Integration and Implementation Sciences (I2S) is a new discipline providing concepts and methods for conducting research on complex, real-world problems. It supports researchers (I2S specialists) who contribute to cross-disciplinary teams tackling challenging social and environmental problems, by enhancing
- Synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge,
- Understanding and management of diverse unknowns, and
- Provision of integrated research support for policy and practice change.
I2S is an intellectual hub which provides:
- a home for compiling and further developing relevant concepts and methods, as well as case examples which illustrate their use,
- an avenue for transmitting these between teams working on different problems,
- a forum for evaluating quality and raising standards, and
- education at a range of levels.
The ideas underpinning I2S are described in detail in Bammer, G. 2013 Disciplining Interdisciplinarity: Integration and Implementation Sciences for Researching Complex Real-World Problems, ANU Press. This book includes 24 commentaries and is available free online.
The sculpture Kulla's Ripple by Tim Spellman provides a useful metaphor for a key dimension of I2S. The sculpture evokes symbiotic pairs. In the case of I2S, the symbiotic pair is the ability of research to deal with tractable (tame) problems using reductionist methods and the ability of research to deal with intractable complex (wicked) problems using systems-based methods. Unlike the sculpture where both elements of the pair are reasonably equal, the two research abilities are not. Whereas the ability of research to deal with tractable problems using reductionist methods is highly developed and sophisticated, the ability of research to deal with intractable complex problems using systems-based methods is still relatively ill-formed and unwieldy. I2S aims to even out the relationship by enhancing the ability of research to deal with intractable complex problems.
I2S also aims to promote cross-fertilisation between a range of existing approaches, including systems thinking, complex systems science, inter- and trans- disciplinarity, action research, integrated assessment, mode 2 research, post-normal science, implementation science, team science, project management and sustainability science. The I2S repository of concepts, methods and case studies draws on resources developed by all of these approaches. I2S also aims to support these approaches by developing new and improved tools and cases.
For more information visit the Integration and Implementation Sciences website.