The aim of transdisciplinary research is to achieve societal change. But what effect does this kind of research actually have on academia? The spectrum of possible effects that transdisciplinary research may generate within academia goes far beyond publications and citations. We will explore this spectrum under topic line 2.

Scientific Effects of Transdisciplinary Research

The aim of transdisciplinary research is to provide new academic insights. The spectrum of possible effects that transdisciplinary research may generate within academia goes far beyond publications and citations. Examples of this are new perspectives on the object of research, experiences with new research methods, or networking with people from different disciplines and spheres of activity. Thus far, however, we have very little knowledge about the kinds of scientific effects generated by transdisciplinary research and how these effects arise. We hope that topic line 2 of the tdAcademy will contribute to closing this research gap.

Experiences of Experts

We aim to find answers to the question of what kinds of effects transdisciplinary research generates within academia, and how these arise. To this end, we interview academics who are established within their discipline and also have experience in transdisciplinary research. In so doing, we concentrate on three exemplary fields: environmental sociology, sustainable chemistry and participatory health research. This is also how we gain insight into the differences and commonalities between and within different specialisations with regard to the question at hand. In total, we conduct 22 qualitative interviews with professors from these three specialisations and evaluate these using the method of qualitative content analysis.

Promoting and Progressing Dialogue

Once all the interviews have been conducted and evaluated, we invite a few of the respondents to exchange ideas within a dialogue forum. In the forum we present the interim results of our study and discuss them together. This is how we hope to promote dialogue about transdisciplinary research within and between the three specialisms. Later on, we present the results of topic line 2 in a larger group as part of a reflection workshop, continuing the dialogue on the questions at hand.

New Insights from the Community

At various times, we also invite academics from scientific research to join our Guest and Fellowship Programme. They focus on issues linked to the question of how academia is changed by a transdisciplinary approach. Here, their research has a certain degree of discreteness but is connected with the topic. This promotes dialogue, giving rise to further research findings that we make available to the community of transdisciplinary researchers. The first guest within this topic line is Peter Wehling.


Dialogue forum on the scientific effects of transdisciplinary research

On 25 June 2021, we held a dialogue forum where we presented our interim results for topic line 2.

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