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International Workshop on ‘Integrated Global Change Research: co-designing knowledge across scientific fields’

an ISSC-NKGCF-ESSP-ICSU event, supported by DFG
7-9 March 2012

Discussions about stronger integration of research from different disciplines are becoming increasingly prominent, as science is expected to deliver knowledge to address complex societal challenges like global change. Integrated global change research doesn’t solely establish a link between scientific disciplines though. It engages user communities, activists, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders from around the world in the co-design and the co-production of knowledge, using integrated methods and concepts.

Yet the concept of integration remains unclear: it means different things to different people in different contexts. To address this problem, the ISSC together with the German National Committee on Global Change Research (NKGCF), the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), with the support of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), convened an international workshop to discuss some of the fundamentals of integrated research and its corresponding methodology.

In a series of keynote addresses, case studies and breakout discussion groups, workshop participants exchanged views and examples of best practices of scientific integration (between disciplines), international integration (between countries and regions), and sectoral integration (between different stakeholders).

Discussions highlighted:

The workshop organisers and funders

  • the need and value of co-design and integration throughout a project, from start (including in the definition of a problem) to end;
  • the need for clear definitions of the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, to enable fair participation and prevent power imbalances between them;
  • the need to concretise and define the ‘societal stakeholders’ specific to each project.

Further information on the workshop and its outcomes is available in the workshop flyer.

Workshop outcomes will feed into the design of the 10-year research initiative “Future Earth – Research for Global sustainability”, currently being developed by the ISSC, ICSU and the Belmont Forum, together with UNU, UNEP, UNESCO and WMO as an observer.

For further information on the ISSC’s work on sustainability and global change, including the design of a 10-year global research funding and coordination programme on climate and global environmental change research for the social sciences, click here.