Networking science.

The Swiss Young Academy networks young researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines and creates an inspiring environment for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange and innovative ideas. Its members are the representatives of Swiss science and are regarded as the young voice of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Fostering Transdisciplinary Collaborations for Change

This project aims to help members of the Swiss Young Academy (SYA) to foster inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations with researchers from diverse disciplines in order to contribute to societal challenges.


Transdisciplinary (TD) research is a mode of collaborative, interdisciplinary knowledge production aimed at contributing to real-world problems (Pohl and Hirsch Hadorn 2007, Hirsch Hadorn et al. 2008, Lang et al. 2012). TD research is built upon two assumptions: 1) Science can and should play a part in untangling societal dilemmas, and 2) a diverse knowledge base is needed to solve these problems - an openness to crossing disciplinary boundaries and finding ways of effectively working with diverse perspectives of key societal actors are assumed. TD is just one of many approaches in which research is put to the service of confronting societal challenges. Others include action research, mode 2 research, emancipatory research, implementation science and other forms of participatory research. Within the landscape of TD research itself, a rich variety of approaches and perspectives also exist.



  • To build a space for exchanging how different members of the SYA, belonging to different disciplines, approach key concepts that are important to each of the members,
  • To clarify what are the core concepts that connect their work,
  • To identify different methodologies, frameworks and tools they use to develop these concepts,
  • To initiate key action steps both within and outside of academia that could help them make transdisciplinary contributions accessible both within and beyond academia.


Planned activities

This project intends to provide all members of the SYA the opportunity to meet in an informal setting during a three-day, two-night retreat  in order to facilitate an intellectual exchange of how each of them approaches scientific research and how they imagine that their scientific work contributes to societal outcomes. Additionally, they will develop "transdisciplinary tandem talks" in which two or three members of the SYA will present how they approach identified concepts, e.g. "freedom", "sustainable development", etc. from different disciplinary perspectives, in cooperation with td-net or as a stand-alone event, accessible to the public. Additionally, they would like to initiate the process of creating a transdisciplinary publication (print and open access) that is the ouput of the discussions and tandem talks. The project will also initiate the first steps towards setting up a “SYA TD collaboration platform” that helps members to find collaborators for inter- and trans-disciplinary research grant opportunities.

Project Group

Elisa Araldi

Aimée Zermatten

Gustavo Augustin Ruiz Buendia

Luis Velasco-Pufleau

Fanny Georgi