Headline: Transdisciplinary knowledge integration – PART I: Theoretical foundations and an organizational structure

Transdisciplinary processes deal with transdisciplinary problems that are (i) complex, (ii) societally relevant, (iii) ill-defined, and (iv) real-world problems which often show a high degree of ambiguity resulting in contested perceptions and evaluations among and between scientists and practitioners. Therefore, they are susceptible to multiple trade-offs. Transdisciplinary processes construct socially robust orientations (SoROs) particularly for sustainable transitioning. The integration of science and practice knowledge on equal footing (1) is considered the core of transdisciplinary processes. Yet other forms of knowledge integration contribute essentially to construct SoROs. Individuals may (2) use different modes of thought; (3) refer to various cultures with diverse value and belief systems; and (4) problems are perceived and prioritized based on roles and interests. Coping with transdisciplinary problems, (5) purposeful differentiation and integration and (6) an integration of evolutionary evolving codes of representing knowledge are necessary. Finally, (7) what systems to integrate requires consensus-building among participating scientists and practitioners. This paper is Part I of a two-part publication. It provides a conceptualization of the different types of knowledge integration. Part II analyzes tasks, challenges, and barriers related to different types of knowledge integration in five transdisciplinary processes which developed SoROs for sensitive subsystems of Germany affected by the irresponsible use of digital data.

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Scholz, R., Zscheischler, J., Köckler, H., Czichos, R., Hofmann, K.-M., & Sindermann, C. (2024). Transdisciplinary knowledge integration – PART I: Theoretical foundations and an organizational structure. Technological forecasting and social change: an international journal, 202: 123281. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2024.123281.