Transdisciplinarity within the academic engineering literature

Reza Imani Asrai, Susan Lattanzio, Alex Hultin, Emily Carey, Marcelle McManus, Nataliya Mogles, Glenn Parry, Linda Newnes

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Despite increased discourse around transdisciplinary (TD) research, there is a perception it has received less attention within engineering. This is significant if, as generally accepted, TD increases the societal value of research. This paper benchmarks TD engineering research against the broader TD literature, addressing the question: How do the characteristics of the academic engineering TD literature compare to the TD academic literature in general? We analyse the chronology, source journals, and text of papers referencing TD within their abstract and compare this to papers that fall within the engineering subject area. The conclusions find that TD research is limited generally, and within engineering specifically. Historically, TD research focuses on sustainability challenges, a persistent trend within the general literature. Within engineering research, the focus of TD is wider and addresses operational and 'grand challenge' problems. TD remains poorly defined and future work should focus on clarifying meaning within the engineering discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Agile Systems and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


  • transdisciplinary
  • trans-disciplinary
  • transdisciplinarity
  • engineering research
  • characterising transdisciplinarity
  • characterising disciplinary research
  • benchmark
  • societal value


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