Headline: Transdisciplinary theory, evaluation, and culture


The tension that exists between the pursuit of transdisciplinarity as a means to transform society and/or the science systems deserves further investigation. Current approaches to transdisciplinarity have very different implications for how projects are designed, implemented, and evaluated. These differences are indicative of an imbalance of power in transdisciplinary projects: Are researchers merely inviting practitioners from the field to participate in "their" project? Or are projects genuinely implemented in cooperation with practitioners and stakeholders? And how can different understandings of fundamental concepts such as evidence, data and science be reconciled?

IASS researchers seek answers to these questions through theory work as well as their involvement in empirical research. This includes, for example, examining how researchers in different contexts interpret trandisciplinarity and put it into practice. A second area this work is the evaluation of transdisciplinary processes. Building on previous work, researchers with this project are studying how the impact of transdisciplinary projects can be assessed and the relationship between transdisciplinary processes and impacts.

The team is also investigating how learning approaches can be integrated into the evaluation of transdisciplinary work. Research questions addressed by this project include: How can the results of different transdisciplinary approaches be evaluated? How can evaluation be deployed as a strategic tool to manage projects in complex systems with constantly changing frameworks and landscapes?

Further research on the culture of transdisciplinarity also considers how organizations and project teams can be designed to support transdisciplinary work.

The research group cooperates with others at the IASS, including "Transformative Spaces and Mindsets" and "Methods of Transformative Policy Advice", and collaborates with other institutions, including Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and the University of Toronto.