Urban Futures Open Research School course

Co-producing knowledge in transdisciplinary research – From practice to theory 

Two PhD courses for 2018-19 at Urban Futures Open Research School, 2x7.5 ECTS
Organised by Mistra Urban Futures/ Chalmers


Sustainable urban development is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Cities face the challenges of changing climates, large demographic changes, stressed relationship with hinterlands, complex governance structures and increased segregation. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have been set out by the UN in order to reduce social inequalities worldwide, which also puts the cities under deep pressure, as the highest income layers correlate with unsustainable living patterns. An integrated approach to address these challenges is necessary. 

To reach knowledge about a process of change towards a just and sustainable society, new research approaches are emerging. These innovative approaches take place out of necessity but also as part of an intentional qualitative transformation of the research process itself. Co-produced research is such an emerging approach, addressing the complexity of societies’ transformations by integrating different research actors into the same creative process. The outcome is a new kind of knowledge. First, it is transdisciplinary and developed in the emerging fields between disciplinary spaces. Second, it aims to be transformative, meaning changing present patterns of behaviour into more just and sustainable forms.


This course, divided into two parts (2 x 7,5 ECTS), is directed for you who are dealing with so called ‘wicked urban problems’ in your daily practice or who aim to address such current and future urban challenges in your PhD research or research, and who see the urgency for a transdisciplinary approach. This course gives insight into urban dilemmas from both practice and academic perspectives and provides tools, methods and theory for transdisciplinary research. 


Previous particpants about the course:

"The best thing was that I gained a new perspective on my work and our challenges in the city. The course gave me the chance to look upwards to some extent in my work, but it’s difficult to combine a real research perspective with more traditional administrative work. I think it’s important to do that but it’s not that easy." Fredrik Högberg, Environment Administration, City of Gothenburg.

"In-depth knowledge and a greater understanding of the complexity of urban development. Co-produced processes and transdisciplinary theories allow us to gain greater insights into and obtain suitable tools to allow us to work more sustainably at earlier stages and produce good results in the future." Eva Stockfelt, Sports and Associations Administration, City of Gothenburg

"There have been such fun discussions about large subjects that I don´t usually have with my colleagues at Chalmers, and that made me open my mind for things I've never previously reflected over." Alexandra Westin, PhD student, Chalmers 

"The view I have gained is that co-production is a great deal about taking advantage of all the relevant knowledge available from the actors involved, sometimes they are found were you least expect them." Lisa Örberg, Trafikverket, The Swedish Transport Administration.

Read more in Three voices about the Research School and the interview Together for new knowledge. 


In order to be eligible for the course the applicant must fulfil the general entry requirements for postgraduate studies. Each applicant should also send in a short letter of motivation, describing his/hers interest for co-production within the urban context. If applying from practice, a master degree is required + the motivation letter. 

It’s not mandatory to have taken the first course held autumn 2018, however already admitted participants to the autumn course will be given priority.


The course will be performed at the 'language spoken in the room', i.e Swedish or English depending on the participation at each moment.


Deadline for application extended: 13th January 2019 (for the spring course)


Download the Course Plan here. 


The application deadline has passed.  


For further questions, contact Henrietta Palmer, Deputy Scientific Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Henrietta.palmer@chalmers.se


Interested to know more about the Urban Futures Open Research School?



  • Course Plan: Co-producing knowledge in transdisciplinary research – From practice to theory
  • Kursplan: Medskapande av kunskap i transdisciplinär forskning – från praktik till teori
  • Kursblad våren 2019