Considerations of cross-national transdisciplinary science challenges: the case of water micropollutant research in noPILLS and WEMSI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Drawing on the experience of two water micropollutant studies undertaken in a cross-national context the paper explores the challenges faced by cross-disciplinary, multi-national studies, and asks if conceptual transdisciplinary coherence might provide a way forward for future studies. The first of these "noPILLS (in water)" a cross-national study of pharmaceutical pollutants in surface water raised a number of methodological and conceptual challenges not least because of the large number of researchers and of disciplines involved. The team included water engineers, spatial, environmental, and health scientists, chemists, ecotoxicologists, and social scientists. Many of the challenges were encapsulated in the debates about (the potential for) "harm" and a perceived need for "behaviour change" with regard to the related issues of the social. The paper explores the implications of examining such concepts closely for the effective management of cross-disciplinary studies in a cross-national context. The second case draws on an ongoing project "WEMSI" looking at a micropollutant study prioritisation process in the context of a joint Scottish-Brazilian study led jointly by a water engineer and a social scientist. Conceptual unity is being sought in the study to enhance potential solutions to this potentially "wicked problem."
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • transdisciplinarity
  • cross-national
  • micropollutants

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