Increasingly, academic research and the broader generation and sharing of knowledge are taking place not just across different disciplines within research performing organisations but among a much wider range of stakeholders who may have different forms of knowledge to offer. This requires both an acknowledgement and the active integration of different cultural and disciplinary perspectives. See also Improve Research Skills.

Resource Highlights

SHAPE-ID webinar Transdisciplinary Dialogues: Research partnerships for impact
Resources
Why societal partners might want to take part in research

Societal partners will be motivated by a very wide range of reasons, including geographic locality or a particular topic or theme. This diversity means that it is not possible to offer a comprehensive set of advice, but this and the following sections may give a few tips on why and how societal partners from four key groups might seek to engage with researchers.

This video – part of an online course on transdisciplinary research coordinated by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences – describes why collaboration between scientists, decision-makers and individuals is needed to address societal challenges.

This video is another part of the same online course on transdisciplinary research coordinated by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Participants at the 2019 International Transdisciplinary Conference explain why collaborative research including societal actors is needed to solve complex problems such as sustainability. 

In this short video Herman Brouwer, Senior advisor at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation talks about processes of collaboration between different groups of stakeholders.

link-icon

The Integrated Research Toolkit links theoretical and methodological guides and resources to concrete case studies, demonstrating clearly how to conduct research that involves a diversity of people contributing to a project.

link-icon

The research project TransImpact – Effective Transdisciplinary Research has published this brief summary of the evidence for improving the societal effectiveness of transdisciplinary research.

link-icon

The SUSPLACE Innovative Training Network research team have developed an open access toolkit of Arts-based methods for transformative engagement. It contains nearly 30 methods, practical examples, workshop outlines and tips for creative facilitation that can be used by facilitators of all experience levels, in education, community engagement, or business and professional settings.

 

link-icon

This website has been developed from the 10 years Mistra Urban Futures programme. It is a resource for urban planning, aimed at academics, practitioners, and policy makers striving to co-produce more just and sustainable urban areas. As well as material on knowledge co-production, the site also contains a useful collection of lessons learnt and a series of case studies.

document-icon

Drawing on almost 50 case studies of co-production research for sustainability in Ireland, this discussion paper by the Royal Irish Academy  highlights the benefits and challenges of co-production approaches. Although based in sustainability research, the discussion on how to build capacity for knowledge co-production is  relevant to many other disciplines.

link-icon

This i2S resource contains a lot of useful tips to make engagement more effective, including highlighting the problem of stakeholder exhaustion (in Five challenges and how to avoid them).

Partnerships with artists and creative practitioners
link-icon

This Nature article reflects on how to develop productive collaborations between artists and scientists.

 

link-icon

This blogpost gives practical advice on improving transdisciplinary arts-science partnerships.

link-icon

This episode of the Art+Science Salon focuses on the work of the transdisciplinary artist collective Multiplay, Science Gallery Dublin’s first artist in residence/remoteness.

The EU STARTS initiative (Science + Technology + Arts) aims to remove the boundaries between art and engineering to stimulate creativity and innovation. Its website includes links to project videos.

link-icon

Artsformation is a research project exploring the intersection between arts, society and technology. It aims to understand, analyse, and promote the ways in which the Arts can reinforce the social, cultural, economic, and political benefits of digital transformation.

link-icon

Accelerator is an exhibition space where art, science and societal issues meet. It is part of Stockholm University. 

link-icon

In this blogpost the Center for Complexity illustrates how artists and designers can apply creative problem solving to address some of the world’s most critical and intractable challenges.

link-icon

Beyond Text is a collaborative international project concerned with bringing arts-based practice research into education. It supports practitioners and researchers from all disciplines within universities, as well as those from professions and organisations, to use the arts to conduct high quality research, assessment and evaluation through practice, not only text.

link-icon

In this blog, researcher Diaa Ahmed Mohamed Ahmedien discusses his model of interactive art as  a means of integration or science outreach rather than entertainment.

link-icon

This paper provides a classification framework, developed in Belgium, differentiating between research about art, art as research and art in research. It is published in Art/Research International, a forum dedicated to exploring and advancing art as and/or within the research process across disciplines and internationally.

 

Partnerships with citizens
link-icon

The term co-creation is often used to describe citizens’ participation in research. This blogpost reflects on what it means and how it differs from participation. 

link-icon

This research provides important lessons about how to fund, conduct and sustain high quality research collaborations between academics and civil society in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

link-icon

Citizen science is a form of collaboration between scientists and members of the public. This open access book chapter reviews the participatory methods used in such projects.

 

link-icon

The EU has developed a platform providing learning resources as well as concrete project examples of Citizen Science.

link-icon

This video gives an example of citizen science and stakeholder involvement in a sustainable forestry project in Liege (French with English sub-titles)

link-icon

Amsterdam has made its City Data open source so that all citizens can access the information, and anyone can add further data sets to the collection. City Data is available online (in Dutch) and is easy to search and download.

link-icon

The Play the City project designs games for collaborative decision making, using them to bring policy makers, commercial actors, and citizens together to solve problems.

link-icon

This article describes a collaborative research project undertaken a service user-led Coalition of Disabled People, an English local authority and the local university. Disabled citizens became researchers on the project, using arts-based methods to interview other disabled people.

