On knowledge generation and use for sustainability

In order to address sustainability challenges, we posit that knowledge generation needs to move rapidly from a disciplinary linear ‘tree’ model to an interdisciplinary ‘web’ model. We show how such a shift is useful by looking at case studies in the context of water management.

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The idea of this paper originated from discussions held during the International Forum “Re-thinking interdisciplinary research for global sustainability” organized on 14–16 January 2018 in Beijing by Nature Sustainability and Tsinghua University. J. L. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41625001); the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA20060402); and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91425303; 41571022). D. D. is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship from the Heart Foundation Australia, and a SOAR fellowship from the University of Sydney. We thank M. Obersteiner from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; P. R. Lankao from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, United States and D. Guan from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom for sharing their discussions in Beijing and during the writing process of this paper. We also thank V. Srinivasan and R. Seidler for discussions and comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Junguo Liu.

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Liu, J., Bawa, K.S., Seager, T.P. et al. On knowledge generation and use for sustainability. Nat Sustain 2, 80–82 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0229-y

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