IIASA organized a panel at the virtual Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) 2021. In this panel, international experts of the IIASA network will discuss how to define transdisciplinary research and its importance in addressing the wicked problems of our century.

canada parliament © Howard Sandler | Dreamstime.com

Under the theme ‘Building Forward Better’, CSPC 2021 decodes the world post COVID-19 era and the crucial role of science and innovation in policymaking and rebuilding society on all fronts: social fabric, economic development, healthcare, climate, and other areas in Canada.

More than ever, the world wicked problems including climate change, global inequalities, and the 2030 sustainable development goals, require experts to work together effectively across disciplines, geopolitical borders, and silos. What are transdisciplinary skill sets, and how do we foster them in our research community? How do we provide researchers with the right links and opportunities? How can we enable and empower the next generation of researchers to work across disciplines?

Building on the institute’s expertise in international transdisciplinary research, IIASA proposed a session under the theme of Science and International Affairs and Security. This panel of experts brings together experts working across sectors towards transdisciplinary research. They will discuss experiences, challenges and propose solutions to support transdisciplinary research within academia.



Panel 429: Building transdisciplinary bridges to tackle the wicked problems


Nicole Arbour, Executive Director, Belmont Forum


  • Danika Goosney, Vice-President of Research Grants and Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada
  • Toby Wardman, Head of Communications, SAPEA
  • Thandi Mgwebi, Deputy Vice- Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Internationalization, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
  • Barbara Willaarts, Project Manager and Research Scholar, Water Security Research Group at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

IIASA and Canada, since 2010

• IIASA researchers have collaborated with over 30 research partners in Canada.

• 12 Canadian students have participated in the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP), which develops the research skills and networks of talented PhD students. For the YSSP and the Postdoctoral Program, IIASA gives preference to applicants from member countries.

• 121 Canadians have visited IIASA and participated in IIASA organized events.

• IIASA researchers have visited Canada 62 times to attend conferences, present their research, and to discuss research collaborations and activities.

• Canadian-IIASA collaborations have results in more than 200 publications.