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Partnering for change: Link research to societal challenges

Partnering for change: Link research to societal challenges

Mis à jour en janvier 2024

In today’s world, we face many complex societal challenges. Projects addressing these challenges often involve actors and stakeholders from different fields and disciplines bringing together their own perspectives or knowledge on a topic. Accordingly, collaborative transdisciplinary approaches are crucial for the success of a project.

In this course, you’ll explore how to meet the challenges of conducting effective transdisciplinary research. You’ll gain insights into a variety of case studies from different fields as you learn from the experiences of peers and experts. You’ll investigate the principles, processes, and uses of transdisciplinarity.

We will explore questions such as:

  • How can we address societal challenges with research?
  • What complex problems can we think of that may only be solved if several actors find a solution together?
  • How can we address complex issues?

The learning outcomes for this course include:

  • Developing your research skills as you investigate how to co-produce knowledge for society and academia
  • Reflecting transdisciplinarity – its principles, its research processes, and the context in which it is promising
  • Applying transdisciplinary approaches to societally relevant questions
  • Identifying guiding questions, phases, and steps of transdisciplinary projects
  • Applying the principles and steps of transdisciplinary research to examples in order to reflect the implication for own projects
  • Reflecting on the role of scientists and stakeholders in society and considering the ethical implications of co-production processes

This course is for students and researchers from all backgrounds as well as stakeholders involved in searching solutions for complex societal challenges.


How to work your way through this course

Throughout the course, we invite you to consider questions or review the content. We recommend that you write down the results of these reviews and the answers to the questions from the beginning. That way you can keep track of how your knowledge changes. And should you be able to participate in one of the authors’ face-to-face courses, you can refer back to your answers and thoughts and discuss them with your peers.

td-net recommends that lecturers and heads of institutions integrate the course content into their own curricula. Students are generally very happy when inspiring online materials are provided as an addition to traditional course materials. Reflection steps may be discussed during the seminar.

We strongly recommend note-taking during your learning journey. Firstly, note-taking can aid comprehension, especially when you try to make sense of the information, paraphrase it and connect it to what you already know. Secondly, note-taking is a way to preserve new information for later study. You can refer back to your notes to remind yourself about the subject matter.


How to contact us

The Network for Transdisciplinary Research td-net of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences coordinates the team of authors of the course. General comments and suggestions can be sent to td-net@scnat.ch. Please write “tdMOOC” in your subject line. In some steps, you will be able to exchange comments with other learners on a td-net whiteboard. The td-net also organises consultation hours on selected topics.


“Weeks”, “Chapters” and invitation to comment

Please note that this course was originally published by the University of Basel on FutureLearn, in collaboration with the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. FutureLearn is a global platform offering online courses that encourage social learning, including discussions between learners. On FutureLearn, we added comment sections to certain steps and measured course durations in weeks rather than in chapters.

Here on Tales, we measure courses in chapters. These chapters are equivalent to the “weeks” on FutureLearn. So when you watch a video here and hear an educator talking about “weeks”, you’ll know that this was because the videos were geared towards FutureLearn’s set-up.

Another difference to FutureLearn is the comment option. The educators in the videos will sometimes invite you to discuss something in the comments section. If you don’t see a comment option here on Tales, then the course is not open to comments at this moment in time. But for certain periods of time announced in advance, this course will be open to comments.

The good news is that either way, you can freely access the course and all of its contents at any time. If the comment section is not open, why not write down your comments as you go through the course? That way you can keep track of how your knowledge changes. And should you be able to participate in one of the authors’ face-to-face courses, you can then refer back to your comments and discuss them with your peers.

Droits d'auteur

Universität Basel

Autor:innen

Tobias Buser (co-developer and educator)
Formerly at td-net, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences; currently at Global Alliance for Inter- and Transdisciplinarity (ITD Alliance)

Gueladio Cissé (guest)
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel

Lisa Crump (co-developer)
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel

Beatrice Durrer Eggerschwiler (co-developer)
Institute for Sociocultural Development, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Art

Frédéric Darbellay (contributor)
Centre for Children’s Rights Studies, University of Geneva

Mohammed Ibrahim (guest)
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Jigjiga University (Ethiopia)

Fabian Käser (guest educator)
Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE), Swiss Academy of Sciences

Christine Künzli (co-developer)
School of Education, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland

Jon-Andri Lys (guest)
Formerly at the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE), Swiss Academy of Sciences

Caroline Näther (co-developer and educator)
Institute for Sociocultural Development, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Art

Theres Paulsen (co-developer and educator)
Network for Transdisciplinary Research td-net, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Kristina Pelikan (guest and educator)
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel

Christian Pohl (co-developer and educator)
USYS TdLab, ETH Zurich

Stephan Rist (co-developer and educator)
Formerly at the Centre for Development and Environment and Institute of Geography, University of Bern

Flurina Schneider (co-developer and educator)
Formerly at the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern; currently at Institute for Social-Ecological Research and Goethe University Frankfurt

Eveline Steinger (co-developer)
Formerly at the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries KFPE and University of Teacher Education Zug; currently at University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

Sibylle Studer (guest educator)
Network for Transdisciplinary Research td-net, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Ulrike Sturm (co-developer)
Institute for Sociocultural Development, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Susan Thieme (co-developer and educator)
Institute of Geography, University of Bern

Didier Wernli (co-developer and educator)
Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva

Jakob Zinsstag (initiator, co-developer and lead-educator)
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel; Network for Transdisciplinary Research td-net, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences