Strategies for strengthening transdisciplinary sustainability science in the Global South

Organizer: Sarah Moore
Format: Online


Transdisciplinary (TD) research – that is, research involving academic and non-academic partners – is increasingly seen to be important for developing solutions to complex socio-environmental challenges. More and more funders are interested in transdisciplinary research and encouraging it through research programming. At the same time, academic researchers who wish to engage in transdisciplinary research face structural and systemic obstacles that can hamper the efficiency, effectiveness and appreciation of their work and which may even harm their careers. The challenges become even more acute in international research contexts, and for researchers in the Global South.

Moreover, of the increasing number of research centres devoted to sustainability worldwide, only a few have been established in low- and middle-income countries; there is therefore a pressing need to build local and national infrastructures and capacities dedicated to transdisciplinary sustainability science in the Global South. Such centres of expertise should both tackle local and regional R&D questions and become innovative spaces for transdisciplinary research.

This session will invite presentation and discussion of the benefits and challenges, academic and non-academic, of various strategies for building capacity for transdisciplinary sustainability research, from short-term research programmes such as Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030) and Transformations to Sustainability (T2S, a joint programme of the Belmont Forum and NORFACE), to the establishment of infrastructures and capacities in the Global South. Questions addressed will include challenges facing transdisciplinary sustainability research in the Global South, the relative merits of short- versus longer-term initiatives, optimal transdisciplinary research programme design and implementation, and the situation and needs of early career sustainability researchers in the Global South.

Theme: Integrated Action for the SDGs, Sustainable Solutions from the Global South