The synergies of difference – moving beyond transdisciplinarity

Presented by ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment

There is a growing body of literature addressing the challenges of transdisciplinary research – how to do it, what it is and who is doing it.

At the same time there is growing discussion in international research for development (and development more generally) about how to deal with complex societal problems such as inequity, inequality, food (in)security, climate change and natural resource management. Such problems go beyond complexity – since they defy complete definition, there are no final or simple solutions and any solutions are generally contested.

This thesis brings these two inquiry areas together in a study of the lived experience of transdisciplinary researchers.

The thesis aims to improve understanding of transdisciplinary research practice, as well as develop a uniting methodology to bring together vastly different worldviews and modes of inquiry to create not empty consensus, but a rich and innovative synergy. The thesis is both theory forming and practice based.

About the speaker
Liz Clarke is a PhD candidate, transdisciplinary researcher and practitioner, and independent consultant with interests spanning complex integrated systems, research-policy engagement in development, with a focus on rural development and sustainability, and knowledge management, as well as a background in natural resource and agricultural research and development.

She has more than 25 years experience in international development assistance and rural research for development (including senior management and leadership roles), in the public sector (internationally and nationally – including aid and donor organisations), industry organisations and business, and six years as the director of a research management support, communications and strategy consultancy.

She has worked in a wide range of countries including in South East Asia, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Liz is currently actively involved with a number of networks and committees internationally.