Experiences from establishing structured inter- and transdisciplinary doctoral programs in sustainability : a comparison of two cases in South Africa and Austria
The original publication is available at : http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-cleaner-production/
Muhar, A., Visser, J. & Van Breda, J. 2013. 8. Experiences from establishing structured inter- and transdisciplinary doctoral programs in sustainability : a comparison of two cases in South Africa and Austria. Journal of Cleaner Production, 61:122-129, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.07.031.
Inter- and transdisciplinarity is an essential research approach to address complex sustainability problems from a "science with socieity" perspective instead of the traditional approach of "science for society". We describe the specific challenges of integrating the principles of inter- and transdisciplinarity into doctoral studies using the example of two structured doctoral programs on sustainability in Europe (Austria) and Africa (South Africa). We compare the institutional setup, the management structure, the definition of the thematic focus areas and the student selection process. An important aspect is the design of a study program to introduce students to the core concepts and principles of inter- and transdisciplinarity research and to prepare them for the empirical practice. Regular exchange between students and supervisors forms the basis of development of a share research culture. We conclude that critical issues for success are support by the university leadership, safeguarding of long-term funding, development of appropriate supervisory capacity and integration into existing academic structures and administrative support.