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Open Access Building Capacities for Transdisciplinary Research: Challenges and Recommendations for Early-Career Researchers

Transdisciplinary research is intriguing and challenging. Early-career researchers in particular, who lack experience and are still working on their disciplinary standing, struggle with difficulties and uncertainties. We offer insights into the challenges faced and solutions found by seven transdisciplinary junior research groups.

While transdisciplinarity offers a way to tackle complex social-ecological challenges, transdisciplinary research is a challenging task in itself. The integration of research methods across academic disciplines, the collaboration between researchers and practitioners, and the need to balance societal and disciplinary academic impacts pose many difficulties even to experienced applied scientists and even more so to early-career researchers. Young scholars face particular problems, given their lack of longer-term experience and their still fragile position within academia. Drawing on existing literature, an early-career researcher workshop, and our own experience as junior research group leaders, we discuss specific challenges and respective solution strategies of transdisciplinary research within the context of sustainability.

Keywords: capacity building; early career; social-ecological research; transdisciplinary research

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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