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Transdisciplinary research in focus

Exploring the terminology of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity. That was the theme of the first CASE Scientific Session on March 7, 2018. The workshop was held in Lund by Professor Roderick Lawrence from the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

    See a recording of Roderick Lawrence's lecture:

    Use the Subtitles-button (Undertexter) for subtitles in English or Swedish.

    Roderick Lawrence has a long experience of crossing discipline boarders and is among other things a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Network for Inter- and Transdisciplinary research, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Bern.

    - Already as a student I wanted to push the boarders of disciplinarity. My first degree was in architecture and urban planning and I think I first pushed that limit with environmental psychology and then I moved on and included other disciplines, especially antrophology. And last but not least – health sciences, Roderick Lawrence concluded.

    He points out the need for a broad disciplinary approach, and collaboration with parties outside of academia, to address major real life challanges.

    Rod Lawrence

    - For example, if we are talking about how public health relates to the built environment it is not enough with one discipline to handle the complexity of the multipal factors involved, Roderick Lawrence said.

    After the lecture a workshop was held and the participants were encouraged to write down what they associated with the concepts of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity in regard to their own research.

    Rod Lawrence

    Roderick Lawrence gave the following discipline definitions:

    • Multidisciplinary: Aggregation of disciplinary concepts and methods from outside the participant’s discipline or profession. (Enriching the discipline but still working within the discipline.)
    • Interdisciplinary: Integration of concepts and methods from several disciplines. (Can lead to the development of new disciplines.)
    • Transdisciplinary: Complete synthesis of disciplinary and extra-disciplinary concepts, methods and know-how in collaboration with partners outside of academia.

    Rod Lawrence

    Most participant's identified their research as interdisciplinary. The results were presented on the whiteboard and made the starting point for a discussion about the terminology.

    It did not turn out to be an easy task and unity was not achived. But Roderick Lawrence emphasize that the conceptual discussion about disciplinarity is on going and that CASE Scentific Sessions offers a good platform for this discussion.

      Transdisciplinarity blogg
      Roderick Lawrence also encouraged everyone interested in the subject of transdisciplinarity to follow his blogg and contribute with posts and comments:Transdisciplinary Bridge Builders

      Read more about Roderick Lawrence: https://www.unige.ch/gedt/membres/roderick-lawrence/

      Read more about the workshop in Lund (Only in Swedish): Premiär Scientific Sessions: Fokus på transdisciplinaritet

      Read more about CASE:s Scientific Sessions

      Text and photo: Erik Skogh

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