TRANSMANGO: The project that is *not* about mangoes

Four years into the project, roughly 30 country level food systems reports and about 18 deliverables later… And many of us will have had a question about mangoes at some point in time while at a conference or a local meeting. To clear the air and clarify what TRANSMANGO is all about; I’ll give a brief (as possible) overview of the project’s interdisciplinary, multi-layered and multi-sited work and some of the key deliverables and interesting reports produced throughout these years. Sad to say, this will not involve any mangoes… 🙂

As we set out on this ambitious project, our aims were to firstly, reformulate the debate on FNS. A second, more methodological objective, was to develop new ways of system modelling by combing quantitive and qualitative approaches. And lastly, through his new methodological approach we aimed to connect EU-level dynamics and local-level dynamics regarding food systems. The idea behind all these objectives was to connect the work on quantitative and indicator-based assessments of food systems to the vast empirical diversity regarding the securities, vulnerabilities and sovereignties around food, and as such build a comprehensive picture of EU food systems.

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Reflections on the STEPS Centre Summer School 2015

As part of her training program within Transmango, Aniek Hebinck attended the STEPS Summer School in Brighton last Spring. In this blog she and a fellow attendant reflect on those two weeks of training.

This post was co-authored by Fredric Bauer (Lund University) and Aniek Hebinck (Wageningen University).

The Summer School run by the STEPS Centrehas become one of the centre’s annual highlights by bringing together young researchers to explore the intricate world of pathways to sustainability. Co-owned by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, the centre combines topics of development and innovation in its research and teaching.

During two very intensive weeks in Spring, we and 40 other PhD students and young researchers coming from 31 countries spent our time studying, thinking, discussing, and debating ‘pathways to sustainability’. Central to these debates were the politics and framings of sustainable transitions in global settings, e.g. cases discussed were agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, water in India, and renewable energy in Europe. Between lectures given by distinguished academics such as Ian Scoones, Andy…

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The bumpy road to transdisciplinary research

Prof. Erik Mathijs, coordinator of TRANSMANGO, wrote about transdisciplinary research on the blog of KU Leuven: Multi-actor approaches and the necessity of giving space to do ‘boundary work’.

In today’s world, the wickedness, complexity and uncertainty of societal issues requires that traditional disciplinary approaches of science be complemented with what is often called transdisciplinary approaches. Transdisciplinarity first of all entails interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinarity goes beyond multi-disciplinary approaches by designing integrated frameworks that cut across disciplines. Secondly, the ‘trans’ in transdisciplinarity refers to the active engagement and participation of stakeholders on equal par to the scientists. In Horizon 2020 it is called the multi-actor approach. However, as most scientists have disciplinary backgrounds and many may not be accustomed to giving so much power to stakeholders, any transdisciplinary endeavour is bound to be a learning experiment. In other words, doing transdisciplinary research requires that some boundary work be done, as the boundaries between science and non-science get blurred. However, much more is at stake than just creating common language.


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Presentations at conferences and debates by TRANSMANGO

The TRANSMANGO consortium has been present at quite a number of conferences and debates in the last year. Amongst them the Metaforum with Olivier de Schutter, the ESEE 2015: Transformations conference, and The Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society conference.

Here we have presented posters and deliverables and hosted a TRANSMANGO session. Abstracts of the Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society Conference can be found here. The complete book of abstracts of the ESEE 2015 conference can be downloaded here.
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