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Making the UN Ocean Decade work? The potential for, and challenges of, transdisciplinary research & real-world laboratories for building towards ocean solutions

Andrea Franke; Kimberley Peters; Jochen Hinkel; Anna-Katharina Hornidge; Achim Schlüter; Oliver Zielinski; Karin H. Wiltshire; Ute Jacob; Gesche Krause; Helmut Hillebrand
In: OSF Preprints (OSF), Pages 1-23, OSF Preprints, 12/2021.


This paper provides a critical contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, outlining some of the core challenges of sustainable ocean governance and management by reflecting on modes and logics of interactions between ocean-related sciences, policy-makers and practitioners. In this regard, we give an overview of the potential for, and challenges of, transdisciplinary research which is essential to understanding the linkages between oceans and societies and thereby for attending to contemporary ocean concerns. The paper contributes both a review of transdisciplinary research and a particular format of transdisciplinary experimentation: Real-world Laboratories (RwLs). These are currently gaining traction as a method and approach for the co-creation of knowledge between the natural and social sciences and society to foster sustainability transformations. Altogether, we offer a first major contribution to synthesising knowledge on the potentials of marine RwLs, considering how they act as a way of exploring options for sustainable ocean futures through experimentation. Indeed, in the marine context, RwLs are under-explored but are a vital way for addressing the societal challenges of working towards transformations over the coming UN Ocean Decade.

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