Transdisciplinary Research in Aging and Technology: Experiences From a Pan-canadian Research Network

A Grigorovich, M Wada, J Sixsmith, M Fang, P Kontos

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    There has been a call for transdisciplinary research in aging and technology to enhance knowledge mobilization and commercialization of new technologies. This team-based approach is relatively new to the field of aging and technology and there is limited understanding of its practices, and how to facilitate its implementation in this field. To address this knowledge gap, this longitudinal qualitative study explored how members of a pan-Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence on aging and technology perceived and experienced transdisciplinary research. Thirty individuals from varied disciplinary backgrounds, research roles, and career stages participated in two semi-structured interviews, conducted 1 year apart. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Four key themes were identified: misunderstandings of transdisciplinary principles; perceived challenges; perceived benefits; and best practices. Many participants misunderstood transdisciplinary principles and what these entailed in practice. Even when participants understood transdisciplinary principles, there were contradictions or tensions between understanding and implementation in practice. They also identified multiple individual and structural level challenges and barriers to practicing transdisciplinary research in aging and technology, including miscommunication among diverse team members, tensions between academic and other institutional reward mechanisms and practices, and the lack of structural support. However, participants also identified several benefits to transdisciplinary research in aging and technology, including enhanced opportunities for cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral knowledge exchange and improved capacity to holistically understand and solve complex problems. Examples of promising practices where transdisciplinary principles were effectively implemented were also identified. Implications of these findings for policy and practice will be discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


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