Science has an essential role to play in enabling the societal transformation necessary for achieving sustainability. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly calls upon the academic community to provide the research and expert knowledge needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
But what is ‘research for transformation’? How is it different from other research conducted in universities and other research institutions? Is there even a common understanding about this kind of research? This workshop explores the special demands and needs of research for societal transformation and discusses examples of best practice from global and local research collaborations.
Moderator: Fabian Käser, KFPE
Introductory presentation (Alexandra Hofmänner): What is research for transformation? Overview presenting the state-of-the-art, defining commonly used terms (transformation research, transformative research, mission-oriented research…), and describing obstacles, chances and challenges of such research.
Practice examples: short, 3-4 min presentations of three diverse and challenging projects. With contrtibuttions by
Johanna Jacobi, Assistant Professor for Agroecological Transitions, ETH Zurich
Tatjana von Steiger, Head of Global Policy Outreach, Wyss Academy
Interview round with the project representatives:
- What, in your opinion, was “transformative” about your research, and to what extent does it respond to a societal demand?
- What challenges did you encounter when aiming to contribute to transformation with your research?
- What would you do differently the next time, and what would your research specifically need to be more transformative?
Discussion with all workshop participants: Are there areas in your daily work where you see the need for transformation research? How could the quality of such research be assessed? What are its specific needs in terms of funding and support? How can we deal with normative questions? How can research have a more transformative impact? What needs to change?