File Transdisciplinary research

In this file, researchers and lecturers as well as young academics can find information on methodological approaches and the ongoing discourse in the transdisciplinary community. Research funding institutions and representatives of civil society will also find information on the forms and processes of research partnerships. The contents are the responsibility of the Network for Transdisciplinary Research of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

What is Transdisciplinary Research?

Vielfalt an Definitionen - Teaser

Il existe actuellement un grand nombre de définitions reconnues de l'interdisciplinarité et de la transdisciplinarité. Cette variété de définitions rend le sujet ambigu et difficile à comprendre. En outre, les frontières entre l'interdisciplinarité et la transdisciplinarité sont souvent floues, par exemple lorsque la recherche transdisciplinaire se caractérise par une plus forte intégration des stocks de connaissances que la recherche interdisciplinaire. Pour en savoir plus

Why Transdisciplinary Research?

TD people
Immagine: Katsia Paulavets, International Science Council

In today's world, we face complex challenges. Science is increasingly requested to find approaches to help to overcome them. But what kind of knowledge and research can help to address such complex societal challenges? Transdisciplinary research is increasingly seen as a promising approach to achieve this goal, as it integrates different perspectives, including different academic disciplines and non-academic knowledge. It brings together scientists, decision-makers, and affected people to analyse the problems, develop what they envision as desirable futures, and work on strategies and actions supporting the necessary changes. More

What does TD Research Create?

three types of knowledge
Immagine: Flurina Schneider und New Media Center Basel

In order to help to overcome societal challenges transdisciplinary research does not only create knowledge to understand a problem. It also generates knowledge that helps to overcome the problem. Therefore, it is important to produce three different kinds of knowledge: ‘Systems knowledge’ refers to analytical and descriptive knowledge about the actual state of the system. With ‘target knowledge’ we describe knowledge about desired future developments of the system. Finally, ‘transformation knowledge’ refers the knowledge about how we can move from the actual state to the more desirable state. More


Immagine: Pixabay

In recent years, the number of published articles with a reference to inter- and transdisciplinarity in English-language journals has increased significantly. It has therefore become difficult to maintain an overview. Publication radar since 1970

The td-net of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences continuously draws attention to new publications in its newsletter td-Info. These publications can be looked up on the website for five years. Publications on transdisciplinary research 2015-2020

Reading recommendations from the community.
Annual "Tour d'Horizon of Literature" since 2005

Introductory literature
Recommended reading in inter- and transdisciplinarity: Introductory texts (td-net Delphi study 2013)


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Convention de prestations
Affrontare le sfide sociali con un approccio interdisciplinare

Le Accademie svizzere delle scienze e la Segreteria di stato per la formazione, l’innovazione e la ricerca hanno sottoscritto la convenzione sulle prestazioni 2021–24 per un importo di 196,6 milioni

Immagine: Akademien der Wissenschaften Schweiz
Thèmes prioritaires de recherche pour un développement durable
Soutien ciblé au développement durable : livre blanc pour guider la recherche

Dans le « Livre blanc sur la recherche en développement durable » des Académies suisses des sciences, des scientifiques présentent les recherches les mieux à même de soutenir le développement

Immagine: Hansjakob Fehr

Stay informed

Transdisciplinarity (TD) asks for new approaches to research and teaching. Td-net supports entities interested in establishing TD in their institutions and/or projects with capacity building, coaching and networking.

A growing community of practice is involved, among other things with contributions in:

The ITD Alliance will provide a vehicle to increase visibility and coalesce work currently dispersed across continents. In this way, the Alliance will serve to catalyze greater collaboration focused on societal problem solving and understanding of complex issues. As a founding member, the td-net is in close contact with the ITD Alliance.