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The University of Southampton
Sustainability Science

Developing transdisciplinary risk science: a critical review of ‘top-down’ approaches

Published: 6 November 2013

16:00, 6 November 2013

Geography and Environment Seminar

Specialization has driven the evolution of several distinct scientific disciplines, including physical, social or environmental, over the last 150 years. These have generated their own cultures, languages, agendas, institutions, measures of success and cohorts of suitably branded scientists.  However, we increasingly see that society and the environment are exposed to many complex, interdependent and rapidly changing risks - associated with a fast expanding and ageing populations, highly interconnected and interdependent economies, rapid climate change, and increasingly limited resources.  We thus need to have a fresh look at developing the transdisciplinary science needed to tackle these risks. But what are the best practical ways of sowing the seeds of this, and fertilizing a new science culture? The presentation describes novel practical steps to fund transdisciplinary science within the UK over the last 5 years.  The common threats, such as alienation by conservative philosophies and and stimulants, such as champions who recognise the value of transdisciplinary science, are illustrated. Generic lessons from these ‘live experiments' will be discussed.

Speaker information

Professor John Rees, British Geological Survey. NERC Natural Hazards Team Leader


Shackleton Building, Lecture Theatre B

Contact for more information

Name: Emma Tompkins


Note: John will be going for lunch at the Staff Club from 12.30. Anybody wishing to attend please contact Emma, or meet at 44/2085 at 12.30

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