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An integral systems theory perspective of interdisciplinary collaboration: The example of CATCH, a capture-based aquaculture research project for quality Norwegian cod products

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Kjetil Aune


Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (AJIS) 2019; Volume 8. p. 19–36. 2019

Cordeiro, Cheryl Marie; Sogn-Grundvåg, Geir

Due to the increasing complexity of the global development challenges that need solving, the past thirty years have seen interdisciplinary research (IDR) and university-industry collaboration developing into its own subject of research. While there have been numerous studies on defining and evaluating IDR, what remains under-researched is a unifying or integral perspective in IDR theoretical framing and conceptualisation much due to the nature of the multiple disciplines that constitute IDR. This study takes an integral systems theory perspective in address of the knowledge-gap in IDR, using the example of the project CATCH, a capture-based aquaculture research project funded by the Research Council of Norway and industry partners, for improved Norwegian cod products to local and global markets. The purpose of this study is to investigate and uncover the management strategies of the project CATCH, with the goal of illustrating how elements of such a management strategy can be mapped unto a four-quadrant integral systems theory model towards a unified perspective of an IDR project. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has projected a 20% growth in global fish production and consumption by 2030. CATCH, which is situated in the field of fisheries and aquaculture research, makes for a timely and interesting example of how an inherently IDR project is managed and executed by multiple stakeholders from academic institutions as well as industry partners. The contribution of this study is twofold, (i) working towards the consolidation of the theoretical foundations of IDR, and (ii) developing empirical insights into the management processes and strategy of an IDR project.

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