Creating a space for exchange, reflection, new ideas, and community building for transdisciplinary research tdAcademy is a platform that seeks to assess the current state of transdisciplinary research and provide capacity-building opportunities for researchers in the field. At the same time, it aims to strengthen its global research community. These are the main ideas of the new tdAcademy project, launched in June 2020 by the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE), the Leuphana University Lüneburg, the Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft from the TU Berlin, and the Oeko-Institut. After its initiation, tdAcademy will soon start its guests and fellowship program.
Further developing transdisciplinary research
The need for transdisciplinary research is growing. At the same time, structures and places for the further development and dissemination of transdisciplinary research methods, concepts and competencies are lacking for both research and teaching. The tdAcademy project now aims to fill this gap by providing a space for the compilation and further development of transdisciplinary research methodologies and practices in close collaboration with its global community.
tdAcademy is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding program “Social-Ecological Research”. The project tdAcademy kicked off in June 2020 with a first meeting at Leuphana University in Lüneburg with all founding partners, where working structures for the project and its aims were set. Close collaboration between all founding partners and additional transdisciplinary research institutes were determined to be key for the success of the platform.
tdAcademy pursues three objectives. First, consolidating state of the art insights concerning four issues relevant for transdisciplinary research: societal impact, scientific impact, context dependencies, and new formats. To achieve this, tdAcademy will conduct reviews and interviews, analyze transdisciplinary research projects, and organize workshops. Afterwards, main findings will be discussed with leading experts in the field to address research gaps and identify opportunities. Second, based on new insights, capacity-building opportunities such as summer schools or workshops will be developed to support transdisciplinary researchers in particular early-career researchers. Third, tdAcademy understands itself as an open space for its global transdisciplinary research community for exchange, reflection, collaboration, and new ideas. This open space will be provided on the new project website that will be launched early next year (https://td-academy.de).
Strengthening the global transdisciplinary research community
The tdAcademy is not an exclusive project of the founding partners. Instead, the founding partners highlight that an important project goal is to collaborate closely with other academic institutions that conduct, promote, and shape transdisciplinary research. Such academic institutions will be invited to be partners of the tdAcademy and shall form a supporting circle that will also be involved in the project governance. Thus, tdAcademy welcomes universities, institutes, organizations, and individuals who are working with the transdisciplinary research practice to share their experiences and expertise, provide capacity-building opportunities, and participate in dialogues to advance the field.
In addition, early-career researchers play a crucial role for the tdAcademy because they are at the leading edge of developing, discussing, and conducting transdisciplinary research, as well as experiencing its challenges. In providing an overview on newest research insights and of existing capacity-building opportunities from leading academic institutions, tdAcademy tries to support early-career researchers in their studies and further development of concepts, theories, and new formats.
Next: International guest and fellowship program
The complementary guest and fellowship program funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung is another important element of the platform. In this program, researchers and particularly early-career researchers from the global south and global north have the opportunity to widen their network, exchange their research experiences, discuss the latest developments of transdisciplinary research, and present their research to the global community. Guests and fellows can either individually or collaboratively work on specific topics of transdisciplinary research, write publications or position papers, and develop innovative approaches and ideas.
The first opportunities for individual research stays will already be announced at the end of 2020 and the first fellowship groups shall start in spring/summer 2021.
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