© 2018

Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education

The Art of Collaborative Research and Collective Learning

  • Dena Fam
  • Linda Neuhauser
  • Paul Gibbs


  • An integrated, state-of-the art book where practice and theory merge in useful ways

  • Offers insights for practitioners and academics from a range of disciplinary homes and geographical locations

  • Has some of the world’s best known contributors on transdisciplinarity

  • Can be used as a comprehensive resource on trandisciplinarity


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxi
  2. Theorising Transdisciplinarity As a Collaborative Practice

  3. Transdisciplinary Learning (Education)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Dena Fam, Tania Leimbach, Scott Kelly, Lesley Hitchens, Michelle Callen
      Pages 85-102
    3. Chris Riedy, Cynthia Mitchell, Juliet Willetts, Ian Cunningham
      Pages 133-149
    4. BinBin Pearce, Carolina Adler, Lisette Senn, Pius Krütli, Michael Stauffacher, Christian Pohl
      Pages 167-183
    5. Tanja Golja, Shilo McClean, Krista Jordan
      Pages 185-199
  4. Transdisciplinary Case Studies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 201-201
    2. Linda Neuhauser, Xiaodong Wang, Yun Hong, Xiaoming Sun, Zhanhong Zong, Xingyu Shu et al.
      Pages 221-239

About this book


This exciting new state-of-the art book reviews, explores and advocates ways in which collaborative research endeavours can, through a transdisciplinary lens, enhance student, academic and social experiences.  Drawing from a wide range of knowledges, contexts, geographical locations and internationally renowned expertise, the book provides a unique look into the world of transdisciplinary thinking, collaborative learning and action. In doing so, the book is action orientated, reflective, theoretical and intriguing and provides a place for all of these to meet and mingle in the spirit of curiosity and imagination.

‘Interested in transdisciplinarity? Want to improve your teaching and research? This book is packed with useful lessons. Whether you want a stronger theoretical grounding, insights into how peers approach teaching of transdisciplinarity, or transdisciplinary research case studies, this book offers a range of imaginative approaches. Dena Fam, Linda Neuhauser and Paul Gibbs have done a superb job of pulling together contributions from 46 authors presenting diverse teaching and research examples from around the world. They lift the lid on this important topic—one that will only grow in significance as research and education organizations embrace the challenges of supporting researchers and preparing students to deal with the myriad complex social and environmental problems the world is confronting’ - Gabriele Bammer, Professor of Integration and Implementation Sciences, The Australian National University

With their new book, The art of collaborative research and collective learning: transdisciplinary theory, practice and education, Fam, Neuhauser, and Gibbs supply a valuable resource for all those interested in transdisciplinary research. Adopting an international perspective, the editors recognize the importance of thinking about transdisciplinarity broadly. This emphasis on breadth is reflected in the book's helpful structure, which combines the perspectives of theorists, educational experts, and transdisciplinary practitioners from around the world’ - Professor Michael O’Rourke, Department of Philosophy Faculty, Michigan State University

‘The book offers a broad theoretical discussion which brings together diverse discourses that have not always spoken to one another or taken advantage of parallel trains of intellectual development in diverse fields such as collaborative learning, design theory, innovation approaches, and systems theory, to name but a few. Different case studies also include a variety of concrete methods and ways of working together that promote different examples of boundary breaking collaboration, such as communities of practice, design competitions, field trips, and living labs’ - Dr Merritt Polk, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg


collective learning integrative learning transdisciplinary programs interdisciplinary programs transdisciplinary research mutual learning Collaborative research Case studies Reflection

Editors and affiliations

  • Dena Fam
    • 1
  • Linda Neuhauser
    • 2
  • Paul Gibbs
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable FuturesUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Education Research and Scholarship, School of Health and EducationMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

About the editors

Dr Dena Fam is a system thinker and transdisciplinary collaborator at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney. Over the last decade Dena has worked with industry, government and community actors to collaboratively manage, design, research and trial alternative water and sanitation systems with the aim of sustainably managing sewage and reducing its environmental impact on the water cycle. Her consulting/research experience over has spanned socio-cultural (learning for sustainability) institutional (policy analysis), technological aspects of environmental management. With experience in transdisciplinary project development, Dena has increasingly been involved in developing processes for teaching and learning in transdisciplinary programs and projects. In particular she has been involved in documenting and synthesizing processes/methods/techniques supporting the development of transdisciplinary educational programs and projects. Dena has led and co-led international transdisciplinary networking events, grants and projects including an Australian-funded teaching and learning grant.

Professor Linda Neuhauser is Clinical Professor of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley (California, USA) and is Visiting Professor at the Department of Social and Populations Sciences at Nanjing You-Dian University (Nanjing, China). She is also Co-Principal Investigator of the Health Research for Action center (HRA) at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her teaching, research and practice is focused on using participatory methods across disciplines and societal sectors to engage diverse groups to identify and solve problems. She and her center colleagues have used participatory and transdisciplinary methods co-create and test many kinds of health and social interventions in many countries worldwide. She has authored over 100 publications about participatory design, transdisciplinary research and action, and health interventions. 

Professor Paul Gibbs is Director of Education Research at the University of Middlesex.    He is a professor of the University, founder of the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Open University in Hong Kong and the University of Cyprus.  He is currently completing three  books: Transdisciplinary happiness and contentment and  compassion all within the higher education context. He is also Series Editor of SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education and Debating Higher Education: Philosophical Perspectives for Springer Academic Press.  He writes the marketing of higher education. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education
  • Book Subtitle The Art of Collaborative Research and Collective Learning
  • Editors Dena Fam
    Linda Neuhauser
    Paul Gibbs
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-93742-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-06713-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-93743-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXXI, 299
  • Number of Illustrations 29 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Research Methods in Education
    Professional & Vocational Education
    Higher Education
  • Buy this book on publisher's site