for sustainable development


Call for Papers in the research project TransImpact: Social Impact of Transdisciplinary Research Processes

Transdisciplinary research contributes to solving complex social problems. But how can the potential of this research approach, which also opens up beyond disciplinary boundaries to “experiential and everyday knowledge”, be optimally developed? The TransImpact research project, led by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research, is investigating concrete possibilities for creating an effective transdisciplinary research process. In the course of this project, a special issue of the journal “Environmental Science and Policy” was conceived. Now the call for papers on “Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research – Linking research processes and outputs to societal effects” is open.

Co-editors of the special issue are Alexandra Lux and Matthias Bergmann (both ISOE) as well as Martina Schäfer (ZTG – Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft of the Technical University of Berlin). The special issue focuses on core questions that are central to the TransImpact research project: What effects can transdisciplinary sustainability research have on society and science, and in which categories can the various types and scales of effects be described? How can unintended impacts – and above all negative ones – be recorded and evaluated?

Equally relevant are questions about methods: How does the choice of methods and procedures specific to transdisciplinarity influence the effects of transdisciplinary research processes and ultimately the quality of their results, for example when it comes to a common problem formulation, for participation, knowledge integration or transferability? Which methodological elements can be included in transdisciplinary research processes in order to strengthen their potential for social effects?

Scientific contributions in English dealing with these questions can now be sent to Alexandra Lux (lux(at) and Martina Schäfer (Schaefer(at) as abstracts with a maximum length of 1000 words. Closing date is 15 January 2019. For further information about the scope of the Special Issue as well as important deadlines please go to: 

Background: Transdisciplinary research creates new knowledge

The transdisciplinary mode of research is increasingly used to deal with complex social problems. It is considered suitable because it also opens up to non-scientific knowledge and thus satisfies the need for new knowledge. Examples of this are such complex challenges as for instance dealing with environmental pollution. At first glance, it is the result of social action and ecological effects. A closer look, however, reveals complex processes in which numerous actors are involved.

Transdisciplinary research reacts to this complexity. Its methods are suitable for relating social and scientific findings to each other as well as for taking into account valuable non-scientific knowledge. The TransImpact research project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), focuses on method and quality assurance for this increasingly popular mode of research. More about the project



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