Forum for young researchers

Special Meeting V

60 Participants at Open Forum for Young Researchers (PhDs etc.) Engaging with Transdisciplinarity during ITd Conference 2017 at Leuphana University

Lüneburg, 12.09.2017: Leuphana University Lüneburg and the Network for Transdisciplinary Research of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences co-organized the International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2017 – Intercultural Endeavors, that took place at the new Central Building at Leuphana University Lüneburg between September 11th and 15th.

At the second conference day PhD students and young researchers, who are doing research in the field of transdisciplinary sustainability sciences at Leuphana University, organized the Forum for Young Researchers Engaging with Transdisciplinarity to create an open learning space for networking, exchange of information and experiences. Around 60 young researchers, practitioners, activists, artists and PhDs, who are already conducting or are interested in conducting any modes of transdisciplinary research, followed the invitation to the forum. The fact that so many people, either participants of the conference or not, came to the forum and interacted dynamically revealed the enthusiasm for transdisciplinarity as well as the need for networking opportunities among the next generation of researchers.

Knowledge Café

In the specific interactive format of a Knowledge Café the group worked together in small and rotating groups to jointly discuss four core questions. The notes that were collectively taken are typed here below for further inspiration and reflection in your td related work:

  • Question 1: Which boundaries do we have to deal with and which opportunities do we know or can we imagine to get transdisciplinary research published? Table host: Daniel J. Lang, Professor for Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research at Leuphana University, Germany
  • Question 2: Which institutional boundaries do we have to deal with and which opportunities do we know or can we imagine to qualify as a transdisciplinary researcher? Table host: Maria Helena Guimarães, PostDoc at Évora University (Portugal)
  • Question 3: Based on your specific transdisciplinarity community you are working in: Which boundaries and opportunities do you face due to working in a still scarcely established research mode? Table host: Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn, Professor at the Institute for Environmental Decisions at ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  • Question 4: Which boundaries do we have to deal with and which opportunities do we know or can we imagine to get transdisciplinary research funded? Table host: Marco Sonnberger, PostDoc at the Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at the University of Stuttgart, Germany

In addition, Catherine Lyall, Professor of Science and Public Policy and Head of Science, Technology & Innovation Studies at the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh and Laura Meagher (Ph. D.) from the Technology Development Group, UK, joined the forum in the role of expert commentators of the results, which were ultimately carried from the small groups into the final plenum. Gabriele Bammer, professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Research School of Population Health, ANU College of Health and Medicine, Australia, together with Stephanie Jahn, PhD candidate and young researcher at Leuphana University, presented Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity, published in the GAiA-journal.

As Marco Sonnberger, Catherine Lyall and Laura Meagher ran two sessions directed at early career researchers (Exploring interdisciplinary careers: an interactive discussion workshop; Doing transdisciplinary research. Addressing challenges faced by early career researchers) just the day before, on September 11th, their attendance at the Forum for Young Researchers allowed to pointedly integrate and build on their workshop results.

As a significant result, the organizers of the forum are currently establishing a mailing list to stay in touch, to continue exchange activities, to jointly share knowledge and questions on theory and practice of transdisciplinary research and work. Very soon the first list mail will be sent out. If you are interested to join the mailing list, please write a short message to