How can researchers and their communities of practice engage more effectively to create sustainable outcomes, especially when ‘alternative facts’, premised on beliefs rather than science, prevail? Transdisciplinary research, which aims to “extend discipline specific theories, concepts and methods” to address real-world problems (problems that, by their very nature, require new syntheses of knowledge for action) is key. In the book Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes you’ll find valuable advice about how to theorise and conduct transdisciplinary research. The book’s editors, and the authors of over half of its 17 essays, are all academics at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures. This explains the book’s focus on sustainability. Yet it would be a shame if only those working in that field were to read it. The book is structured in three parts. Part I sets out ways to conceptualise what it means to work in a transdisciplinary space. Part II articulates the skills and dispositions needed for transdisciplinary researchers, practitioners and academics. Part III, the longest, provides numerous examples of transdisciplinary research and practice in action with insights into the challenges often entailed. Though there are many challenges that lie ahead, the approach offered by transdisciplinary research is an exciting and provocative one. Bring it on!
Dena Fam, Chris Riedy and Cynthia Mitchell are all researchers with the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), while Jane Palmer completed her PhD at ISF in 2011.