Transboundary competence

Transboundary competence involves the ability to deal with diversity and to cross the boundaries that divide perspectives. Seven key boundaries and useful approaches to cross them are shown in the following table:


Need to cross boundaries between… Useful approach
1. systems systems analysis
2. disciplines interdisciplinarity
3. science and society transdisciplinary; participatory
4. nations international, transnational
5. cultural cross-cultural
6. spatio-temporal scales outlook studies, back-casting; local to global
7. methods creative thinking, designing


Previous work by Jaeger and colleagues is drawn on to also highlight less tangible skills required for transboundary competence, such as a) “humility and openness towards other disciplines, worldviews and other sources of knowledge, both formal and informal” and b) “willingness to acknowledge that the partial knowledge the researcher brings to the dialogue table will be transformed in the discussion process (giving latitude to other people)”.

Digital poster: Tuinstra, W., de Kraker, J. and Coervers, R. (2013). Wanted! Transboundary competence, digital poster #820, from the First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation in Canberra in Australia, online and at co-conferences in Germany, the Netherlands and Uruguay, 8-11 September, 2013. You can access this digital poster as a powerpoint presentation or pdf:

Posted: March 2016
Last modified: March 2016