In 2022 this project helped members of the Swiss Young Academy (SYA) with a challenge that researchers face not only at the beginning of their career but also during it: developing inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations with researchers from other disciplines.
We were able to facilitate the development of these collaborations within the SYA through the design and carrying out of a SYA-wide retreat in June 2022. In addition, we were able to connect members of the SYA Advisory Board who work in inter- and transdisciplinary fields to the SYA members through planned activities and exchange. Finally, we were able to bring representatives of the SNSF to provide more insight into funding for inter- and transdisciplinary research in Switzerland.
The project also aimed to develop a preliminary concept of a transdisciplinary output meant for public consumption, which would trigger discussions amongst citizens about current societal challenges and, at the same time, allow SYA members to explore their varying perspectives on topics of societal relevance through a diversity of disciplinary perspectives. The end goal was to develop an idea for a medium that could demonstrate the value of diverse perspectives to the public.
The tangible impacts of this project is that this retreat led directly to the generation of 3 new joint project proposals which were submitted last year. As a result of this retreat, a new preliminary concept for fostering transdisciplinary dialogue between science and science was formed. This manifested as a new joint project that aims to develop a pilot SYA podcast focused on exploring the theme of the energy transition through the various lenses of geopolitical conflict, music, law, engineering, policy design, human geography and other disciplinary perspectives, focused on a youth audience.
The intangible impacts of this projects have resulted in new networks that were developed during the retreat. We also created a concrete tie with the work that a Advisory Board member is doing (Adria LeBoeuf), as well as greater understanding and focus on inter-/transdisciplinary collaboration in research, as well as in dissemination activities with the public. We have also raised the attention of the SNSF for the SYA's interest in inter-/transdisciplinary research proposals through the organization of a panel (Annegret Lesslauer).
In addition to the preliminary concept that was developed for the SYA podcast, this retreat led directly to the generation of 9 other potential concepts for joint projects. Prior to this event, we had the possibility of generating projects only via online cafes (due to pandemic restrictions) and SYA needed a means of kicking off our network also with in-person brainstorming and idea generation. It was also the first in-person event of the SYA that included all members of the SYA where joint projects were discussed. It was a valuable experience in which SYA members were able to get to know each other better and seed an experience where deeper connections could be continued. This was an identify-forming event that was instrumental in creating a shared idea of why and who we are as the SYA. We believe that this shared identity may also contribute to future joint projects over a longer course of time. Also, as a result of this "proof of concept" event, further retreats have been planned as a part of the SYA, seeding a new mode of interaction within the organization.