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Collaborative PhDs: New approaches, challenges and opportunities

Chapter in book
Authors Eva Maria Jernsand
Helena Kraff
Published in Co-production in action: towards realising just cities
Pages 74-83
ISBN 978-91-980696-7-9
Publisher Mistra Urban Futures
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Business Administration
School of Design and Crafts
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Centre for Tourism
Mistra Urban Futures
Pages 74-83
Language en
Keywords Transdisciplinary research, collaborative PhD, Mistra Urban Futures
Subject categories Business Administration, Design


Collaborative PhDs can be demanding and complex, yet ultimately rewarding. In this chapter we explore some of the issues that can emerge when collaborative PhDs investigate problems in sustainable urban development not only across disciplinary borders, or between academia and practice, but across diverse cultural backgrounds. Challenges include the need to take on multiple roles, and varying preconditions between PhD students from different academic institutions or cultures. We examine how such collaborations are opportunities for widening horizons and understandings, revealing how insights from researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines and sectors make it possible to achieve a more holistic perspective. The chapter hopes to open up the nature of working in a truly transdisciplinary manner. There is a vital need for scholars to be able to participate in fora like Mistra Urban Futures’ Local Interaction Platforms (LIPs) where they can discuss and exchange experiences with others, both in and outside academia – whether civic officials, community groups or practitioners – who have embraced the concept of collaboration. Those who have contributed their experiences to this chapter are Sigrid Laurel Östlund, Franklin Mwango, Isabel Ordoñez, Frankline Otiende, Dan Silver, Anna Taylor and Joshua Wanga. The interviews were arranged by and the chapter put together by Helena Kraff and Eva Maria Jernsand, with additional editorial inputs from the contributors. The chapter is written as a conversation between four PhD students, one from each of the four LIPs. Interviewees’ names have been changed to anonymise responses.

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