Transdisciplinary research for sustainability: scoping for project potential

In response to the interconnected character of societal challenges, there is a growing interest in transdisciplinary sustainability research. However, for transdisciplinary research to be able to support the generation of new knowledge in a participatory and reflexive manner, a number of challenges have been identified in each stage of the transdisciplinary research process. In this paper, we respond specifically to the challenge of initiating transdisciplinary research projects, by proposing a process for performing transdisciplinary project scoping. Our group of early‐career researchers share experiences from scoping for transdisciplinary research potential, bridging local stakeholder needs with researchers’ interests across departments and national contexts. We present our methodological approach,which includes tools for stakeholder identification, systems thinking, and gap‐mapping. The approach was applied in the local context of the Navarino Environmental Observatory, Messinia, Greece. The findings identify regional sustainability concerns related to, for example, tourism, agriculture, and environmental management issues. The gap‐map highlights overlaps (e.g., in terms of existing research on the effects of agriculture on water resources), but also how previous research has been conducted on spatial and temporal scales not directly relevant to local actors. We believe that the approach can be used beyond this case study to identify the potential for problem‐oriented inter‐and transdisciplinary research.

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Citation: Bennich, T., G. Maneas, S. Maniatakou, L. Piemontese, C. Schaffer, M. Schellens, and C. Österlin. 2020 International Social Science Journal :1-18

Transdisciplinary research for sustainability: scoping for project potential

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