Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

SENSE workshop Transdisciplinarity for the Sustainable Development Goals

Date: 06 April 2018
Location: Academiegebouw, Utrecht

The global challenges for shaping a future adapted to current, foreseen and unforeseen environmental pressures are acute.
Increased land degradation, urbanisation, shifts in climatic patterns and social inequality, are issues that call for sustainable solutions.

Merely understanding the challenges to sustainability in a changing world is not in itself sufficient to provide the solutions to unsustainable practices. It is essential to align knowledge with action, at whatever scale a sustainability practitioner is working. A scientist who wants to act as an “Agent for Change” needs skills of awareness and communication to allow meaningful dialogue across diverse sectors and their stakeholders.

How to further transdisciplinarity and co-production of knowledge in progressing the Sustainable Development Goals

Within the context of a graduate school it is challenging to provide a setting in which post-graduates, focussed on a single PhD topic, can develop these broad, transdisciplinary competencies. This workshop will, therefore, explore how to complement discipline-specific skills with a transdisciplinary approach needed for more sustainable air, land and water management.

Together with the participants we want to reflect on the importance, pros and cons, of knowledge co-production and transdisciplinary. This involves exchanging good experiences with 1) trans-disciplinary approaches in research, and 2) the development of these transdisciplinary skills of PhD candidates.

The workshop will combine presentations, discussions and hands-on work on topics of sustainability, transdisciplinarity and knowledge co-production. During the workshop participants will have the opportunity to examine and reflect about these topics from both a conceptual and practical standpoint. To tailor the workshop to interests of the participants, participants are requested to indicate their issues or concerns regarding transdisciplinarity and co-production of knowledge at registration. Three key articles on these issues will be proposed for participants to read before the workshop.

Follow-up steps

The workshop will explore tangible next steps for future actions together, whether this be projects of further exchange ideas and opportunities.


9:00 -9:15Registration
9:15-10:45Introduction to the topics of co-production, transdisciplinarity, sustainability-SDG. Stimulus talks of key needs and good practice. Indentifying key components of transdisciplinarity and its application to sustainability.

Keynote speakers of good practice: Heather Leslie (Dept. of Environment and Health, Faculty of Science - VU) and Simon Bush (INREF programmes, WUR)
10:45- 11:00Coffee break
11:00- 12:00Moderated Group Work.
Participants are assigned to one of the three groups linking with their stated interests collected at the registration process.
12:15-13:15Lunch (and continuation of Group work)
13:15- 14:00Outputs of the working Groups to feed into a “World Café” where participants continue the discussion to turn theory into practice, providing key moderated outputs.

A response/challenge from the organisers
14:30-14:45Coffee break and preparation for final whole group discussions
14:45-15:45Joint exchange section for reflecting about finding of working groups, and planning the next stage
15:45-16:00Final remarks


The workshop is for free, but you are required to register in advance.