i2S projects aim to:
- refine the conceptualisation of Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S)
- gather and organise concepts and methods for application by i2S specialists
- bring together different disciplinary and practitioner perspectives on unknowns and on change
- build bridges between related approaches, such as interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, systemic intervention, action research, complex systems science, implementation science, participatory system dynamics, etc
- foster networks and alliances to increase the influence of i2S and its component approaches on research funding, as well as research and education policy.
This is a community blog about concepts and methods for understanding and acting on complex real-world problems (problems such as global climate change, effective health care and inequalities). Anyone with relevant expertise and experience is invited to contribute. A new concept or method is described every week. The blog has two main aims. One is to build a collection of tools and ideas to complement the i2S resources repository - see below. The second is to build a community of researchers involved in improving ways of tackling complex real world problems, by facilitating connections across countries, problems tackled and approaches used.
This repository of resources has:
- tools (concepts and methods) for (i) synthesising knowledge across disciplines and stakeholders, (ii) understanding and managing diverse unknowns and (iii) providing research support for policy and practice change
- approaches, which are different ways of tackling complex real world problems, including interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, systems thinking, action research and more
- journals where new tools can be published
- professional associations and networks where like-minded researchers can band together
- conferences for exchanging ideas and expanding networks.
New resources are added regularly and publicised bi-monthly in i2S News.
Additional resources are available on the i2Insights blog - see above.
Adverse unintended consequences and nasty surprises are two potentially devastating outcomes of not understanding and/or managing critical uncertainties, unknowns and ignorance. Particularly challenging is making decisions in the face of what we don’t know we don’t know (unknown unknowns).
This project aims to:
- support decision making on complex problems in defence by building a more solid and comprehensive understanding of unknown unknowns
- stimulate synergies and fresh thinking about unknown unknowns by building connection, capacity and capability among researchers interested in such unknowns in defence-related and other areas.
The first stage of the project, currently underway, involves identifying around 20 participants with diverse, relevant perspectives on unknown unknowns. Potential participants are also contributing blog posts to the i2Insights blog.
Subsequent stages (still to be funded) involve:
- A discovery-based dialogue process, developed to bring together experts with diverse disciplinary, professional and practice perspectives on topics where they have previously had little interaction. This process has been successfully used in previous projects on unknowns, change, dealing with uncertainty in policing serious crime, and knowledge brokering.
- Integration of the diverse perspectives, by expert synthesisers in defence, as well as in research on unknowns and cross-disciplinary, problem-based investigations.
Further projects are planned to investigate other aspects of unknowns including:
- communicating unknowns
- addressing unknowns through and in modelling
- culturally diverse (non-western) approaches to unknowns
- understanding and managing ignored unknowns arising in cross-disciplinary, problem-based investigations.
This project is a collaboration with Jane Holloway and Sharon Boswell, Joint and Operations Analysis Division at Defence Science and Technology, Department of Defence.
4. Building a network of leaders in inter- and trans- disciplinary research organisations
The aim of building network of leaders in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research organisations is to:
- Foster interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and education within and across organisations
- Inspire and support researchers to achieve transformational impact on global challenges by:
- Creating supportive environments and infrastructure
- Developing effective metrics for excellence, impact and return on investment
- Improving funding availability and outcomes
- Supporting next generation organisational leaders
- Providing effective career paths and role models for interdisciplinarians and transdisciplinarians at all levels, and especially to support early-career researchers
- Developing workable transition pathways to implementation of new metrics and effective career paths.
There an active Oceania region network, the Network for Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research Organisations (NITRO) - Oceania; see http://nitro-oceania.net.
There is also a global network: see https://nitro-oceania.net/global-network/ and the following report: Palmer, L. (2018) Meeting the leadership challenges for interdisciplinary environmental research. Nature Sustainability, 1, 330-333. (Online): https://rdcu.be/234H.
5. Building research integration and implementation expertise
Expertise in research integration and implementation is an essential but often overlooked component of tackling complex societal and environmental problems. This research:
- examines tasks essential to developing a more comprehensive understanding of complex problems, and for taking action on them by using that research evidence to support government policy, community practice, business innovation, or other initiatives. Specific elements include managing lack of clear problem limits, contested problem definitions, unresolvable unknowns, and real-world constraints on action, all of which make solutions partial and temporary.
- explores where expertise in research integration and implementation can currently be found, especially in: 1) specific approaches, including interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, systems thinking, action research, and sustainability science; 2) case-based experience, independent of these specific approaches; and 3) research considering unknowns and fostering innovation. Currently fragmentation precludes clear identification of research integration and implementation expertise.
- explores whether and how a knowledge bank could be a conduit to building expertise.
One facet of this research is editing a special article collection in the journal Palgrave Communications: https://www.nature.com/palcomms/calls-for-papers#Expertise.
This project was developed by a core group of plenary speakers from the 2013 First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation.
6. The Population Health Xchange
The Population Health Xchange (PHXchange) at the Australian National University’s Research School of Population Health provides resources for fostering partnership and knowledge co-production among researchers and diverse stakeholders in order to achieve better health outcomes through evidence-informed policy and practice change.
There is an active partnership between the PHXchange and the Integration and Implementation Insights blog, with blog posts regularly contributed by PHXchange members.
7. Frameworks for transdisciplinary research
This is a commissioned series for the journal GAIA, where leading transdisciplinary researchers briefly describe the frameworks they use for their research. Starting in mid-2017, one framework is described in each issue of the journal. It follows on from the successful "Toolkits for Transdisciplinarity" series.
Please visit our archive to see information about completed projects.