 

link-icon

This report from a project called COESO (connecting research and society) highlights challenges in finding funding calls for citizen science in SSH disciplines and provides recommendations for funders that resonate with some of those from SHAPE-ID.

Partnerships with enterprise
document-icon

This report reflects on the Creativeworks London Creative Voucher scheme which established mechanisms for collaborations between creative small, medium and micro-sized enterprises and higher education institutions.

link-icon

The Acumen Academy offers this course on addressing complex problems with systems practice.

link-icon

This 2020 workshop discussed how social science humanities and arts researchers can collaborate with external partners from enterprise politics and civil society. The lesson learned document available at the bottom of the website includes a section on promoting entrepreneurship. 

link-icon

The Arts and Humanities Entrepreneurship Hubs project aims to develop a tailored Arts and Humanities entrepreneurship model that improves the long-term entrepreneurial prospects for arts and humanities students.

document-icon
The CO-CREATE Handbook was developed based on insights of a project involving partners from academia and industry in five European countries. It explains their approach to cross-disciplinary co-creation and provides a guide to running Train-the-Trainer workshops in co-design. 
document-icon
This best practice report provides examples of different settings of creative industries and design, as well as the different scopes of co-design, and synthesises commonalities amongst the best practices.
Partnerships with the voluntary sector/NGOs
link-icon

START, the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training collaborates with a range of NGOs and other societal actors to inspire solutions to critical sustainability challenges. These case studies describe some of its work.

This video introduces a collaboration between a voluntary organization, industry and government on the circular economy of organic waste in Brussels (in French with English sub-titles).

link-icon

This blogpost outlines the factors that researchers should consider when engaging with civil society organisations/NGOs. 

link-icon

This blogpost discusses some of the issues that may arise when academics and NGOs work together and suggests some practical solutions.

document-icon

Relationships between researchers and NGOs is an important topic for those working in international development. This report introduces some of the key issues that arise when working collaboratively and suggests tools and activities to help you to critically reflect on them.

Forming research partnerships with societal groups

In this SHAPE-ID webinar, Transdisciplinary Dialogues: Research Partnerships for Impact, panellists engaged in transdisciplinary work bridging research and society discuss the importance, benefits and challenges of building transdisciplinary partnerships and co-creation, with examples from their own sectors and projects.

link-icon

We often struggle to find a suitable, all-encompassing term for the myriad groups and individuals with whom academic researchers might wish to partner in their research.  In this blog, Antonietta Di Giulio and Rico Defila debate how we might describe these “others” and, significantly, the implications this might have for how we conceptualise their participation.

document-icon

In this brochure, researchers share their experiences of working in a large scale interdisciplinary research programme that placed significant importance on researchers working closely with and engaging stakeholders – to ensure research was grounded in the realities of the countryside and for the research findings and outcomes to be policy-relevant and applicable to rural areas and the people who live there.

link-icon

In this policy brief, SHAPE-ID colleagues highlight some of the human and political factors that also play a part in forming partnerships and in influencing whether and how research evidence finds its way into policy.

document-icon

We have also produced a series of questions to consider at the start of a collaboration.

Successfully share knowledge between different types of partners

A wide variety of online tools exist to promote stakeholder engagement and share knowledge between partners.

link-icon

The td-net toolbox offers methods and tools specifically focused on jointly developing projects, conducting research and exploring ways to produce impact in impact in groups involving various societal partners.

link-icon

This Open Access book shows how the tools developed by td-net can be used in the three phases of a transdisciplinary research process: identifying and structuring the problem, analyzing the problem and bringing results to fruition.

link-icon

The Stakeholder Engagement Handbook offers a practical guide for researchers seeking to identify relevant stakeholders to engage with in order to enhance the impact of their work. The Handbook draws upon existing literature and presents case studies that provide clear, simple guidance, which considers ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ to engage.

link-icon

The Community Tool Box is a public service of the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas offering tools and resources for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change.

link-icon

The TEFCE (Towards a European Framework for Community Engagement in HE) Toolbox provides tools for universities and communities to identify community engagement practices and reflect on their achievements and room for improvement.

link-icon

The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative is a research and outreach collective that is housed in Michigan State University’s Center for Interdisciplinarity whose activities include structured workshops to facilitate communication and collaboration between partners.

link-icon

The SHAPE ENERGY project has developed facilitation guidelines for interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder processes using storytelling

document-icon

SHAPE-ID has produced a short list of questions for individuals and groups to consider at the beginning of a specific research project.

link-icon

See also toolbox resource section Integrate Different Disciplines under Improve Research Skills.

link-icon

See also toolbox resource section Learn to Communicate with Different Audiences under Disseminate Research Findings.