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Transformative Science – challenges for established research environments

Transformative science aims at taking inter- and transdisciplinary research to another level. That is to make science an agent of societal transformation, contributing in immediate and meaningful way to sustainable development goals, taking up responsibility for creating a better future.

Knowledge transfer is not only seen to be multidirectional, but also shifts to concepts of knowledge as process of co-creation. However, this level turns out to be a field where traditional science and research faces severe challenges and gets entangled in questions of normativity, responsibility, faces role conflicts and casts doubt on neutrality, objectivity and expertise. Often, these challenges are addressed by producing more theory or diversifying methods on the “How to” of inter-, transdisciplinary or transformative science, with little or rather delayed impact. Without understanding the institutional settings and initiating institutional change new research concepts are hard to put in practice and remain marginal, exotic endeavors.

Within the Project TRANSFORM, Alexandra Hausstein investigates the institutional barriers to establish transformative science. She explores niches in established research environments to allow for organizational transformation, challenging an unidirectional understanding of knowledge transfer to pave the way for social impact.

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