During my studies of environmental sciences, my PhD on uncertainty in LCA, and my postdoc in science studies, I observed that interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research was re-invented every time a new project was started. There was no systematic learning and no body of knowledge on how to conceptualize and practice such collaborative research. Since the late 1990s and together with colleagues from around the world, I am trying to build up such a body of knowledge, as for instance by the Principles for Designing Transdisciplinary Research, the Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research or td-net’s toolbox for co-producing knowledge.
Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research are means to an end. In the context of our department, this end is sustainable development. Sustainable development requires tackling complex and societally contested issues. I am committed to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research because I consider both the key means to do so.