About Us

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Mission & Values

We seek (1) to generate robust knowledge that effectively addresses consequential and multi-faceted social problems and opportunities and (2) to better understand the processes by which transdisciplinary teams can operate effectively across apparent boundaries including culture, language, distance, and interpersonal dynamics.

In the service of these aims, we value systems thinking, appreciation of complexity, capacity for multi-level thinking, as well as an inclination toward self-reflection and the ability to adopt the perspective of others.

The Nature of Problems and Opportunities

Some of the most consequential challenges faced by humanity possess common properties. They are:

  • Complex. They are the result of many distinct causes that produce multiple outcomes.
  • Layered. That is, they result from the interaction of systems that exist at the level of cells, individuals and organisms, groups, and institutions.
  • Multi-dimensional. They cannot be fully understood or addressed by any single discipline or perspective. As a result, they are:
  • Difficult to describe and theorize. This encourages researchers to break off a piece of the problem or opportunity, rather than grapple with the true complexity of the issue.
  • The product of human behaviors that can, in principle, be addressed via behavioral change.

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Transdisciplinary Research

Problems and opportunities that possess the characteristics described above demand responses that mirror those characteristics. Accordingly, transdisciplinary research between humanists, social scientists, and life scientists depends on learning the language, methods, and logic of the collaborating disciplines, collectively framing the problem or opportunity, then jointly devising a research plan that allows for the co-creation of solution-oriented knowledge and intervention practices. Thus, transdisciplinary research is a holistic approach to inquiry and understanding that is qualitatively different from the individual inputs represented in the practices of within-discipline researchers.