Topic description / abstract:
From a public health perspective, and with a long-standing background in interactive knowledge-to-action research, I will first focus on the challenges of structural change and potential means of collective action to address them. I will introduce a model of the interplay between structure and agency as a theoretical frame of reference. I will then use a case study in health promotion to demonstrate how a transdisciplinary approach to co-production ("cooperative planning") can serve as a mechanism for structural change. The second part of the presentation deals with certain challenges of transdisciplinary research. In particular, the scientific impact of such research will be examined. As a first result of an international fellow group of tdAcademy on this issue, we propose to distinguish between an epistemic, an ethical and an organizational dimension of scientific impact. Focusing again on my case study, concrete examples of all three dimensions will be presented. I conclude with some preliminary thoughts on a possible fourth ("strategic") dimension.
Alfred Rütten is Senior Professor at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany. Previously, he served as head of the Division of Public Health and Physical Activity and as director of the first WHO Collaborating Centre on Physical Activity and Public Health in Europe. In 2013 he received an honorary doctorate from the Lithuanian Sports University. He led several cross-national research and development projects on behalf of the European Commission and WHO. He also has been the coordinator of a BMBF-funded research network on capabilities for active lifestyle and interactive knowledge-to-action – Capital4Health. Most recently he published on “researchers as policy entrepreneurs” and on “cooperative planning” and “structural change” in health promotion.