Transdisciplinarity links abstract knowledge with case specific knowledge, it integrates results from academic research with practical knowledge. Transdisciplinarity is needed when knowledge about a socially relevant problem is uncertain; the concrete nature of problems is disputed and a great deal is at stake for those concerned. The use of transdisciplinarity is imperative in complex domains such as agrobiodiversity in which human systems interact with natural systems.
Transdisciplinary research relates to three types of knowledge:
- System knowledge is concerned about the generation, development and interpretation of problems, processes and interactions of factors – the current status.
- Target knowledge determines and explains the need for change, desired goals and improved practices – the target status.
- Transformation knowledge refers to technical, social, legal, cultural and other means to transform existing processes and pave the way for the desired ones - the transition to target status (ProClim, 1997).
BioDIVA aims to generate transformation knowledge to promote gender-equitable and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. Therefore it maintains a transdisciplinary focus in the following domains:
- Concentration on the life-world problem of agrobiodiversity loss
- Transcending and integrating disciplinary paradigms
- Participatory research
- Search for “unity of knowledge beyond disciplines”
(Hirsch Hadorn et al., 2008)