Co-design, co-production and co-dissemination

Co-design, co-production and co-dissemination in Future Earth: conceptual frame and technical standards

AG Co-design


Sustainability science aims to tackle the societal, cultural, technical and scientific challenges resulting from global change in social-ecological systems. It needs a transdisciplinary approach that reflects and integrates scientific and societal perspectives. To make this possible, scientists from different disciplines have to work closely together to co-design, co-produce and co-disseminate new research projects. But up until now most efforts rarely took stakeholders into consideration to identify research questions or to create projects (co-design phase).

Main aim of the working group is to identify the potential and challenges of applying co-design, co-production and co-dissemination in the Future Earth process and its implications on it, to advance methods in such research approaches, and strengthen awareness building on the transdisciplinary character of sustainability science.

The working group will focus on questions regarding the conceptual and practical challenges of transdisciplinary research, the technical support to approaches in sustainability science, incl. quality standards for steps of transdisciplinary processes, and the concepts and techniques of co-design, co-production and co-dissemination as approaches in sustainability science.  

Guiding questions are:

  • What is the conceptual framework of co-design, co-production and co-dissemination, looking at project examples in the fields of Citizen Science and participatory research? What approaches already exist to this matter, which benefits for both academics and stakeholders are provided by this kind of research?
  • What is needed, in both conceptual and practical/technical terms, to actually employ co-design, co-production and co-dissemination in Future Earth research projects (e.g. regarding representation and participation; organization of projects – boundary organizations; involvement, interaction/transfer and capacity-building of academics and stakeholders)?
  • What could quality standards look like for the different phases of the transdisciplinary process? What can be learned from Citizen Science and/or participatory research projects as models for testing and developing such quality standards?
  • How is epistemic (i.e. methodological) as well as moral (e.g. related to justice issues) normativity dealt with by participants of transdisciplinary projects; and how could deliberation and conciliation of different viewpoints be approached (common understanding vs. plurality and their respective limits)?
  • What is the role of social sciences and humanities/how can social sciences and humanities be effectively embedded in the Future Earth process?
  • What changes and challenges would a rigorous adoption of the transdisciplinary approach by Future Earth trigger with regard to the implementation of its research projects and its overall orientation, development and agenda setting?

The working group will take up and analyze models of citizen science and other participatory approaches in the field of biodiversity and compare it with practical examples.


Working group members

Prof. Dr. Birgit Blättel-Mink, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Institut für Soziologie

Prof. Dr. Aletta Bonn, Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung – UFZ

Claudia Göbel, Museum für Naturkunde (MfN); Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Abteilung Bürgerwissenschaften und Bürgerdialog

Dr. Katja Heubach, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Division Climate, Environment and Infrastructure

PD Dr. Diana Hummel, ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung sowie Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F), Frankfurt am Main

Johannes Lundershausen, Universität Tübingen, Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)

Dr. Alexandra Lux, ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung sowie Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F), Frankfurt am Main

Dr. Lisa Pettibone, Museum für Naturkunde (MfN); Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Abteilung Bürgerwissenschaften und Bürgerdialog



Time period: 2015 - 2017 (24 months)


Working group spokespersons:

Dr. Lisa Pettibone
Museum für Naturkunde (MfN)
E-Mail: Lisa.Pettibone@mfn-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Birgit Blättel-Mink
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
E-Mail: b.blaettel-mink@soz.uni-frankfurt.de



Pettibone, L. et al. (2018). Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research and Citizen Science: Options for Mutual Learning. GAIA 27/2 (2018): 222 – 225


Meetings (by invitation):


2./3. June 2016 (download program)

23. November 2015



  • 2015-2017

    Positive impacts through land use change

  • 2015-2017

    Co-design, co-production and co-dissemination

  • 2015-2017

    The social aspects in socio-ecological models and simulations of sustainability research

  • 2015-2017

    Sustainable intensification in agriculture

  • 2016-2018

    Social innovations in energy policy making

  • 2017-2019

    Urban sustainability transformations

  • 2017-2019

    Sustainable work