Fostering transdisciplinary research for equitable and sustainable development pathways across Africa: what changes are needed?
The transformations required to accomplish the SDGs throughout the African continent necessitate new methods of mobilizing, weaving together, and implementing knowledge. Transdisciplinarity (TD), understood as the co-production of knowledge across disciplines and with non-academic actors, is a potential, all-encompassing method to fostering such developments. Because TD is not firmly rooted in African academic institutions, much SDG-related research is too narrowly focused and disconnected from the action area to be effective. Capabilities for collaborative, meaningful research must be strengthened, and research culture must adapt to enable relationship building. The authors investigate these challenges using two recent online social learning processes including researchers and practitioners working on sustainability and TD. They investigated institutional, practical, and theoretical barriers and enablers of TD in each process, building on actors’ own experiences of TD. Here, the researchers synthesize their findings and key literature to better: a) promote and support TD within academic institutions across Africa; b) resource TD for long-term partnerships; and c) strengthen TD practices and impacts to support the transformation to sustainability in a variety of settings and contexts.
Paper Link: Shackleton, S., Taylor, A., Gammage, L., Gillson, L., Sitas, N., Methner, N., Barmand, S., Thorn, J., McClure, A., Cobban, L. and Jarre, A., 2023. Fostering transdisciplinary research for equitable and sustainable development pathways across Africa: what changes are needed?. Ecosystems and People.