Interdisciplinary production of knowledge with participation of stakeholders: A case study of a collaborative project on climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas

Guillermo P Podesta, Claudia E. Natenzon, Cecilia Hidalgo, Fernando Ruiz Toranzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a growing perception that science is not responding adequately to the global challenges of the 21st century. Addressing complicated, "wicked" current and future environmental issues requires insights and methods from many disciplines. Furthermore, to reach social robustness in a context of uncertainty and multiple values and objectives, participation of relevant social actors is required. As a consequence, interdisciplinary research teams with stakeholder or practitioner involvement are becoming an emerging pattern for the organization of integrative scientific research or integrated assessments. Nevertheless, still there is need to learn from actual experiences that bring together decision makers and scholars from different disciplines. This paper draws lessons from a self-reflective study of the collaborative process in two interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multinational research teams addressing linkages between climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas. During project design, attention must be placed on team composition, ensuring not only that the needed talents are included, but also recruiting investigators with an open attitude toward interdisciplinary interaction. As the project begins, considerable effort must be dedicated to shared problem definition and development of a common language. Simple conceptual models and considerable redundancy in communication are helpful. As a project evolves, diverging institutional incentives, tensions between academic publication and outreach or policy-relevant outputs, disciplinary biases, and personality issues play increasingly important roles. Finally, toward a project's end the challenge arises of assessing interdisciplinary, integrative work. The lack of consensus on criteria for assessment of results is often ranked as a major practical difficulty of this kind of research. Despite many efforts to describe and characterize collaborative research on complex problems, conditions for success (including the very definition of "success") remain to be rigorously grounded on actual cases. Toward this goal, we argue that a self-reflective process to identify and intervene on factors that foster or impede cooperative production of knowledge should be an essential component of integrated assessments involving scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Volume26
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Fingerprint

agricultural ecosystem
stakeholder
climate
participation
project design
twenty first century
environmental issue
self-study
interdisciplinary research
incentive
social actor
redundancy
communication
decision maker
personality
uncertainty
organization
project
decision
lack

Keywords

  • Integrated assessment
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Natural/human systems
  • Participatory research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

@article{c5108e5a14e34edaab7b40b607f3e05b,
title = "Interdisciplinary production of knowledge with participation of stakeholders: A case study of a collaborative project on climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas",
abstract = "There is a growing perception that science is not responding adequately to the global challenges of the 21st century. Addressing complicated, {"}wicked{"} current and future environmental issues requires insights and methods from many disciplines. Furthermore, to reach social robustness in a context of uncertainty and multiple values and objectives, participation of relevant social actors is required. As a consequence, interdisciplinary research teams with stakeholder or practitioner involvement are becoming an emerging pattern for the organization of integrative scientific research or integrated assessments. Nevertheless, still there is need to learn from actual experiences that bring together decision makers and scholars from different disciplines. This paper draws lessons from a self-reflective study of the collaborative process in two interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multinational research teams addressing linkages between climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas. During project design, attention must be placed on team composition, ensuring not only that the needed talents are included, but also recruiting investigators with an open attitude toward interdisciplinary interaction. As the project begins, considerable effort must be dedicated to shared problem definition and development of a common language. Simple conceptual models and considerable redundancy in communication are helpful. As a project evolves, diverging institutional incentives, tensions between academic publication and outreach or policy-relevant outputs, disciplinary biases, and personality issues play increasingly important roles. Finally, toward a project's end the challenge arises of assessing interdisciplinary, integrative work. The lack of consensus on criteria for assessment of results is often ranked as a major practical difficulty of this kind of research. Despite many efforts to describe and characterize collaborative research on complex problems, conditions for success (including the very definition of {"}success{"}) remain to be rigorously grounded on actual cases. Toward this goal, we argue that a self-reflective process to identify and intervene on factors that foster or impede cooperative production of knowledge should be an essential component of integrated assessments involving scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.",
keywords = "Integrated assessment, Interdisciplinarity, Natural/human systems, Participatory research",
author = "Podesta, {Guillermo P} and Natenzon, {Claudia E.} and Cecilia Hidalgo and {Ruiz Toranzo}, Fernando",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.008",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "26",
pages = "40--48",
journal = "Environmental Science and Policy",
issn = "1462-9011",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Interdisciplinary production of knowledge with participation of stakeholders

T2 - A case study of a collaborative project on climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas

AU - Podesta, Guillermo P

AU - Natenzon, Claudia E.

