This project (2020-1-SE01-KA203-077872) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Collaborative Research Methodologies for Complex Systems in Sustainability Studies

Admission Requirements
Bachelor’s degree in any academic subject, previous courses in the master’s program or similar foundations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student is able to:


  • Situate themselves within a range of transdisciplinary approaches that involve addressing societal challenges and generating knowledge (and its links to action) by drawing on academic disciplines and collaborating with stakeholders.
  • Define how to collaborate with societal actors in different phases of the research process.


  • Design a collaborative research process that reflects organisations about the situation of the target group and their position in power-structures, in relation to relevant challenges linked to complexity of sustainability,
  • Analyse empirical data that results from collaborative efforts while taking into account ethical and methodological factors.


  • Ensure research quality in the design and implementation of the research project.


Knowledge co-creation through collaborative methodologies has gained traction in sustainability studies. The intersection of climate and environmental change with concerns for social and environmental justice necessitates an exchange of information in the design and conduct of interventions. Parallel to the role of basic research and expert knowledge, inclusion of local stakeholder experiences through co-creation of research is key to ensuring that results represent experienced realities, are relevant to the context and sufficiently address issues of justice and equity.

Collaborative research practices differ not only in the forms of stakeholder engagement but also in the timing of the engagement, as well as the underlying reasons for interaction. Some researchers engage with stakeholders mainly as a means of acquiring representative data, others include stakeholders in the research design, sometimes even as co-applicants.

Conducting collaborative research is challenging and affected by structural barriers. Deeper stakeholder engagement is time-demanding and requires a fundamental understanding of risks and opportunities in particular situations. In response, this course aims to provide theoretical and methodological underpinnings to conduct collaborative research on complex issues related to sustainability

Mandatory reading

Teaching Methodology
  • The course provides students with recorded Video lectures on the key approaches to innovation and innovation systems, introductions to the literature on the frequently used concepts as well as instructions on exercises;
  • Independent Study on selected literature based on written reading instructions;
  • Seminars on Zoom are used to discuss the literature and its applications to student´s tentative thesis topics;
  • Practical Exercises;

ECTS Credits
7,5 ECTS

III semester

Examination methodology
The course will be examined through a written essay, through active participation in seminars and submission of exercises.

This course follows on the previous courses on systems thinking and provides an underpinning to following courses on design

Creative Commons License
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