Conference tracks represent fields of research, work and interest suggested by the core group of scholars over the Pre-Events. Each track is curated by a convener. Please contact the track convener if you are interested in participating actively in a track.
- Tracks will have the opportunity to meet physically or in hybrid form during the first day of the conference and engage in scholarly exchange. The format, organisation and chair of these meetings is up to the convener.
- Tracks will send representatives to the panels of the Main Sessions. Invitation to individual tracks to that purpose will come forth from the organisers.
- Active track participants will have the option to present current work or upcoming projects on the third day of the conference.
The track list is likely to be updated as the preparations for the conference proceed. Check back regularly for the current status!
Track: "Entrepreneurs as drivers of sustainability related transition processes"
The aim of the track is to understand how the collaboration between science and practice can serve for an empowerment of entrepreneurs in contributing to sustainable societies. We will reflect on changing patterns of modern business models (e.g., digital entrepreneurship), their integration within multi-layered innovation systems, as well as further impacts on societal transitions.
Innovative businesses involve various stakeholders (e.g., entrepreneurs, investors, legal authorities) with different and sometimes ambiguous and contradictory interests. On the one hand, a continuous collaboration between these agents is crucial. On the other hand, a particular role of science as a driver for knowledge integration is obvious. Therefore it is important to find forms of science-society communication that will allow for establishment of a common language and knowledge exchange (also as part of the education process) between these different groups. For such a communication new forms of empirical evidence (related also to datasets) might serve as a basis, particularly for analysing different process- and agents perspectives. Besides, in a prism of systemic understanding of business transformations comprehension of time perspectives (incl. historical evidence) is critical. With respect to agents, their cognitive processes in decision-making and communication is another factor for developing a collaboration between different groups.
A mutual learning between science and society is crucial for entrepreneurship in order to reinforce the resilience of innovation systems and provide innovative solutions in terms of business as well as societal challenges.
Contact: Liliya Satalkina
Track: Participatory evaluation in Citizen Science
What do we evaluate when we evaluate Citizen Science? While some say it should be the long term impact, others claim the biggest challenge for evaluation in Citizen Science is still the process: How can we design participatory processes that are truly inclusive? What motivates anyone to engage in Citizen Science? And are we considering these motivations in the design of Citizen Science projects and research programmes?
While Citizen Science is intended increasingly as a participatory process, in its current forms this often excludes the dimension of evaluation. However, there are potentially wide-ranging benefits to including participants of a process in evaluation activities, as we learn from various fields that have employed participatory evaluation for decades, such as social and developmental work and community based participatory research (CBPR). In this track, our distinguished guest will share their practical experiences with the participatory evaluation of Citizen Science. We will discuss how participatory evaluation needs to be carefully designed and implemented. What does it imply when we speak about involving stakeholders in evaluation activities from the onset, including the definition of the evaluation strategy, choosing appropriate evaluation instruments and trainings, as well as impact indicators? We address challenges and opportunities, expectation and impact considerations, as well as the limits of openness and transferability of data. To this end, we will present and discuss current approaches towards participatory evaluation in transdisciplinary Citizen Science with our guests, and reflect on possible risks and pitfalls based on experience from the field.
Convener: Barbara Kieslinger
Track: Just Sustainable Cities: Transdisciplinary approaches for great societal challenges
Urbanisations is an unbroken worldwide phenomenon. The urban form offers the most sustainable option for human living and at the same time cities attract deprived communities due to the livelihood strategies they offer and are – therefore – places of great inequality including interrelated aspects of political participation, property rights, housing, access to goods and quality of life.
In different real-world laboratories approaches from all kinds of disciplines seek for just and sustainable local solutions taking the local context into account. This session will discuss which societal challenges are dealt with in detail and how they are framed by whom. Furthermore the session provides an overview of different methodological approaches and aims at working out how these are related to transdisciplinary research and how knowledge is co-produced by science, practice and communities.
Chair: Heike Köckler
Track: "From Transdisciplinary Research to Transdisciplinary Education"
Technological breakthroughs and political regulations will not suffice to address the grand challenges of the 21st century. There is a need for a social transformation at individual and collective level. Education offers a great potential to achieve this. Nevertheless, this requires a powerful educational response. Competences, like system thinking, which are in line with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), are significant for taking informed decisions and dealing with the complex challenges. Inspired by the concept of Transdisciplinary (TD) Research, Transdisciplinary Education (TDE) offers universities and schools the opportunity to collaborate with out-of-university/out-of-school actors on the solution of complex, real-world problems, contributing to sustainable development. TDE promotes a mutual learning process between all partners involved and the generation of the required competences. k.i.d.Z.21, a research-education collaboration between the University of Innsbruck and Austrian and German Schools, demonstrates in a successful manner, the potential of TDE. Despite its potential TDE is not yet a common practice in universities and schools, and it lacks formal anchoring in curricula. TDE and the promotion of system thinking leave open some questions. These questions have to be addressed in a TD manner between (scientific) actors and practitioners from the educational sector, which is aim of this workshop.
