td-conference 2011

EVALUATION OF INTER- AND TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH
Experiences and reflections on best practice
> 14-16 September 2011, University of Bern Switzerland

 


 
Abstract & programme booklet (pdf)

Theme

This is the final of a series of four annual conferences dedicated to practices, methodologies and epistemologies of inter- and transdisciplinary research and teaching. The first conference focussed on the theme of PROBLEM FRAMING as a decisive and determining initial phase of the research process (see td-conference 2008). At the second conference we addressed issues of INTEGRATION that cut across the whole research process (see td-conference 2009), from problem framing and problem analysis to the IMPLEMENTATION of research in a life-world context, which was the topic last year (see td-conference 2010). This year, national and international experts are invited to share their knowledge about evaluation models for inter- and transdisciplinary research proposals, processes and outcomes in their larger scientific, socio-political and cultural contexts.

In contrast to most disciplinary research practices, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects are characterised by a variety of disciplines and various practitioners in professional fields outside academia. As a consequence, general evaluation methods that have been developed for disciplinary work can only be used to assess specific disciplinary contributions but are hence not appropriate for assessing specific inter- or transdisciplinary goals, processes and achievements. Major challenges for evaluators of inter- and transdisciplinarity include making decisions about which dimensions to select and possibly rank when judging the quality of a project – is it the ‘original’ contribution to a particular field, the potential for innovation, the quality of integration, the broader impact or rather the learning process itself, for example. In general, what is missing are established frames of reference and bench marks against which performance and outcomes are measured.

To map and examine these issues is a necessary first step for a systematic overview and critical review of the current methodologies as well as for setting an agenda for the evaluation of inter- and transdisciplinarity (ID and TD) as a tool for learning, improvement, innovation and excellence of this type of research.

The three major aims of the conference are therefore:
  • to present the state-of-the-art of evaluation criteria, procedures and tools to measure the quality and potential for innovation of ID and TD research projects,
  • to critically review the values that underlie and drive those criteria and methods while respecting the plurality if scientific cultures and traditions,
  • to identify and prioritise the problems and needs that pertain to quality assessment in all fields of ID and TD research, practice and teaching as well as those that arise in individual fields or disciplines.

Partners
We thank the following partners for their collaboration and support:
SNSF, institutional partner (and financial support)
Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, financial support
CSID, travel grants for speakers from the USA
 
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