The project is difficult to describe withing traditional disciplines; we are planning to educate across the breadth of disciplines we offer at NMBU, where all faculties are involved to a greater or lesser degree and an external network organization (Pådriv). Transdisciplinarity, that is interdisciplinarity in collaboration with actors outside the university, is a running theme. We are establishing a new master’s in urban agriculture in 2021 which covers the whole breadth of NMBU. The students will have backgrounds from various bachelor’s degrees. The project includes transformation of existing courses that are relevant for a new master’s in urban agriculture, and creation of new transdisciplinary courses as a result of the project. The students will be put in groups across disciplines and will collaborate as if in a work situation, under guidance of professionals and external stakeholders in public or private sector.
We will document the transformation of methods of education and assessment through action research in parallel with the planning and arrangement for the new master’s. Through four workshops we will first start planning and work together, then spread the method of transdisciplinary co-working teams to other institutions of education.
In the next two years of the project, the action research to be carried out includes seminars/workshops with participants from both NMBU (also outside the group working on urban agriculture) and other institutions of higher education in Norway. We will use urban agriculture as an example that other inter- and transdisciplinary groups can be inspired by. Therefore, we will, in addition to doing the action research and publish nationally and internationally, spread the knowledge of the methods we use (from the EU-project NEXTFOOD and the established Pådrivmetoden) which we use to manage the collaboration between such disciplines as we represent: biology, social science, technology, and economics. There is potential for good learning and exchange of experience with academic environments in Norway and our collaborating institutions abroad in this project.
- Develop and test interdisciplinarity as a founding principle and work method for sustainability in education work at NMBU through the work with a new transdisciplinary master’s program in urban agriculture.
- Develop further forms of collaboration with municipalities, business and industry and other actors in society to narrow the gap between knowledge and action and strengthen students competence on problem solving and innovation across disciplines.
- Establish/develop further interdisciplinary master courses at all seven faculties based on different methodological approaches to complex challenges and innovation (e.g. urban and regional planning, urban agriculture and innovation and entrepreneurship). The master courses should be “laboratories” for pedagogical and methodological development regarding sustainability and in collaboration with stakeholders (thus transdisciplinary).
- Establish and develop structures and routines for learning arenas “in the field” that gives a local foundation for the UN SDGs and provides training opportunities for important competencies in context that involves various private and public actors.
- Develop, test and evaluate different forms of collaboration between university faculty, students and stakeholders to develop a transdisciplinary method of collaboration in student groups across disciplines (transdisciplinary collaboration teams)
- Explore and evaluate use of digital platforms for co-learning and communication.
- Develop an online interactive representation of an active learning model for transdisciplinary learning with specific competences and examples of learning activities and forms of assessment to achieve competences with genuine significance for sustainable development.
- Use the project for action research where all parts involved are co-researchers. The development of the master’s program is documented, and every step is analyzed.
- Disseminate “best practices” for transdisciplinary collaboration teams nationally and internationally.