Researching with Society

Transdisciplinary strategy of Technische Universität Berlin

Technische Universität Berlin is searching for solutions to great social challenges. To do so, we cooperate on equal level with partners outside of academia. Our researchers provide expert knowledge while introducing non-scientific knowledge into the University at the same time.

The development of a transdisciplinary profile has a particularly high strategic value for Technische Universität Berlin in light of the discussion about the opening up of science and major social challenges - such as digital transformation, climate change or urbanization - and the corresponding expectations regarding science's contribution to finding solutions.

But what does transdisciplinarity mean? The core of this forward-looking research approach is to not thematically or methodologically remain in a single discipline or exclusively in the academic world.

Instead, scientific questions are formulated and examined from several perspectives in critical reflection with non-university partners and relevant social groups. The objective is to develop more effective, more sustainable, democratic solutions for social challenges.


Technische Universität Berlin develops its own methods

Different concepts and methods were developed at Technische Universität Berlin to attain these goals. The University also contributed to a transdisciplinary work program for the Berlin University Alliance Excellence consortium. According to the strategy of Technische Universität Berlin, more real-life laboratories are to be developed on the topic of urban transformation in the future.

Transdisciplinary formats, or “TRAFOS”, are equally important in this strategy.  These include different offers from the Technische Universität Berlin dialogue platform. Since 2018, the dialogue platform has conducted numerous idea, networking, and methods workshops with researchers and social players and held an idea conference to develop research and joint project ideas.

The second pillar is the Pre-Research Forum, a joint format offered by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin to bring together science and non-scientific expertise.

The third pillar is formed by the Transdisciplinary Trialogs, in which stakeholders from science and politics, business and society focus specifically on urban development; this includes topics such as immigration, mobility, growth, and tourism.

Citizen Science projects – our fourth pillar – are becoming increasingly important within the context of researching with society. Researchers at Technische Universität Berlin are already conducting numerous projects in which citizens collaborate on research, collect data, or develop project ideas. Topics which citizens are researching together with science include bicycle safety on roads, taste and food, nitrogen dioxide pollution in Berlin, and mushrooms as building material, clothing, and objects of art.

Transfer Strategy: from Living Labs to Citizen Science Projects