Promising practices for dealing with complexity in research for development

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  • Carmenza Robledo Abad
  • Sabin Bieri
  • René Eschen
  • Sandra Fuerst
  • Johanna Jacobi
  • Elizabeth Jiménez
  • Aymara Llanque Zonta
  • Meleesa Naughton
  • Urs Schaffner
  • Mirko S. Winkler
  • Manuel Flury

The need to deal with complexity is getting increasingly attention in research for development projects implemented through transboundary research partnerships between organisations from the Global North and the Global South. However, less is known about aspects beyond the systems under study that still affect complexity in the research project. We conducted an experience capitalization of five transboundary research partnerships undertaking research in 14 countries in the Global South. We found that the combination of multiple contexts, the cultural and disciplinary diversity of the transboundary research partnerships, and the set of rules and proceedings from the funding mechanism affect the levels of complexity. We further identified that a transdisciplinary approach and several related practices, like intercultural communication or integrative partnerships, are promising ways of dealing with complexity. Current structures in research for development need to improve in order to fully use the potential of transdisciplinarity for sustainability transformation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 20.05.2023

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© 2023 by the authors; licensee oekom. This Open Access article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).