Inter- and Trans-disciplinary Research: A Critical Perspective

Contemporary sustainable development challenges are complex, and tackling them demands cooperation between specialists with diverse backgrounds in both the natural and social sciences (Sillitoe 2004; Farrell 2011). There is growing recognition that new approaches and different types of expertise are needed to renew science, and among the most cited of these are the concepts of inter- and trans-disciplinarity research. In academic literature and in funding bids it is becoming increasingly common to mention the importance of bridging divides within academia as well as between scientific communities and the rest of society. While the creation of more spaces for science to engage with different publics and vice-versa is a laudable objective in itself, it is essential to take a closer look at what these concepts entail in order to better understand the challenges associated with these types of research.

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