Call for Contributions

Inter- and Transdisciplinarity Beyond Buzzwords: Educational Pathways for Sustainable Research Collaborations

For ITD24, we invite contributions from all fields and research cultures, ranging from local interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects to projects spanning the Global North and the Global South. This conference addresses both the theory and practice of inter- and transdisciplinary research collaboration and the educational pathways to making such collaborations sustainable and available for all.

Quick links

Climate disasters, public health crises, digital inequality, unfair distribution of wealth, and conflict and war drive higher education establishments, research institutions, and societal and industry partners towards ever greater collaborative efforts and the integration of knowledge and skills. Today, in an era of ongoing polycrises, researchers face increasingly complex local and global challenges that demand inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration. Yet bridge building and integrative work are themselves complex activities that require training. This conference addresses both the theory and practice of inter- and transdisciplinary research collaboration and the educational pathways to making such collaboration sustainable and available for all.

About this Call for Contributions

Inter- and transdisciplinary mindsets among individuals and bridge-building activities in mixed groups do not simply ‘emerge’ when a complex issue is raised. Systematic explorations in research and education have noted the importance of the specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to make inter- and transdisciplinary research collaboration successful. While shared vocabularies, models, and toolkits for successful collaboration have been developed, they have yet to reach all those who might wish to use them in their own or their organization’s efforts to address complex issues with inter- or transdisciplinary approaches. Likewise there is great scope for shared learning from the practical experience of higher education establishments, research institutes, and societal and industry partners working across disciplinary, professional, and institutional divides. It is essential to build capacity in these areas if we want to make collaborative research across different disciplines, professions, and institutions last and ensure more integration experts are trained. Open discussion, collective reevaluation, and redefinition of the engagement between sciences, humanities, and the arts; and society represents pressing yet exhilarating challenges.

For whom

For ITD24, we invite contributions from all fields and research cultures, ranging from local interdisciplinary and interprofessional projects to projects spanning the Global North and the Global South. We particularly welcome submissions from trainers and educational developers, researchers of inter- and transdisciplinary higher education, leaders of inter- and transdisciplinary programs, research funders, and those from other boundary-crossing professions.

This conference provides the opportunity for trainers, researchers, practitioners, and students from around the world to share their knowledge, insights, and expertise on the critical issues in inter- and transdisciplinarity needed to build capacity in and through research, education, policy making, activism, and artistic engagement. For experts in the field, this conference provides an excellent opportunity to advance the capacity for inter- and transdisciplinarity by sharing knowledge and insights. For relative newcomers to inter- and transdisciplinary initiatives, this conference provides the opportunity to immerse themselves fully and to develop new collaborations and innovative approaches to the complex challenges facing our local and global communities.

Conference Streams and topics / questions

We have formulated three ‘streams’ that help structure the conference and maximize opportunities for all: the fundamental level of theories, concepts, and processes; the practical level of building capacity; and the specific angle of education that forms the core of all capacity-building endeavors.

Please indicate how your submission aligns with the following streams, questions, and formats. Choose one primary stream, then indicate one or more key topics/questions relevant to your contribution. Please feel free to also add additional questions that contribute to the selected stream.

1. Enhancing the theoretical foundations of inter- and transdisciplinary

You are not limited to, but encouraged to address the following:

Advancing inter- and transdisciplinary concepts, models, and processes

  • Genealogy and current necessity of inter- and transdisciplinarity
  • Meta-research: inter- and transdisciplinary research as research object
  • The nature, implementation, and evaluation of integration
  • Entanglement of knowledge and technology
  • Actionability of inter- and transdisciplinary theory
  • Pathways to scientific and societal impact of collaborative research
  • Diversity of concepts and perceptions of ITD in different scientific cultures and the arts

Collaborative modes of research and their cross-fertilizations

  • Action research, convergence science, community-engaged research
  • Collaboration between different knowledge systems, including activism and art
  • The relationship of inter- and transdisciplinary research with interprofessional collaboration
  • Power structures and conflict

Harnessing experience and knowledge gained from inter- and transdisciplinary projects and programs

  • Innovative cases
  • Multi-case studies
  • Mission-oriented programs
  • Practices /methods / tools
  • Evaluation and assessment

2. Growing the capacity for inter- and transdisciplinarity

You are not limited to, but encouraged to address the following:

Mapping the field: Why capacity building for inter- and transdisciplinarity?

