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.

Natural Sciences and Technology

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:

 Biodiversity preservation in mountain area, Piedmont, Italy

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

  • Core analytical tool: dynamic equations modelling
  • Core social partners: public officials from the energy region Weiz-Gleisdorf
  • Reference:
    • Binder, Cl. R. 2014. TERIM : Transition Dynamics in Energy Regions : an Integrated Model for Sustainable Policies. Final Project Report, 29 June 2014.

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


Biomedical 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

Quantative data collection and analysis

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:

Multi-criteria assessment of renewable energy options in Austria

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:

Well-being of immigrants in Albuquerque, United States

Qualitative data collection and analysis

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:
    • Lavorel, S., Colloff, M. J., Locatelli, B., Gorddard, R., Prober, S. M., Gabillet, M., … & Peyrache-Gadeau, V. (2019). Mustering the power of ecosystems for adaptation to climate change. Environmental Science & Policy, 92, 87-97.

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

  • Core analytical tool: social geographical mapping (adapting David Lynch)
  • Core social partners: citizens
  • References
    • Foshag, K., Aeschbach, N., Höfle, B., Winkler, R., Siegmund, A., & Aeschbach, W. (2020). Viability of public spaces in cities under increasing heat: A transdisciplinary approach. Sustainable Cities and Society, 102215.

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:


Use of creative works to promote nature protection

  • Core analytical tool: literary analysis
  • Core social partners: Contemporary writers
  • References
    • Website of the Land Lines project:
    • Higgins, D., Somervell, T., & Clark, N. (2020). Introduction: Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change. Humanities 9(3), 94 (open access)

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

  • Core analytical tool: literary analysis
  • Core social partners: natural scientists and indigeneous writers
  • References
    • Wendt’s, A., & Rapongan’s, S. (2017). Radiation ecologies, resistance and survivance on Pacific Islands. Adamson J. and Davis, M. (eds.). Humanities for the Environment: Integrating knowledge, forging new constellations of practice. Routledge, pp. 165.

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

  • Core analytical tool < historical analysis
  • Core social partners: natural park managers
  • References


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

  • Core analytical tool: legal analysis of contracts
  • Core social partners: managers of microbial culture collections
  • References
    • Dijkshoorn, L., De Vos, P., and Dedeurwaerdere, T., 2010, Understanding patterns of use and scientific opportunities in the emerging global microbial commons, Research in Microbiology 161(6): 407-413.
    • Dedeurwaerdere, T., 2010, Global microbial commons: institutional challenges for the global exchange and distribution of microorganisms in the life sciences, Research in Microbiology. 161(6): 414-421.

Equity in access to healthy housing infrastructure and neighbourhoods

Methodological overviews of knowledge integration tools

Natural sciences and technology

Design thinking for developping nature based solutions

  • DeLosRíos-White, M. I., Roebeling, P., Valente, S., & Vaittinen, I. (2020). Mapping the life cycle co-creation process of nature-based solutions for urban climate change adaptation.


Community health epidemiology

  • Puska, P., Salonen, J. T., Tuomilehto, J., Nissinen, A., & Kottke, T. E. (1983). Evaluating community-based preventive cardiovascular programs: Problems and experiences from the North Karelia Project. Journal of community health, 9(1), 49-64.

Quantitative data collection and analysis

Participatory multi-criteria analysis

  • Andersson-Sköld, Y., Klingberg, J., Gunnarsson, B., Cullinane, K., Gustafsson, I., Hedblom, M., … & Thorsson, P. (2018). A framework for assessing urban greenery’s effects and valuing its ecosystem services. Journal of Environmental Management, 205, 274-285.

Combining scenarios and participatory multi-criteria analysis

  • Kowalski, K., Stagl, S., Madlener, R., & Omann, I. (2009). Sustainable energy futures: Methodological challenges in combining scenarios and participatory multi-criteria analysis. European Journal of Operational Research, 197(3), 1063-1074.

Qualitative data collection and analysis

Real-world Laboratories

  • Beecroft, R., Trenks, H., Rhodius, R., Benighaus, C., & Parodi, O. (2018). Reallabore als Rahmen transformativer und transdisziplinärer Forschung: Ziele und Designprinzipien. In Transdisziplinär und transformativ forschen (pp. 75-100). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.


Environmental humanities

  • Kueffer, C., Thelen Lässer, K., & Hall, M. (2017). Applying the environmental humanities: Ten steps for action and implementation. GAIA, January 2017.

Legal research

Emprical turn in legal scholarship

  • Shaffer, G., & Ginsburg, T. (2012). The empirical turn in international legal scholarship. American Journal of International Law, 106(1), 1-46.


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

Personal website