Research on sustainable futures must of necessity cross traditional academic disciplines. One of our strengths is our ability to work across a number of different disciplines within a given project. Transdisciplinary research not only draws on multiple disciplines to provide the knowledge base to address problems of sustainability - it actively involves researchers from multiple disciplines in a shared process of defining and resolving these problems.
We have a particular focus on transdisciplinary research in our postgraduate program. The Director of ISF's postgraduate program, Professor Cynthia Mitchell won a prestigious Associate Fellowship from the Carrick Institute (now called the Australian Learning and Teaching Council) to investigate the issues associated with assessing the quality of transdisciplinary research. The outcomes of her research include the following two papers and two workshop resources:
- Quality in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary postgraduate research and its supervision: ideas for good practice. Download/view PDF
- Quality criteria for inter- and trans-disciplinary doctoral research outcomes. Download/view PDF
- Zen and the art of transdisciplinary postgraduate research: workshop resources. Download/view PDF
- Quality in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary postgraduate research and its supervision: workshop slides. Download/view powerpoint slides.
The Institute is committed to transdisciplinary research. For an individual researcher, this might mean mastering and integrating multiple fields of knowledge to generate a new synthesis. We use frameworks from several authors to aid integration of knowledge from multiple disciplines, including Ken Wilber, Habermas and Max-Neef. We are interested in research that develops, integrates or applies frameworks for transdisciplinary research and knowledge integration.
Big picture questions
- What are the implications of integral theory for sustainability?
- What does transdisciplinary research mean in practice, i.e. how can we actually do it?
For further information about this topic, contact Professor Cynthia Mitchell.