisciplinary collaboration. While there is no sure formula for success, researchers could benefit from guidance on the design and implementation of transdisciplinary activities.

The research group "Transdisciplinary Theory, Evaluation and Culture" acts as a knowledge hub for transdisciplinary approaches at the IASS. It supports researchers as they apply the theoretical concepts of transdisciplinary research in the practice of project planning, implementation and evaluation. The research group focusses on three dimensions of transdisciplinary research.

The research dimension works on theory building, the development of case studies, and a typology of transdisciplinary approaches. The evaluation dimension examines methods for measuring the impact of transdisciplinary approaches. This includes evaluating processes and their impact on transformations towards sustainability. The cultural dimension explores how the organization of institutions and learning (processes) can support transdisciplinary processes and projects.

The group's current research also explores the role that evaluation can play in supporting and facilitating change, and examines researchers' understandings of transdisciplinarity and how these are applied in practice.