Transdisciplinary research process with social actors

This page aims to open the discussion on a possible framework for the transdisciplinary partnership with social actors.

General framework

The idea is to divide the partnership with social actors in two levels, considering their implication (time and motivations) and their objectives (why and for what there are working with us). The first level would be the organization of a yearly large workshop (a workshop for example) and the second level would be a steering group that will meet four or five times before the workshop. If we take into account the follow-up committee (that not really gathers social actors), we can consider that we have three levels of actors from society (not researchers). They will guide us in designing the study and in disseminating the results. This framework would also be really fruitful to stimulate social learning and networking.

Large workshop

We could organize a large workshop each year with Belgian social actors (wider range of actors than the preliminary workshop) and with EU “expert” actors that created expanded, robust and inspiring initiatives. The objectives of this workshop are:

  • build an interface to disseminate our main results (or theoretical concepts not commonly known but useful for the actors)
  • encourage a large discussions on some relevant thematics (worldcafé)
  • presentation of relevant and inspiring initiatives that can be useful for the social actors
  • an interface for networking and social learning

The workshop would be developed and organized by the steering group : invitation of expert social actors, proposition of thematics for the world-café, decision of the methodology used for the worldcafé (more professional), etc.

Steering group of the transdisciplinary process

The steering group would be made up of both researchers and social actors. The main objective is to build a sustainable partnership with a small set of social actors. These actors will be really motivated to take part in the research process and maybe in other projects further launched by one of our teams. With these actors, we will build a clear and strong partnership agreement that allows creating a real process in time. We could organize four or five meetings with the same persons of the initiatives and to have a commitment on the tasks that have to be achieved by the group. The tasks could be co-defined by the group and could evolve over time.

These tasks could be proposed:

  • organization of the annual workshop
  • comment and advice for the research methodology
  • reading, comment and test of the questionnaires
  • common propositions of different subjects for master thesis realizable in our 3 universities (larger interface for the setting up of researches linked to needs of the civil society)
  • enliven a web interface for communication with the actors (like a facebook group), for example in preparation of the workshop (objectives : networking and social learnings)
  • opening thought tables with authorities/policy makers to discuss (for example on existing and future policy tools, etc.)

To choose what person/organization will take part in the steering group, we can call or send to the social actors this proposition with a strong agreement and see who is interested in participate.

Follow-up committee

The aim of the follow-up committee is to provide active follow-up of and guidance on the research results by the potential users of the research on the transition to sustainable food systems. The follow-up committee will comment the work done by the group such as annual report, questionnaire or final results.

News & upcoming events