Linking Real-World Laboratory and disciplinary research - Fostering novel scientific insights and sustainability transformation (LinkLab)

The interest in transdisciplinary and transformative research approaches like experiments in real-world laboratories (RWL) as a powerful practice to tackle sustainability issues is constantly growing – both among researchers and practitioners. Intensive work on the foundations of the RWL research has led to a widely shared understanding of core characteristics of RWL as research settings, specific tools and methods used in these settings as well as success factors of RWL research.
However, a fruitful connection to, a deeper embedding in and stronger interdisciplinary learning from methods and perspectives of more classical, disciplinary research and neighboring fields still seems hardly realized and under-explored. Therefore, the LinkLab-working group will bring the following fields of research into a multi-directional dialogue with the aim to advance the RWL approach: 1) spatial and planning science, 2) ethics and epistemology, 3) legal studies, 4) design research, 5) digital participation and data science, 6) anthropology and ethnology and 7) social-ecological systems research.

Research questions to be addressed by the working group include:

  1. What are relevant interfaces between more classical, disciplinary research approaches and RWL research for establishing mutually beneficial connections?
  2. How can RWL research better capitalize on the methodological repertoires of different fields of research to increase a) the scientific rigor and database of its insights, b) its ethical and legal robustness, c) its spatial and social implications and d) the measurable societal impacts and resilience?
  3. How can RWL research and its interfaces be designed to better allow for producing innovative insights feeding into the larger body of knowledge of more classical disciplinary research?
  4. What are the implications of (1), (2) and (3) for the research landscape with regards to funding structures, researchers’ roles, career pathways and reward systems to enable impactful, rigorous and inclusive RWL research?

The LinkLab-working group aims at i) exploring relevant connections and interfaces between the mentioned research disciplines and RWL; ii) identifying challenges and potentials to strengthen the connections between these fields, iii) analyzing good practices and success factors for connecting RWL research and more disciplinary research and iv) formulating a research agenda to better equip and empower scientific and not-scientific institutions and staff to deliver high-quality RWL research and increase both the scientific as well as the societal impact of RWL research.

Working Group Spokesperson

Prof. Dr. Daniel Lang

Leuphana University Lüneburg, Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning (IETSR) — Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research —

E-mail contact
Working Group Members