Tobias Buser

Tobias Buser

Executive Secretary of the Global Alliance for Inter- and Transdisciplinarity.
Expert for collaborative research, with profound experience in designing, conducting and reflecting TDR processes.

Location Switzerland


  • I would not call a process that only builds on 'informing' transdisciplinary. While not all steps in a tdr project need to have a high interaction intensity, there needs to be some intensive collaboration. Experience and research shows that it is highly important to have co-desing and consultation already in the first phase (as outlined in week 3) on the...

  • To get an even broader perspective on methods and tools, check out the 'Toolkit Inventory' a project by the ITD Alliance Working Group 'Toolkits & Methods'

  • Hi Sheila, it is still very valuable to contribute to the discussion, there are still many learners around!

  • in step 2.4, the three types of knowledge are explained.

  • great to have you with us!

  • Dear Lisa, very well oserved!
    In tdr projeects with many diverging or even conflicting interests (often the case with complex and especially wicked problem situations), designing and conducting the interaction process has many similarities with mediation processes. Unraveling and working with the participant's needs, wishes and fears, and assuring all...

  • In different thematic fields, but facing similar challenges, our colleagues from New Zealand have systematized their experiences into a very helpful toolkit: the "integrated research toolkit", focusing on collaborating closely between different knowledge sytems and cultures.

  • This is indeed a key challenge. Find out in the upcoming weeks, how the MontanAqua team designed and conducted the collaboration process.

  • Additionally, it is also about getting to know high power/low interest actor's priorities and motivations and try to hook into their interests and lines of work; putting thier and not your projects into the focus.

  • For the framing it would also be important to consider the different actor's interest, needs, and power

  • Thank you for your thoughts!
    As PhDs are often at least partialy pre-defined and most PhDs are assesd from a disciplinary perspective (fortunately there is some progress to be seen with a growing number of interdisciplinary PhD programmes), only some TDR elements can be integrated.
    However, I hope the course may stimulate to include TDR approaches in your...

  • @KristinaPelikan I would say this is something to be discussed in each project, and the selection of language(s), formats/ journals, and ways of co-writing are challenging.

    In the above mentioned programme we co-produced a brochure aimed at administration and spatial development practitioners.
    The brochure was discussed with project partners, then...

  • @HeidiTuhkanen For the research programme "Room for People and Nature" we combined short anonimous questionnaires on content and satisfaction (max. 10 minutes) after each workshop for all participants, a short online questionnaire at the end of the programme for all participants, funders, and researchers and a reflection workshop at the end of the programme...

  • Great to have you all with us in the last week of the course!
    Looking forward to reflect with you on the trajectories of TDR projects and your own pathways and desire lines.

    If you running out of time of your 8 weeks of free access or want access to the material after the course use this address:...

  • It is highly important to discuss within the group(s) of partners and participants what and how to communicate. Especially when working in conflictive systems, it is also important to organise "safe spaces" to avoid harm for vulnerable groups.
    With publications (in td-projects this should not be only way to communicate) another question raises: who is part...

  • Welcome, and great to have you all with us for week five where we jointly explore ways to impact. Looking forward to your comments and discussion!

    If you running out of time of your 8 weeks of free access or want access to the material after the course use this address:

  • Still working on the publications, just a video prsentation available for now:

  • The posssibility to step into each of ther oles during your PhD would be a great opportunity to test where you feel comfortable, or in which direction you would like to develop.

  • In TDR framing phases I experienced it as important to start at the level of goals and key topics of a project from both societal and scientific perspectives, followed by iterations of proposing and discussing potential core questions and how they could contribute to he overarching goals of the project. On this base, research questions can be formulated. Using...

  • Dear Iris
    all your RQ tend more towards systems knowledge. For target knowledge your question could be reframed to e.g.: how could an accessible and sustainable urban transport system look like?
    And your transformation RQ: How can jobs be created that respect and foster local culture?

  • Dear Heidi,
    TDr framing phases are challenging and time consuming, but also already create outcomes on their own as S. MOser showed in her article:
    It is, however, crucial to design the co-design /co-production process in a way that allows differnt actors to contribute in different ways. In...

