Working paper

Looking at the future of transdisciplinary research

This paper looks at the evolutions of science that have led to the emergence of transdisciplinarity, what is meant by transdisciplinarity and what elements need to be considered for its successful application for the future of transdisciplinary research.

An ISC Discussion Paper

Science systems are ever-changing, even more rapidly in today’s world. There is an increased need to bring scientists from the natural sciences and social sciences closer to non-academic actors and stakeholders who bring their knowledge to the complex task at hand. The inclusion and integration of these different knowledge system constitutes a transdisciplinary research approach.

“Transdisciplinarity is an approach that enables science and other knowledge systems to interact in a constructive way. Its strength is, firstly, its inclusion of stakeholders from the beginning to help define the question and, secondly, the avoidance of hubris as to which knowledge systems count.”

This discussion paper was commissioned by the ISC to provoke discussion and reflection. As such, it should be seen as the opinions of the authors.

  • What is science?
  • What is the relationship between science and action?
  • What are inter- and transdisciplinarity?
  • How do science and transdisciplinarity relate to other knowledge systems?
  • How can we improve the science–society and science-for-policy interfaces?

Be part of the conversation on transdisciplinarity by visiting the Centre for Science Futures


Image by Andranik Hakobyan from Getty Images (via Canva Pro)

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