Leuphana becomes site of a new academy for transdisciplinary research

2020-11-30 The challenges of the corona pandemic and the debates on appropriate measures for climate protection have made it clear that the expertise of science is currently in greater demand than ever before and that many of the current challenges can no longer be met by one discipline and science alone.


  • Prof. Dr. Daniel J. Lang
  • David Lam


Dr. Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
ISOE – Institut für sozial- ökologische Forschung
Hamburger Allee 45
60486 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-30

With the founding of the tdAcademy platform for transdisciplinary research and studies, the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (Frankfurt/M.), the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the Center for Technology and Society Berlin and the Öko-Institut now want to strengthen research into the solution of social problems and crises. The institute's office is located at Leuphana.

In joint learning processes between science and society, transdisciplinary research links the search for solutions to social problems with advances in scientific knowledge. Although this research principle has been successfully applied for several decades, especially in sustainability research, but also in other areas such as public health research, there are still only a few structures or specialized organizations that could ensure the consolidation of scientific standards of transdisciplinary research.

With the foundation of the Academy, the participating institutions are pursuing three goals: Improvement and consolidation of the state of knowledge about the social and scientific effectiveness of research, increased competence building for users* and an expansion and stabilization of the knowledge community engaged in transdisciplinary research. Prof. Dr. Daniel Lang from Leuphana has already observed a growing need for corresponding research competence: "Increasingly more calls for transdisciplinary research training groups and new approved excellence proposals allow this conclusion to be drawn.

An important element of the tdAcademy will be the future circle of partners*. This circle of partners will bring together institutions that have been involved for many years in the conceptual and methodological development of transdisciplinary research or - in the case of universities and colleges - are clearly on the way to setting a corresponding focus. In March 2021 Leuphana will host the kick-off event for the partners.

The work at the tdAcademy takes place in different thematic lines and modules. These include: the generation of new knowledge about how transdisciplinary research can be made particularly effective scientifically and socially, and the question of what influence different research contexts have on processes and results. In addition, new formats of transdisciplinary research - such as real laboratories - and their impact on the effectiveness of research will also be evaluated.

The tdAcademy is funded for an initial period of three years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the research area "Social-ecological Research". In addition, the Robert Bosch Stiftung will finance a guest and fellowship program. This program enables young researchers in particular to work closely with the tdAcademy, to visit research institutes that work on a transdisciplinary basis, and to network internationally.