Library Element Report

Addressing societal challenges using transdisciplinary research

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 22 June 2020

OECD (2020), "Addressing societal challenges using transdisciplinary research", OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 88, OECD Publishing, Paris,


This report looks at how transdisciplinary research, which combines knowledge from different scientific disciplines with that of public and private sector stakeholders and citizens, can be used to address complex societal challenges. This includes developing effective responses in acute crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as longer-term solutions for sustainability development. In a series of 28 case studies, each of which is briefly summarised in the report, it identifies the key obstacles to effectively implementing transdisciplinary research. Many of these are embedded in the way that research systems are structured and managed and they are amenable to policy intervention. Examples of how various actors, including funding agencies and universities are adapting to better accommodate the requirements of transdisciplinary research are included in the report and related policy actions are ascribed for these actors.


Table of contents

Executive Summary 


  • Governments
  • Research Funders
  • Universities and Public Research Institutions (PRIs)
  • The academic community and science associations
  • Intergovernmental Organisations

Addressing Societal Challenges Using Transdisciplinary Research 

  1. Background 
  2. Transdisciplinarity and related research methods 
  3. Methodology and Case Studies 
  4. Rationale for transdisciplinary research 
  5. Key parameters of transdisciplinary research projects 
  6. Research system challenges for the effective implementation of transdisciplinarity 
  7. Challenges for transdisciplinary research extending beyond research systems 
  8. Monitoring and impact assessment of transdisciplinary projects 
  9. Case study vignettes 
  10. Concluding comments 












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