Cian O’Donovan and Becky Ayre from The Nexus Network have produced a report of the final workshop of the Network, held in May 2018.
About the report
Transdisciplinary nexus-related research demands methodological pluralism, harnessing a range of techniques for engagement between diverse stakeholders. The act of engagement does not simply take place within academic disciplines. The design, implementation and interpretation of the entire research or appraisal process is conducted as an equal collaborative partnership with disparate wider interests beyond the practitioners themselves. The quality of these interactions is as important as the act itself.
This leaves various implications for research. Transdisciplinary research requires practitioners interrogate and interpret evidence and data in diverse ways, paying attention not only to seemingly objective domains of water, energy, food and the environment, but to the subjective dimensions of interactions between them. It also requires scrutiny over the conventional ways in which research projects are organised, the way peer review is conducted, academic excellence is assessed and impacts achieved.
This report summarises the activities and discussions at the workshop coordinated by the ESRC Nexus Network at the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity on 1 May 2018. Building on previous Nexus Network events including a special 2015 workshop on “Developing Nexus Capabilities”, participants interrogated the processes of transdisciplinary research and the mapped some of the capabilities required to do this work in the first place. This report offers some conclusions and recommendations drawn from the insights of participants, researchers with experience of working on transdisciplinary research projects.