Bridging divides in sustainability science

Daniel J. Lang, Arnim Wiek, Henrik von Wehrden

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Transdisciplinary research between diverse academic and societal actors is a core practice in sustainability science. However, it often seems to fail in delivering new scientific insights while also significantly contributing to sustainability transformations. It is also often experienced as a burden instead of adding value, which leads to fatigue and disengagement. To address these challenges, we propose to bridge four divides: (i) positioning and linking disciplinary and transdisciplinary research; (ii) transferring and scaling insights from real-world experimentation; (iii) opening the “extended ivory towers” and reaching a majority of relevant societal actors; (iv) aligning research practice with broader sustainability values such as collaboration, mindfulness, and altruism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-879
Number of pages5
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Engagement
  • Impact
  • Solutions
  • Stakeholders
  • Sustainability science theory
  • Transformations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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