Joint problem framing: a transdisciplinary methodology for a sustainable future in mountain areas

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Investigating the sustainability of social-ecological systems in the context of climatic, economic and social changes requires novel science practises. Transdisciplinary research (TDR) presents an interesting approach on how science can interact with society in finding meaningful answers to wicked problems. Social-ecological systems in mountain areas are particularly relevant not only because of their serious vulnerability to global changes but also because of their efforts to move towards sustainability. The researchers' collective Perce-Neige strives to tackle these challenges and applies novel transdisciplinary approaches. The collective is composed of early career researchers coming from various disciplines, working on sustainable transitions in mountains. For a week, 12 early career researchers conducted TDR for joint problem framing with inhabitants and local institutions of the municipality of Gresse-en-Vercors in the French Alps. The objective was to facilitate the development of a common vision and initiate collective thinking for a sustainable future of the territoire. Participants (research-ers and inhabitants) became acquainted with each other through different interfaces facilitating exchanges, reflections and co-constructions (collective walk, individual interviews, participatory workshops, informal daily exchanges). The research allowed us to capture different perspectives on local issues that cause conflicts, and then to discuss and identify needs and solutions. We aim to present and assess the methodology for joint problem framing developed by the collective. This paper presents the benefits of such a methodology for acculturating early career researchers to TDR, and for framing societal problems and reflecting on actions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023


  • Early career researchers
  • Joint problem framing
  • Methodology
  • Sustainable transitions
  • Transdisciplinary research


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