Transformations and co-design: special issue highlights learnings from the Transformations to Sustainability programme
An edited collection of 16 papers on co-design in sustainability science, authored by members of the ISSC's Transformations to Sustainability programme community, is now published as a special issue of the journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST).
The papers examine co-design in the context of social-science-led, integrated research on transformations to sustainability, including a practical ‘hands-on’ look at doing co-design, and what can be learned from the experience.
The concept of ‘co-design’ is gaining importance in research on global change and sustainability, and lies at the heart of the research funded under the Transformations to Sustainability programme. However, the empirical literature on co-design is still relatively limited, making this collection of papers particularly valuable. In this special issue of COSUST, co-design is understood as the first phase of the knowledge co-production process, in which researchers and non-academic partners jointly develop a research project and define research questions that correspond to their collective needs and interests.
The articles reflect on the work conducted during the 6-month seed grant period of the Transformations to Sustainability programme, between October 2014 and March 2015. They offer new perspectives on approaches to co-design, the challenges of co-developing research with different partners, and the benefits of co-designed knowledge as an instrument of transformation. The cases cover a wide range of sustainability challenges around the world.
The special issue is edited by Susi Moser, Senior Adviser to the Transformations to Sustainability programme. It concludes with an open-access synthesis article by Moser, entitled ‘Can science on transformation transform science? Lessons from co-design’. As Moser points out, the papers collectively show that co-design can itself be a cause of transformative change – of researchers, of knowledge systems, and of relationships.
The table of contents can be accessed online.