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Large-scale transdisciplinary collaboration for adaptation research: Challenges and insights

Large-scale transdisciplinary collaboration for adaptation research: Challenges and insights
Large-scale transdisciplinary collaboration for adaptation research: Challenges and insights
An increasing number of research programs seek to support adaptation to climate change through the engagement of large-scale transdisciplinary networks that span countries and continents. While transdisciplinary research processes have been a topic of reflection, practice and refinement for some time, these trends now mean that the global change research community needs to reflect and learn how to pursue collaborative research on a large scale. This paper shares insights from a seven-year climate change adaptation research program that supported collaboration between more than 450 researchers and practitioners across four consortia and seventeen countries. The experience confirms the importance of attention to careful design for transdisciplinary collaboration, but also highlights that this alone is not enough. The success of well-designed transdisciplinary research processes is also strongly influenced by relational and systemic features of collaborative relationships. Relational features include inter-personal trust, mutual respect, and leadership styles, while systemic features include legal partnership agreements, power asymmetries between partners, and institutional values and cultures. In the new arena of large-scale collaborative science efforts, enablers of transdisciplinary collaboration include dedicated project coordinators, leaders at multiple levels and the availability of small amounts of flexible funds to enable nimble responses to opportunities and unexpected collaborations.
Cundill, Georgina
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Blane, Harvey
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Tebboth, Mark
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Cochrane, Logan
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Currie-Alder, Bruce
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Vincent, Katharine
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Lawn, Jonathan
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Nicholls, Robert
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Scodanibbio, Lucia
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Prakash, Anjal
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New, Mark
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Wester, Phillipus
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Leone, Michele
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Morchain, Daniel
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Ludi, Eva
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DeMaria-Kinney, Jesse
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Khan, Ahmed
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Landry, Marie-Eve
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Cundill, Georgina
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Blane, Harvey
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Tebboth, Mark
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Cochrane, Logan
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Currie-Alder, Bruce
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Vincent, Katharine
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Lawn, Jonathan
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Nicholls, Robert
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Scodanibbio, Lucia
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Prakash, Anjal
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New, Mark
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Wester, Phillipus
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Leone, Michele
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Morchain, Daniel
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Ludi, Eva
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DeMaria-Kinney, Jesse
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Khan, Ahmed
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Landry, Marie-Eve
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Cundill, Georgina, Blane, Harvey, Tebboth, Mark, Cochrane, Logan, Currie-Alder, Bruce, Vincent, Katharine, Lawn, Jonathan, Nicholls, Robert, Scodanibbio, Lucia, Prakash, Anjal, New, Mark, Wester, Phillipus, Leone, Michele, Morchain, Daniel, Ludi, Eva, DeMaria-Kinney, Jesse, Khan, Ahmed and Landry, Marie-Eve (2019) Large-scale transdisciplinary collaboration for adaptation research: Challenges and insights. Global Challenges, 3 (4). (doi:10.1002/gch2.201700132).

Record type: Article

Abstract

An increasing number of research programs seek to support adaptation to climate change through the engagement of large-scale transdisciplinary networks that span countries and continents. While transdisciplinary research processes have been a topic of reflection, practice and refinement for some time, these trends now mean that the global change research community needs to reflect and learn how to pursue collaborative research on a large scale. This paper shares insights from a seven-year climate change adaptation research program that supported collaboration between more than 450 researchers and practitioners across four consortia and seventeen countries. The experience confirms the importance of attention to careful design for transdisciplinary collaboration, but also highlights that this alone is not enough. The success of well-designed transdisciplinary research processes is also strongly influenced by relational and systemic features of collaborative relationships. Relational features include inter-personal trust, mutual respect, and leadership styles, while systemic features include legal partnership agreements, power asymmetries between partners, and institutional values and cultures. In the new arena of large-scale collaborative science efforts, enablers of transdisciplinary collaboration include dedicated project coordinators, leaders at multiple levels and the availability of small amounts of flexible funds to enable nimble responses to opportunities and unexpected collaborations.

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Draft_19 March2018_GC - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 21 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 May 2018
Published date: April 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419140
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419140
PURE UUID: 4859540f-9033-4dae-b8bb-aa19a3dd0426
ORCID for Robert Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

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Date deposited: 06 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 02 Jul 2019 04:02

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Contributors

Author: Georgina Cundill
Author: Harvey Blane
Author: Mark Tebboth
Author: Logan Cochrane
Author: Bruce Currie-Alder
Author: Katharine Vincent
Author: Jonathan Lawn
Author: Robert Nicholls ORCID iD
Author: Lucia Scodanibbio
Author: Anjal Prakash
Author: Mark New
Author: Phillipus Wester
Author: Michele Leone
Author: Daniel Morchain
Author: Eva Ludi
Author: Jesse DeMaria-Kinney
Author: Ahmed Khan
Author: Marie-Eve Landry

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