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Transdisciplinary Science

The world is increasingly interconnected, complex and uncertain. This has significant implications for the way we produce and use knowledge. For more than ten years the ISC has been promoting transdisciplinary science as a means of grasping and dealing with the complex, uncertain and contested nature of the major, interacting challenges facing humanity.

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What is transdisciplinary science?

For the ISC, transdisciplinary science means the co-design of research and the co-production of knowledge together with communities and societal actors in a way that integrates diverse scientific and societal perspectives on given issues.

Transdisciplinary science not only helps to generate actionable, context-specific and more nuanced knowledge and solutions to specific challenges, it is also a form of science that is premised on building closer relationships between science, policy and practice.

Our impact

The International Science Council has been promoting transdisciplinary science most notably through:

  1. the creation of Future Earth, a global research network that promotes transdisciplinary research for a more sustainable planet
  2. the development and implementation of two pioneering international transdisciplinary research funding programmes: Transformations to Sustainability (T2S, 2014–2022) and Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030, 2016-2021)
  3. high-level discussions with national science funders, foundations and development agencies, and international scientific institutions on creating an enabling environment for transdisciplinary research (e.g. the Global Forum of Funders, the Global Research Council).

Through these efforts, the ISC has generated extensive context-specific and actionable knowledge and data on a wide range of socio-ecological challenges in various parts of the world, as well as on conditions, opportunities and challenges for transdisciplinary research, and on how to build the institutional and scientific capacities required to successfully undertake this type of research.

Some of the key comparative learning from these efforts is captured in:

Latest news View all

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04 July 2024 - 8 min read

Science in action to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 

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11 April 2024 - 8 min read

Lighthouse funding programmes for sustainability research and innovation 

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13 December 2023 - 4 min read

Plans to establish a Pacific academy of sciences forge ahead

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Our work View all

Publications View all

publications
16 November 2023

Final Evaluation Report: LIRA 2030 Africa

Learn more Learn more about Final Evaluation Report: LIRA 2030 Africa
publications
17 July 2023

Flipping the Science Model: A Roadmap to Science Missions for Sustainability

Learn more Learn more about Flipping the Science Model: A Roadmap to Science Missions for Sustainability
publications
11 July 2023

A Model for Implementing Mission Science for Sustainability: proposed by the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability

Learn more Learn more about A Model for Implementing Mission Science for Sustainability: proposed by the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability
publications
25 April 2023

Looking at the future of transdisciplinary research

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publications
03 April 2023

LIRA 2030 Africa: Key achievements and learnings

Learn more Learn more about LIRA 2030 Africa: Key achievements and learnings
publications
03 April 2023

LIRA 2030 Africa: Learning from Practising Transdisciplinary Research for Sustainable Development in African Cities

Learn more Learn more about LIRA 2030 Africa: Learning from Practising Transdisciplinary Research for Sustainable Development in African Cities
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