Models of transdisciplinary knowledge production at universities: a Romanian case study

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The main objective of this study is to better understand the challenges of transdisciplinary knowledge production processes and its institutionalisation at universities. Transdisciplinary research is considered a collaborative and integrative praxis grounded in different ways of knowing, acting and being. However, transdisciplinary research practices differ significantly in the relations between institutions and actors. These differences have an impact on how transdisciplinarity is institutionalised. There is a need to incorporate them into a larger framework of ongoing transformations of scientific timescales and spaces at universities. We present the results of a case study developed at Babes-Bolyai University (Romania). We discuss it against the background of three models of transdisciplinary knowledge production and two approaches of transdisciplinary problem-solving research. We apply a qualitative methodology of micro level analysis that explores research practices and their embeddedness in the institutional environment. We analyse conditions that enable transdisciplinary knowledge production and show how transdisciplinary institutionalisation can be better understood using the proposed framework applied to the case study. It could be shown that taking into consideration the differences in the models of transdisciplinary knowledge production proved to be useful to gain a deeper understanding of processes of institutionalising transdisciplinarity at universities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1757-1772
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors specially want to thank the ‘Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformations’ project for funding the research conducive to this article (funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung), hosted by Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany). Researchers at the Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj, Rumania) interviewed for this study. They provided us with their valuable insights and time. Finally, the authors also thank the editors and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that helped to improve our article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • case study, institutionalisation, knowledge production, Romanian university, Transdisciplinarity
  • Transdisciplinary studies