Inclusiveness, Equity, Consistency, and Flexibility as Guiding Criteria for Enabling Transdisciplinary Collaboration: Lessons From a European Project on Nature-Based Solutions and Urban Innovation

Claudia Basta, Eva Kunseler, Christine Wamsler, Alexander van der Jagt, Francesc Baró, Intza Balenciaga, Matthew Bach, Björn Wickenberg

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Samenvatting

The structural research programmes of the European Union dedicated to advance the sustainability sciences are increasingly permeated by the notion of transdisciplinarity (TD). A growing body of literature residing at the intersection of research methodology and sustainability studies can guide researchers to adopt appropriate research approaches in their projects. However, how to implement the transdisciplinary approach in multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder projects that develop in different countries for several years is still relatively undocumented. This study seeks to fill this gap by sharing the experience of a group of researchers and stakeholders involved in the Horizon 2020 research and innovation project Nature-Based Urban Innovation (NATURVATION). The article discusses the monitoring and evaluation strategy that employed four criteria of transdisciplinary research quality as “reflexive devices” to enable a systematic reporting on the project's most important collaborative activities. By examining how the four criteria captured transdisciplinary quality, new insights were produced for improving this monitoring and evaluation strategy for future transdisciplinary research, allowing a number of concrete recommendations to be formulated.
Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer630075
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftFrontiers in Climate
Volume3
DOI's
StatusPublished - 30 aug 2021

Bibliografische nota

Funding Information:
The NATURVATION project object of the article was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 730243.

Funding Information:
Funding. The NATURVATION project object of the article was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 730243.

Funding Information:
1Initiated in the second half of the 20th century, such debate rooted in the academic rivalry between the theoretical and the applied sciences and in the “gulf of mutual incomprehension” between the two respective academic cultures (Snow, 1959). The following epistemological debate, progressed also under the influence of the French structuralist movement, developed up to envision “a superior order of knowledge” that integrates different disciplinary outlooks in the process of scientific inquiry. Such ‘superior order’ is what the French linguist and epistemologist Jean Piaget called transdisciplinary knowledge (Nicolescu, 2014). 2For the PBL researchers who author this study, besides a question of research quality, this operational question was also a matter of research ethics. Such matter was touched upon in the paper “Transdisciplinarity in Urban Studies: From ‘preaching it’ to doing it” presented at the yearly congress of the European Association of Schools of Planning in the summer of 2017 (Basta, 2017) and in a follow-up study (Basta, 2021, in progress). The ethical question regards the accountability of researchers involved in transdisciplinary projects funded by the EU structural research programs for the consistency between the methodological approach described in the respective project plans, and its concrete implementation. The relative concern originates from the observation that the involvement of multiple stakeholders in a project’s consortium, and the labeling of such involvement as “participatory” and “collaborative” research, does not guarantee that their knowledge will be integrated in the project’s deliverables. Research projects funded with EU structural funds that apply participatory and collaborative approaches to the production of knowledge should therefore include transparent monitoring and evaluation mechanism able to document the integration of the knowledges of different actors in the project’s deliverables. However, as documented in the study that followed-up on the cited congress paper, in the H2020 program this has rarely been the case. The study includes the review of more than 40 Final Reports of H2020 projects in the social and in the environmental sciences that adopted the transdisciplinary approach. Of them, none included robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms dedicate to document the integration of different knowledges in the project’s deliverables. In the view of the author, this striking finding suggests the desirability

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Basta, Kunseler, Wamsler, van der Jagt, Baró, Balenciaga, Bach and Wickenberg.

Copyright:
Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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