Explainer: transdisciplinary research for complex challenges
7 November 2022
Seven University flagship research centres will take a transdisciplinary approach to tackle complex challenges faced by Aotearoa and the planet.
Persistent and urgent challenges faced by Aotearoa New Zealand have led to the establishment of seven flagship University Research Centres at the University of Auckland.
The University’s strategy Taumata Teitei focuses researchers and professional staff on four impact areas; sustainability; health and well-being; advancing just, cultured, and engaged communities; and ethical innovation and technology.
Each impact area brings a raft of complex and interlinked issues. In response the University has initiated the Hīkina kia Tutuki fund and initative.
Transdisciplinary research describes research that transcends disciplinary-specific ways of working, integrating academic research from unrelated disciplines and non-academic participants, leading to the creation of new knowledge to achieve a common goal relevant for our communities. The OECD (2020) describes six defining characteristics of transdisciplinary research:
• A wide breadth/diversity of interdisciplinarity
• Deep disciplinary integration
• A high degree and quality of interaction with non-academic participants
• A diverse composition of non-academic partnerships
• Early participatory engagement
• Diverse types of knowledge