Working with interdisciplinarity - Experiences and ideas

Image of planet Earth

Across the research and policy landscape there have been recurrent calls for inter- and transdisciplinary research related to sustainability and resilience. Many inspirational tools and talks have been developed and all Danish universities now engage, in some way or another, in sustainability research with an interdisciplinary outlook.

As so much energy, money, and effort are put into interdisciplinary work, we owe ourselves and each other to harness the experiences drawn from all these different initiatives as we think of ways to improve our interdisciplinary engagements.

Sharing experiences and best practice across disciplines

Together, we will discuss and reflect on questions of inclusion, participant obligations, expectations, and the freedom to shape interdisciplinary projects. We start out by presenting reflections from UCPH's recently finalized project, the Transformation Labs, which sought to bring together stakeholders and researchers from across the globe to produce concrete ideas for sustainable transformation.

Our focus, however, is not on the final product or outcome of this project, but on the process of planning, executing, and finalizing this interdisciplinary and global experiment. From here, we wish to venture into a more general dialogue with you on how we can utilize this and similar experiences to enhance future interdisciplinary engagements.

We therefore invite you to join us for an afternoon of reflection and exchange of experiences and know-how. The seminar is highly relevant to everyone engaged in inter- and transdisciplinary projects, but also useful for those simply seeking inspiration. Find information on the full program below. 


The Working with interdisciplinarity event is open to all, but sign-up is required due to limited space. The principle of "first come, first served" applies. Deadline: 15 March 2024.

Sign up here


14.00: Welcome

  • Background for Transformation Labs (Professor Katherine Richardson)
  • The planning process – challenges and practicalities (Postdoc Nina Toudal Jessen)
  • The Transformation Labs and Idea Catalog: A case for transdisciplinary and global conversations (Academic Officer Rune Larsen)

14.30: Q&A


14.45: Discussions - How should we conduct (global) inter- and transdisciplinary projects and collaborations?

  • How do we align expectations?
  • Inclusion and exclusion
  • Who, how, and when does it stop?
  • How do we mediate between disciplines?
  • Participant obligations, expectations, and the freedom to shape a process
  • Co-production and participant engagement
  • Managing expectations – own and others’
  • Reflections on authorship in a transdisciplinary process

16:00: Wrap-up and time for snacks, drinks, and networking


For questions, please reach out to organizers and moderators 

Rune Larsen
Nina Toudal Jessen

About Transformation Labs

Transformation Labs (TL) was an explorative online process that served as a laboratory for testing ideas, problems, and proposals that can fast-track research for sustainable development. The goal was to identify research that can advance sustainable socio-ecological transformations within the planetary boundaries.

Transformation Labs was hosted by the University of Copenhagen and led by Professor Katherine Richardson. It was supported by the Future Earth network and a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. To ensure alignment with global sustainability initiatives, members of the 2023 Independent Group of Scientists preparing the 2023 UN Global Sustainable Development Report contributed to the opening sessions of the Transformation Labs.

An idea catalog was the outcome aimed at policymakers and people who work practice-oriented. The Transformation Labs process was brought forward with the intention to rethink the conventional format of scientific congresses and to identify research-based ideas for sustainable transformation, by highlighting tangible and sciencebased starting points for implementation.

The most promising ideas were compiled into this catalog, which was then circulated among a range of experts, scientists, practitioners, and policymakers engaged with sustainable transformation in various fields.

Read more and download the catalog here