The demand for transdisciplinary research has risen sharply in recent years, and the need for exchange and networking between scientists and practitioners working with participatory research formats is growing. In sustainability research in particular, the transdisciplinary approach is considered successful in meeting increasingly complex challenges and shaping transformations towards sustainable developments. “ISOE has contributed to quality assurance and the development of methods for transdisciplinary research with its TransImpact and tdAcademy projects, among others, which are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and has co-initiated and supported the founding of the professional society,” says Flurina Schneider, Scientific Director of ISOE and member of the founding board. “The foundation of the professional society is a milestone for the research community. It will help to ensure quality criteria, to develop the potential of transdisciplinary research even further and to set appropriate research policy impulses.”
At the festive founding event at TU Berlin, Mario Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), explained: “In future, transdisciplinary and participatory research will have to play a significant role within the science and innovation system in order to find solutions to major societal challenges. Today represented a milestone on the way to achieving this.” Tobias Dünow, State Secretary for Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, and Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), also spoke. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Helga Nowotny, a pioneer of transdisciplinary research, and Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Lord Mayor of the City of Wuppertal and co-founder of transformative research, gave inspiring keynote speeches.
Support and networking at the interface of science and society
During the subsequent panel discussion the guests discussed the following questions that are currently of concern to transdisciplinary and participatory researchers: How can research help to promote acceptance for sustainable development in society and support socio-ecological transformations? How can the need for further education and exchange between participants at the interface of science and society be met? ISOE researcher Lena Theiler emphasized that particularly young scientists who are still in the process of establishing themselves in the research field as doctoral candidates, need support and networking, which is what the professional society is suited for.
The panelists (from left to right in the photo above) included Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Lord Mayor of the City of Wuppertal; Oda Keppler, Head of the Sub-Department for Sustainability and Future Provision at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research; Dr. Steffi Ober, Initiator of the Platform Forschungswende and NABU Bundesverband; Professor Dr. Daniel Lang, Co-Speaker of tdAcademy, Leuphana University and Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis(ITAS) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Theres Paulsen, Head of td-net | Network for Transdisciplinary Research, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Bern; Lena Theiler, team member in the project tdAcademy and researcher at ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research; Professor Dr. Aletta Bonn, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).
The first general meeting of the Society for Transdisciplinary and Participatory Research (GTPF) will take place on November 22, 2023 at TU Chemnitz as part of the conference “„Partizipation in der Wissenschaft“. A call for participation in the program is online at http://www.partizipation-wissenschaft.de, and registration will be open from July.
For information on the Society for Transdisciplinary and Participatory Research please visit https://td-academy.org/tdacademy/fachgesellschaft/.
Key issues paper (in German) on the foundation of the Society for Transdisciplinary and Participatory Research:
Vernetzen, fördern, konsolidieren, stärken – zur Gründung der Gesellschaft für transdisziplinäre und partizipative Forschung. Matthias Bergmann, Daniel J. Lang, Melanie Mbah, Martina Schäfer in GAIA – Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Issue 1/2023, p. 207ff.