The Maine Tidal Power Initiative (MTPI), an interdisciplinary team of engineers, marine scientists, oceanographers, and social scientists, is using a transdisciplinary sustainability science approach to collect biophysical and social data necessary for understanding interactions between human and natural systems in the context of tidal power development in Maine. MTPI offers a unique opportunity to better understand how group structure and process influence outcomes in transdisciplinary sustainability science research. Through extensive participant observation and semi-structured interviews we: (1) describe MTPI’s organizational structure; (2) examine MTPI’s research approach and engagement with stakeholders from different sectors of society (i.e., industry, government, and the local community); and (3) identify challenges and opportunities for involving different disciplinary expertise and diverse stakeholders in transformational sustainability science research. We found that MTPI’s holistic mission, non-hierarchical structure, and iterative stakeholder engagement process led to important benefits and significant challenges. Positive outcomes include knowledge development, a transferable research framework, shared resources, personal reward, and a greater understanding of the local environment and community. Challenges identified include balancing diverse interests and priorities, maintaining engagement, managing stakeholder relationships, and limited resources. Lessons learned from the process of integrative collaborative research in Maine can offer guidance on what should be considered when carrying out similar transdisciplinary sustainability science projects in other research contexts.
The Maine Tidal Power Initiative: Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science Research for the Responsible Development of Tidal Power
Title: The Maine Tidal Power Initiative: Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science Research for the Responsible Development of Tidal Power
January 01, 2015
Journal: Sustainability Science
Publisher: Springer Japan
Jansujwicz, J.; Johnson, T. (2015). The Maine Tidal Power Initiative: Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science Research for the Responsible Development of Tidal Power. Sustainability Science, 10(1), 75-86.