Panel Discussion

The need for a Transdisciplinary approach to South Africa’s Covid-19 crisis

2 July 2020

Zoom Webinar

11:00 am - 12:30 am

Strategic reflection has become necessary on how transdisciplinarity can play a mitigating role in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The shape-shifting characteristics of the virus clearly indicates that medical science, on its own, is limited in the understanding of the effects of the virus on global populations. More holistic interventions are needed in our understanding of the pandemic and in this regard, transdisciplinarity, understood more as a research approach than a methodology, provides that opportunity.

Strategic reflection has become necessary on how transdisciplinarity can play a mitigating role in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The shape-shifting characteristics of the virus clearly indicates that medical science, on its own, is limited in the understanding of the effects of the virus on global populations. More holistic interventions are needed in our understanding of the pandemic and in this regard, transdisciplinarity, understood more as a research approach than a methodology, provides that opportunity.

Transdisciplinarity promotes, after all, mutual learning between science and practice, and also provides space for resolution of the problems that arise between science, democracy, and the market economy. Such theoretical consensus is useful to transgress and transcend the growing disciplinary compartmentalisation and specialisation characteristics that are emerging in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2020, MISTRA released a working paper titled, Linking Transdisciplinarity Practice to South African Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.

Building up on this working paper, MISTRA will host a Zoom Webinar, to discuss the recommendations of the working paper with an emphasis on the importance of transdisciplinary approaches in responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The discussion will be led by the following academics who have contributed to MISTRA’s Transdisciplinarity papers and/or publications:

  • Dr Hester du Plessis, Associate Researcher in the Office of the Dean of Humanities, University of Pretoria;
  • Jeffery Sehume, Speech Writer in the Office of the Deputy President David Mabuza, The Presidency; and
  • Professor Tally Palmer,  Director of the IWR & ARUA Water Centre of Excellence, Rhodes University.

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PUBLICATION

The Concept and Application of Transdisciplinarity in Intellectual Discourse and Research

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