- Interdisciplinary Workshop
- Workshop motivation
Bringing together emerging sustainability scholars university-wide to discuss the latest research and share ideas
Our workshop brings together emerging scholars working on important sustainability issues from across the university to discuss the latest research and share ideas. This broadens members’ scholarly perspectives, and encourages unique interdisciplinary collaborations across departments. Since 2014 we have had participants from the social sciences and natural sciences and from the School for Environment and Sustainability, Urban Planning, Engineering, Public Policy, Business, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and more. These interactions have already led to collaborative research between graduate students.
Workshops meet bi-weekly for two hours. They will be a mixture of
- presenters discussing their research or facilitating a discussion on a topic,
- recent research discussions and evaluations, which could lead to collaborative research letters to journals in response to articles, and
- discussions about research paradigms and challenges in sustainability and interdisciplinary science.
Thanks to Rackham for it’s continued support of our Interdisciplinary Workshop. You can find out more about RIWs here.
Although many more scholars are working on a sustainability- and environment-related research agenda, the challenges have not been resolved. Definitions and models for achieving greater sustainability and related visions such as resilience, sustainable development, and transformation, are hotly contested. For example, the study of urban areas reveal complex, adaptive, emergent systems composed of sub-systems—built environment, metabolic flows, governance networks, and social dynamics—that themselves are multi-scalar, networked, and often strongly coupled. Fostering sustainability or resilience in urban centers, as just one important example, necessitates an understanding of how these subsystems interact and evolve so that they may be reengineered and redesigned to meet the needs of both nature and society. This means that it is critical to encourage interdisciplinary dialog and research as well as foster improved ability of researchers to communicate their work to colleagues, stakeholders, and the public.
Our workshop aims to do just that. We will continue to bring together emerging scholars working on these important issues from across the university to discuss the latest research and share ideas. We believe that this will not only broaden members’ scholarly perspectives, but also encourage unique interdisciplinary collaborations across departments. Over our past two years of similar activities with a focus on urban sustainability and resilience, we have had participants from the social sciences and natural sciences and from the School of Natural Resources and Environment, Urban Planning, Engineering, Public Policy, Business, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and more.