  • Benefits for trainers, students, and life-long learners
  • Benefits for institutions and society
  • Career perspectives in and beyond the academic system
  • The roles of peers and ‘integration experts’
  • Enlarging the community of practice, or: Growing collaborative networks
  • Importance of inter- and transdisciplinarity in the context of future skills (oecd)

Internal and external motivation for inter- and transdisciplinarity

  • How to motivate researchers and educators to work and teach across boundaries
  • What if seats at the table remain empty? Or: Mitigating collaborative deficiencies
  • Is inter- and transdisciplinarity for everyone?
  • Research grants for inter- and transdisciplinarity

Intersectional approaches to inter- and transdisciplinary capacity building

  • Interrelations and differences between the Global North and the Global South
  • Regional differences within the Global North and the Global South
  • Inter- and transdisciplinarity in different contexts
  • Pathways to epistemic justice
  • Practices of epistemic humility

Transformation of universities for enabling inter- and transdisciplinary education

  • Forms of institutionalization and their promises
  • The roles of funders and funding schemes for research and capacity building
  • Publishing, peer review, and evaluation of inter- and transdisciplinary research
  • The role of tenure, reward, and supervision in capacity building
  • Models for the governance of inter- and transdisciplinarity
  • Roles of the multifarious agents involved in organizational change
  • Staff and students challenging the academic status quo

3. Broadening and deepening education and training in inter- and transdisciplinarity

You are not limited to, but encouraged to address the following:

Inter- and transdisciplinary higher education muscles: What do we train?

  • Linking and fostering individual, social, and societal learning processes
  • Pedagogical and didactic elements of strong and resilient inter- and transdisciplinary education
  • Transformative learning for societal transformation
  • The ‘expert’ in inter- and transdisciplinary education—teacher or student, or both
  • Collective thinking and action leading to mutual learning and transformation

Teaching and learning with vocabularies, toolkits, and other ‘immutable mobiles’: How do we train?

  • The key role of integrative research methodologies in inter- and transdisciplinary education
  • Teaching research collaboration vs. teaching integrative thinking
  • Educational (digital) tools to work inter- and transdisciplinarily and teach inter- and transdisciplinarity
  • Guiding principles for, and best practices of, teacher professionalization for inter- and transdisciplinarity
  • Fluid identities: Teaching the teacher and peer-to-peer training
  • Students as future integration experts

Research of inter- and transdisciplinary education

  • What works? Design principles for inter- and transdisciplinary higher education
  • Towards value-driven educational research, implementation, and evaluation
  • The potential of inter- and transdisciplinary to critique the status quo in education
  • Oscillation between research-informed education and practice-informed educational research
  • Oscillation between discipline-based educational research and scholarship of integration
  • The science of team-science applied to educational contexts

Formats for contributions

Session (in person)
Sessions will run for 60 minutes. To propose a session, provide a title and a brief description of the content and session design (up to 1000 words). Sessions can take various formats, such as presentations, panel discussions, impulse talks, or discussion formats. We encourage integration of contributors from diverse backgrounds and exploration of innovative formats.

Presentation (in person)
Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes. The organizers will group presentations into sessions lasting 60 or 90 minutes. Each session will feature multiple presentations with 5–10 minutes allocated for discussion. Please submit a title and a 500-word maximum abstract.

Poster or installation (hybrid)

  • Classical posters (on paper and as PDF)
  • Installations (tangible objects with explanations or questions)
  • Artistic contributions related to inter- and transdisciplinary processes
  • Key questions or challenges for discussion presented in an aesthetically appealing form
  • Stand-up science and philosophy
  • Other forms of exhibits

Posters, key questions, and installations will be on display throughout ITD24 and, if suitable for online presentation, online. Please provide a title and a 500-word maximum abstract, including format description. For installations, contact the conference office to confirm feasibility.

Workshop (in person)
Activities of joint thinking and action can form the basis of workshops of 60 or 90 minutes. The format is flexible but should not exceed 20-30 minutes of presentation, and participants should have an active role. Propose a workshop with a title and an outline of content and design (up to 1200 words). Feel free to reach out for collaborative workshop development.

Training (in person)
Propose a 90-minute interactive training session on a specific method, tool, approach, or topic. Submit a title, learning goals, and an outline of the content and the training design (up to 1200 words). Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to collaborate with us in developing a training.

Short videos (online)
Submit an abstract for a video ranging from 1 to 7 minutes, highlighting specific concepts, methods, research or teaching projects, key questions for reflection, or other content related to collaborative research and education. The videos will be made available online during the conference. Provide a title and a 500-word maximum abstract.

Open Format
Throughout the conference, we welcome interventions, performances, presentations, and exhibitions that transcend verbal communication and don’t fit into the above categories. Special exhibition and performance locations may be needed; contact the ITD 2024 office for opportunities and requirements.

Networking event
For establishing and consolidating existing and new networks on inter- and transdisciplinarity during ITD24, please contact the ITD 2024 office directly.

ITD24 submission process

Just like in previous ITD Conferences, submissions will be processed through ConfTool.

Please upload your abstract using our ITD24 template (see download below)

Important dates

  • Extended deadline for abstract submission: March 14, 2024
  • Notice of acceptance: early May 2024. 
  • On-site conference with hybrid components: November 4 – 8, 2024

For any questions regarding the submission process or the Call for Contributions in general, please contact