In recent decades, the scientific community has increasingly recognized the challenge of utilizing scientific knowledge to address critical sustainability issues, including climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. To tackle these issues, sustainability science research has focused on understanding complex human-natural systems and has made significant contributions to our understanding of system dynamics.
It has also brought much-needed attention to the need for more problem-oriented research and has motivated the exploration of knowledge systems for sustainability. As a result, numerous research and education programs for sustainability science have emerged globally. The success of these programs, however, requires critical reflection from scholars, practitioners, and decision-makers on how to best position sustainability research to enhance decision-making capacity and navigate socio-technical systems towards more sustainable trajectories.
Ultimately, sustainability is about envisioning and pursuing social and natural well-being at various community scales (Miller et al 2014). Through closer collaborations with society scientists can help develop useful knowledge that informs such visions and pathways to their achievement. For this to happen, however, sustainability scientists must serve as knowledge generators on the one hand, and brokers and change agents on the other.
This three-day course taught by Tuyeni Heita Mwampamba, Associate Research Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico, explored methods and approaches for doing transdisciplinary research, i.e., developing research questions with stakeholders and co-producing knowledge that is relevant and salient for decision-making at multiple scales.
The course covered techniques for navigating the transdisciplinary space, specifically methods for joint exploration and learning to identify relevant research questions, group work facilitation techniques, and issues of leadership in co-creation processes were explored.
Download the program here (PDF, 395 KB)