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Open Access Designing transdisciplinary projects for collaborative policy-making: The Integration and Implementation Sciences framework as a tool for reflection

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

Collaborative policy-making has increased in New Zealand, and with it has brought new demands for supporting research. As a tool for reflection of projects where both research and societal outcomes of policy and practice change are pursued and multiple knowledges are recognised, we use the Integration and Implementation Sciences framework. We present insights for the design and implementation of transdisciplinary research from the Selwyn Waihora Project, which aimed to produce socially robust information to support land and water policy-making in New Zealand’s South Island.

The Selwyn Waihora Project was a research project supporting a collaborative policy-making process to set environmental limits in the Selwyn Waihora catchment in New Zealand’s South Island. In this Design Report we reflect on this project based on data collected from a range of project participants approximately two years after project completion. The data collection was guided by the Integration and Implementation Sciences framework (i2S). On the basis of participant responses, and the authors’ first-hand experiences working on the project, we present insights for transdisciplinary research. Through the questions asked by the i2S framework insights emerged on: what it means to honour community values; the importance of context but that projects can pay too much attention to it; boundary objects to foster integration across multiple knowledge systems; the value of intra-team narratives for translation; the importance of considering the losers of the research; and sharing the burden of uncertainty.

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Keywords: New Zealand; Selwyn Waihora catchment; boundary object; collaborative policy-making; intra-team narratives; transdisciplinary research; uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 15, 2020

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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