  • Dear Farhat
    You are absolutely right, it is of utmost importance to design, plan and facilitate the interaction process very carefully. It is also important, that the interaction process is given high priority within the whole project and is not seen as a add-on.

  • Great to have you on board for week 4!
    We have a rich week ahead, focussing on the co-production process and your potential roles.

    Your comments and experiences are a highly valuable part enhancing the joint experience of the course.

  • Dear Sarah,
    In a TDR project, the whole range of knowledge production modes is present. For example, to generate data and models on water availibility, there is still a need to conduct hydrological research.
    What makes this project an excellent example of TDR is, that the disciplinary approaches are integrated in intensive interdisciplinary collaboration...

  • Dear Varvara,
    for an idea which tools (or series of tools) could be used to start a project in co-design / co-production mode, the linked document could be a starting point:

  • For a single PhD it may be challenging to go through all steps of a TDR project, but it sure is possible to have Td "moments" of co-production with other researchers and stakeholders. Or, to continue the process after the Phd (as in the example of Susan Thieme (labour migration case) and Didier Wernli (AMR case) Also, it is possible to undertake a PhD in a...

  • Fully agree with your observations.
    For a facilitation guide for the outcome spaces:

  • I'd see the tools as complimentary, and sometimes also use allignment on one of the axes (or expertise). In my understanding the question of "alignement" is especially helpful when you already have a set of solutions or a clear normative direction; when looking for allies or when advocating for specific outcomes.

  • The question of perspectives is an important one and threads through the whole actor analysis. While step 2 helps not to forget important perspectives, step 3 helps to categorize different perspectives (and see which perspectives are represented by many or few actors), and step 4 helps to assess the feasibility and necessity to engage with specific actors; all...

  • Great to have you back!
    And I can definitively say: every week is worth the effort :)

  • The framing phase with a large set of actors with diverging interest is indeed challenging. For such projects as a first step I usually talk with exponents of the main actor groups, often as semi-structured interviews focussing on their interests, priorities and challenges and initiating a discussion on what could be important key questions for the project and...

  • @JasperWubs it's the slides: phase 1 pdf, and Christian is referring to the figure I also borrowed for step 3.1

  • Dear Sabine,
    a very important issue - in our paper "Research funding programmes aiming for societal transformations: ten key stages" we address some of these questions.
    Appropriate funding schemes for TDR explicitely including funding for interaction processes, integration experts and covering at least partially the...

  • There are many ways to asess power. It is always important which question you are asking for in the power analysis, e.g. the current power to regulate the sytem, or the power to change the system. Sometimes it makes sense to draw several power/interest grids regarding different aspects of power.

    As for power categories, for example Bourdieu's forms of...

  • For a text version on the three types of knowledge, consult our new blog post on the excellent "Integration and Implementation Insights" blog:

  • Do not hesitate to react to each others comments, there is a lot of distributed knowledge!

  • Thank you for your excellent example. Great to see a project that aims mainly for target and transformation knowlegde and uses existing systems knowledge.

  • Thank you for your highly relevant example and the clear reserach questions.

  • Thank you for your highly interesting example!
    Regarding target knowledge it seems important from my perspective to envision with people from the neighbourhood what kind of social support is desirable; and regarding transformation knowledge what contributions different groups of the neighbouhoood would be willing to contribute.

  • A warm welcome to week 3, great you are joining us for our deep dive into transdisciplinary processes!
    We are looking forward to your comments and discussions - it is a great pleasure to learn from different perspectives and to hear from your research and contexts!
    Do not hesitate to react to each others comments, there is a lot of distributed knowledge!

  • Different groups' needs are indeed a key challenge for this (and most other) TDR projects. Stay with the case and see how MontanAqua designed an elaborated interaction process to collaborate with the differnt actor groups.

  • I would refrain from the notion of neutrality, but beeing indpendent from particular interests of a specific stakeholder group and transparent about own interest; with the main aim of advancing the project and accomodating participants interests as good as feasible - caring for the participants and caring for the process ("Allparteilichkeit" in German). A good...