AU - Hidalgo, Cecilia

AU - Ruiz Toranzo, Fernando

PY - 2013/2

Y1 - 2013/2

N2 - There is a growing perception that science is not responding adequately to the global challenges of the 21st century. Addressing complicated, "wicked" current and future environmental issues requires insights and methods from many disciplines. Furthermore, to reach social robustness in a context of uncertainty and multiple values and objectives, participation of relevant social actors is required. As a consequence, interdisciplinary research teams with stakeholder or practitioner involvement are becoming an emerging pattern for the organization of integrative scientific research or integrated assessments. Nevertheless, still there is need to learn from actual experiences that bring together decision makers and scholars from different disciplines. This paper draws lessons from a self-reflective study of the collaborative process in two interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multinational research teams addressing linkages between climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas. During project design, attention must be placed on team composition, ensuring not only that the needed talents are included, but also recruiting investigators with an open attitude toward interdisciplinary interaction. As the project begins, considerable effort must be dedicated to shared problem definition and development of a common language. Simple conceptual models and considerable redundancy in communication are helpful. As a project evolves, diverging institutional incentives, tensions between academic publication and outreach or policy-relevant outputs, disciplinary biases, and personality issues play increasingly important roles. Finally, toward a project's end the challenge arises of assessing interdisciplinary, integrative work. The lack of consensus on criteria for assessment of results is often ranked as a major practical difficulty of this kind of research. Despite many efforts to describe and characterize collaborative research on complex problems, conditions for success (including the very definition of "success") remain to be rigorously grounded on actual cases. Toward this goal, we argue that a self-reflective process to identify and intervene on factors that foster or impede cooperative production of knowledge should be an essential component of integrated assessments involving scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.

AB - There is a growing perception that science is not responding adequately to the global challenges of the 21st century. Addressing complicated, "wicked" current and future environmental issues requires insights and methods from many disciplines. Furthermore, to reach social robustness in a context of uncertainty and multiple values and objectives, participation of relevant social actors is required. As a consequence, interdisciplinary research teams with stakeholder or practitioner involvement are becoming an emerging pattern for the organization of integrative scientific research or integrated assessments. Nevertheless, still there is need to learn from actual experiences that bring together decision makers and scholars from different disciplines. This paper draws lessons from a self-reflective study of the collaborative process in two interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multinational research teams addressing linkages between climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas. During project design, attention must be placed on team composition, ensuring not only that the needed talents are included, but also recruiting investigators with an open attitude toward interdisciplinary interaction. As the project begins, considerable effort must be dedicated to shared problem definition and development of a common language. Simple conceptual models and considerable redundancy in communication are helpful. As a project evolves, diverging institutional incentives, tensions between academic publication and outreach or policy-relevant outputs, disciplinary biases, and personality issues play increasingly important roles. Finally, toward a project's end the challenge arises of assessing interdisciplinary, integrative work. The lack of consensus on criteria for assessment of results is often ranked as a major practical difficulty of this kind of research. Despite many efforts to describe and characterize collaborative research on complex problems, conditions for success (including the very definition of "success") remain to be rigorously grounded on actual cases. Toward this goal, we argue that a self-reflective process to identify and intervene on factors that foster or impede cooperative production of knowledge should be an essential component of integrated assessments involving scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.

KW - Integrated assessment

KW - Interdisciplinarity

KW - Natural/human systems

KW - Participatory research

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84871712315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84871712315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.008

DO - 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.008

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84871712315

VL - 26

SP - 40

EP - 48

JO - Environmental Science and Policy

JF - Environmental Science and Policy

SN - 1462-9011

ER -