Stakeholder Involvement in Transdisciplinary Research: Lessons from Three Projects on Sustainable Land Management in a North-South Setting
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Laura Schmidt, Korbinian Hartberger, Susanne Kobbe, Thomas Falk, Maren Wesselow, Charlotte Schumann. (1/1/2018). Stakeholder Involvement in Transdisciplinary Research: Lessons from Three Projects on Sustainable Land Management in a North-South Setting. GAiA, 27(3), pp. 312-320.
Sustainability problems call for collaborative solution finding. Lessons learnt from the transdisciplinary designs of three projects in the Global South include the need for a prephase to build balanced ownership, institutionalised and equal partnerships, and diversified approaches. Stakeholder (SH) involvement is a major and ever-challenging aspect of transdisciplinary research (TDR). Reflecting on three land management research projects (Carbiocial, SuLaMa, TFO) in a North-South setting, we present their individual approaches for SH involvement and discuss which SH group was involved, when and why. We identify patterns and share lessons learnt that can serve to design TDR projects in general and in a North-South context specifically. Close collaboration with strategic SHs for project conceptualisation and implementation is essential to build ownership and link the project to other SHs. However, structures based on equal partnerships are required. Diversified methods adapted to the specific regional context enable target-oriented involvement during research, but unexpected dynamics and diverging interests must be kept in mind. Reflections on the processes of SH involvement in TDR project teams are vital for easing power imbalances and intercultural misunderstandings.