Expertise in integration and implementation for transformative research

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Expertise in the various dimensions of integration and implementation is an essential but often overlooked component of transformative research on complex societal and environmental problems, such as global climate change, illicit drug use, refugees and economic migration, spiralling health care costs, poverty and other social inequalities. This research article Collection addresses the specialised knowledge, skills, competencies and dispositional attributes required to, for example, identify which disciplinary and stakeholder knowledges are relevant, synthesise different perspectives, manage power imbalances and legacies of colonisation in researching problems, and accommodate conflicting values and world views, including across different cultures.

Expertise has multiple elements that are often difficult to codify and there are few publication outlets where the ‘nitty-gritty’ of expertise and its challenges can be discussed and progressed. This Collection provides a platform where research expertise in integration and implementation for transformation can be recognised, described, synthesised, evaluated and improved.

Papers are invited that consider, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Detailed descriptions of elements of expertise (for example, competence in a particular method). Descriptions should be coupled with evaluations of one or more of: strengths and weaknesses, effectiveness, and how well the elements of expertise can be adapted to differing circumstances;
  • Case studies highlighting the application of expertise, including lessons learnt from ‘failures’ for improving expertise;
  • Initiatives overcoming fragmentation of expertise, including theoretical frameworks and ontologies providing a structure for accessing and synthesising expertise;
  • Educational programs for cultivating expertise;
  • Institutional recognition of expertise (for example, establishment of academic programs that specifically include research expertise in integration and implementation).

Contributions may be literature reviews, theory-based, or practice-based and should move beyond straight description to also incorporate critical reflection, synthesis and/or analysis.

Contributions may be based on a) established and developing approaches, such as inter- and trans-disciplinarity, systems thinking, action research, implementation science, knowledge brokering, and team science, b) case-based experience, including single or multiple, small or large-scale examples or c) cross-cutting research covering areas such as innovation and unknowns. Experience in integration and implementation in transformative research on any complex societal and environmental problem is relevant.

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