Research Partnerships for Social and Ecological Sustainability

 Thematic bibliography on knowledge integration tools

The aim of this web page is to gather references on in depth case studies of transdisciplinary research projects, and to provide some methodological overviews, with a focus on knowledge integration tools.

To facilitate the search for specific methods, the references are organized according to the scientific scientific methodology where knowledge co-production and knowledge integration was most actively implemented in the given case study.

In depth case presentations of transdisciplinary research projects

1. Use of analytic methods from natural sciences and engineering

Experimentation in the context of a socio-technical living lab

Electricity from solar concentrating collectors

Flood management through introducing urban green

  • Core analytical tool: flood resistance analysis of a real-world green infrastructure (“living lab”)
  • Core social partners: public officials from the city of Tampere, Finland
  • Reference:

Measurements and observations in real-world situations for understanding coupled natural and social systems

Biodiversity preservation in mountain area, Piedmont, Italy

Dynamic equations modelling of real-world situations for understanding coupled natural and social systems

Material flows (energy, water, materials) analysis of housing in Vaud and Zurich, Switzerland

Sustainable self-sufficient energy production and use in two Austrian Energy Regions

Multi-criteria assessment of bio-physical features for understanding coupled natural and social systems

Multi-criteria assessment of renewable energy options in Austria

Socio-ecological services from increasing urban green in Gothenburg

  • Core analytical tool: measurement of biophysical indicators of urban green, survey on perception of values of various socio-ecological services from urban green
  • Core social partners: urban planners, citizens
  • Reference:

2. Use of analytic methods from biomedical research

Epidemiological research

Obesity prevention in North Karelia, Finland

  • Core analytical tool: medical examinations coupled with epidemiological survey
  • Core social partners: health prevention organisations, health professionals
  • Reference:

Asthma incidence in Brooklyn (New-York State), United States

3. Use of analytic methods from human behavioural and social sciences

Quasi-experimental design

Well-being of immigrants in Albuquerque, United States

Close-ended survey questionnaires

Health and well-being of homeless people in Toronto, Canada

  • Core analytical tool: survey conducted by peer individuals from the homeless community
  • Core social partners: non-profit organisations for the homeless
  • Reference:

Open-ended survey questionnaires

Participant observation in real-world social interventions (“real-world laboratories”)

Re-designing 1950ies suburban dormitory towns

  • Core analytical tool: social geographical mapping
  • Core social partners: urban planners, citizens
  • Reference:

Climate change adaptation in mountain areas

  • Core analytical tool: windows of agency analysis
  • Core social partners: inhabitants of the mountain area
  • Reference:

Re-designing an urban square to deal excessive heat during heat waves

Sustainable mobility in Stuttgart, Germany

  • Core analytical tool: real-world laboratory: social interventions and triangulation of observational data from the interventions
  • Core social partners: citizens and non-profit organisations
  • References:
    • Knorr, Ch., Heydkamp, C. Denkanstösse für alternative mobilitätsressourcen der babyboomer. Synthesebericht. Reallabor für nachhaltige mobilitätskultur. Future City Lab. Universität Stuttgart.
    • Website: Reallabor für nachhaltige mobilitätskultur

Analytic methods from legal research

Implementation of the regime on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources

Equity in access to healthy housing infrastructure and neighbourhoods

4. Use of analytic methods from cultural sciences

Literary analysis

Use of creative works to promote nature protection

Nuclear colonisation of Asia-Pacif islands (orchid island etc.)

  • Core analytical tool: literary analysis
  • Core social partners: natural scientists and indigeneous writers
  • References

Creation of a nature park in the Northern Black Forest, Germany

Methodological overviews of knowledge integration tools

Use of analytic tools from the natural sciences and engineering

Design thinking for developping nature based solutions

Use of analytic tools from bio-medical research

Community health epidemiology

Use of analytic tools from the human behavioural and social sciences

Participatory multi-criteria analysis

Combining scenarios and participatory multi-criteria analysis

Real-world Laboratories

Empirical turn in legal scholarship

Use of analytic tools from the cultural sciences

Environmental humanities


Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Professor of Philosophy of Science and
Theory of Governance
Université catholique de Louvain

Personal website