The research area "Transdisciplinary Methods, Processes, and Practices" is a competence centre for the discussion, reflection and development of the Institute's transformative and transdisciplinary approach to research. The area develops evaluation frameworks, empirical methods, and communication formats to support transdisciplinary research and practice. The research groups in this area focus on improving our understanding of how transformation processes can be shaped and supported.
The area's three research groups address this from complementary perspectives: TD-TEC (Transdisciplinary Theory, Evaluation and Culture) is developing a conceptual understanding (knowledge, theory) of how system change processes can be described and evaluated. The MTPA group (Methods of Transformative Policy Advice) empirically investigates (doing, methodology) transformation processes in specific contexts such as the energy transition or mobility. Finally, the TranS-Mind group (Transformative Spaces and Mindsets) develops innovative formats - including a co-creative reflection and dialogue space at the UNFCCC climate negotiations (COP) - that facilitate reflection (being, subjectivity) and improve participants' capacity for agency.
These three groups serve different roles within RIFS and in the Institute's broader networks. The TD-TEC group reflects and conceptualizes the Institute's understanding and practice of transdisciplinary research and communicates them to the academic academic. The MTPA group monitors the development of transdisciplinary methods outside RIFS and feeds its findings into the Institute. The TranS-Mind group hosts formats for reflecting and contextualizing key insights.
With these three complementary perspectives, the area integrates the efforts of RIFS to
- promote academic discourse on transdisciplinarity; and
- provide advice and support in the context of societal transformation processes.
In addition, the area hosts workshops for scientists from within and beyond RIFS to help them develop their capacities to undertake research in a transdisciplinary context. The area helps researchers to learn what it means to act as "self-reflexive researchers" in transdisciplinary work processes and helps them to acknowledge and address tensions as they take on different roles at the intersection of science and society. The area's research and empowerment activities are intended to help researchers and other stakeholders deal with the complexity of transformation processes and to understand, identify, and actively engage with opportunities to support change.