Track: "Transdisciplinary Knowledge Integration in Higher Education Institutions"
Transdisciplinary Knowledge Integration in Higher Education Instutions across disciplines, institutions and practice to tackle transitional processes and their inherent challenges in coupled human environment systems: New didactical approaches in TISE (Transition, Innovation and Sustainability Environments, EMJMD)
Transitional processes of social systems, caused by complex phenomena like digitalization, climate change or resource scarcity and their inherent challenges for resilience and, ultimately, sustainability of social systems pose a highly complex environment. This calls for a multilevel knowledge integration incorporating a close science-practice collaboration which is integrating not only the view of different disciplines, cultures and institutions, but also including the knowledge and experience from practice in order to develop viable and socially robust solution orientations as a base for sustainable system innovations. This paper argues that in order to get to these orientations specific skills and competences need to be acquired in order to analyze coupled human environment systems, identify the apparent vulnerability spaces respective to the different challenges and derive viable and sustainable innovation strategies. However, obtaining these skills and competences calls for a new didactical framework, which is not limited to traditional disciplinary views, as they are generally used in higher education, but rather centered around the methods and processes of transdisciplinarity and thus capable of integrating inputs across different the system borders, of disciplines, practices, institutions or even cultures. This paper presents the basis of the didactical framework, which is (being) developed for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Transition, Innovation and Sustainability Environments. This specific framework is seeking to integrate the different impact dimensions of complex transitional processes and building the basis for the acquisition of the necessary skills and competences in order to derive viable and sustainable solution orientations for complex societal challenges and thus strengthening the resilience of social systems.
Convener: Kay Mühlmann
Track: "Spiritual and Ethical Leadership through Transdisciplinarity"
The free market economy is still considered the most effective economic system. How free and effective is it in reality? Hasn't its freedom also caused global problems such as climate change, species extinction, littering and epidemics? Hasn't its freedom and effectiveness given us the opposite of what it promised, namely imprisonment and threats to our livelihoods?
The discipline of libertarian economics has only disciplined thought and action in one direction where corporate responsibility is perceived for profit and to shareholders based on the mantra of perpetual growth and consumerism. Leaders should detach themselves from the tunnel vision of a one-sidedly focused, ultimately self-destructive economy and open themselves not only horizontally to other scientific disciplines, but above all vertically to their forgotten interconnectedness with the universe. Aware of the inner and outer interconnectedness of all forms of life with the whole, our actions become more ethically responsible and thus necessary, that is, turning around the distress currently afflicting our planet. Transdisciplinary thinking and mindful acting thus open the minds of leaders in a new direction of ethics and spirituality.
The track at the planned conference on transdisciplinarity in Krems, therefore, aims to expand our awareness for the ethical and spiritual dimensions of applied transdisciplinarityby various contributions, not only in the form of lectures and discussions, but also concrete exercises.
Convener: Mathias Schüz
Track: "The Role of Arts in Transformation Processes"
Literature suggests that arts may contribute to shaping environmental behavior, that arts can create empathy towards the natural environment, but the question is, how or in what circumstances this is possible. There is no doubt that arts practices aimed at bringing environmental issues to the public’s attention have a significant impact.
Art has the potential to generate empathy. But there is a need to understand the varieties of the possibilities of arts-based influences towards a change of attitudes and the power of getting people into sustainable action – on an individual as well as on a societal level. Sustainable action is favored when the dynamics that shape our environment/world are understood. This understanding is enhanced by systems science, by systems thinking (Bertalanffy, General System Theory, 1968; Meadows, Thinking in Systems, 2008; Lazlo, Living Systems, Seeing Systems, Being Systems, 2015).
The conception of the world and of man, which saw man (humans) standing above nature, is running out. It is also contrary to all thinking in systems, which is aware that humans are a part of the terrestrial system. Yet "recognizing the environment as part of ourselves" (Sivaraksa, The Wisdom of Sustainability, 2009) is kind of an advanced form of empathic worldview beyond "we are part of the environment". And it could be art's contribution to make this cognition happen.
Convener: Jeanette Müller
Track: "Transdisciplinarity for Sustainable Transition from a Systems Science Perspective"
The United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) all publicly declared Systems Thinking as a key leadership skill already in 2017. They stated that it is necessary to deal with the fundamental interconnectedness of complex, local-to-global economic, social and environmental issues. We need systems change and systemic innovations became the most cited popular mantras in the public climate crisis debate. The term Eco-systems dominate contemporary business and economic discourses as well as any public policy from innovation and digitalization in all sectors of society to sustainable development, unfortunately, often in a fashionable and misleading conceptualization.
The transformation of our economic and social systems towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals became an imperative, enhanced and accelerated by digital and further technological innovation.
Science and the scientific paradigm still contribute to the technological advancements from the biosphere to the social sphere. But are we already skilled and structural prepared to contribute to the societal transformation processes as well? Transdisciplinarity seems to become the twin imperative.
How can we advance trans-disciplinary processes at the interface of science – humanities – engineering and design to create a better and more sustainable future for all, addressing the global challenges we face today?
System theory or systems science is the transdisciplinary study of systems in which System Thinking can be learned. However, Systems Thinking is more than just a collection of tools and methods which are so many available specific to the context. It is at its core an underlying worldview. We can inquire the potential of thinking in interconnectedness, circularity, emergence, wholes, synthesis and relationships and how this skillset may change our perception, reasoning and action. With Systems Thinking we can move from observing events, to identifying patterns of behaviour overtime, to surfacing the underlying structures that drive those events and patterns. And ultimately through such insights we can design and provide interventions, which aim to create the conditions for systemic innovations and transformations.
Addressing global, cross-sectoral, multi-stakeholder and often wicked problems of sustainable development calls for cooperation both between disciplines (so called interdisciplinarity) and between science and practice (so called transdisciplinarity).
The track intends to share current practice, from successes to failures, as well as co-inspire and co-create future designs of transdisciplinary approaches towards a Science Society Collaboration for Sustainable and Cohesive Societies.
Contact: Stefan Blachfellner
Kay Mühlmann, Social Systems Researcher
Gerald Steiner, Transdisciplinary innovation systems researcher
Eva Schernhammer, Public health researcher