TERRA (Transdisciplinarity for Early careeR Researchers in Asia School) is a short-term, intensive course on transdisciplinarity, organised by Research Institute for Humanity & Nature (RIHN) in collaboration with Future Earth. The school takes place annually (i.e. once in a Japanese fiscal year) since 2019 and is designed for young researchers living or working in Asia. TERRA school aims at promoting and building capacity for transdisciplinary research, where researchers work together with the societal stakeholders to address challenges in the real-world.

The TERRA School features lectures, workshops and interactive sessions on theories and practice of transdisciplinary research. It includes structured learning on tools and methods used in TD (e.g. problem framing, stakeholder analysis and project management) through a series of groupwork exercises, as well as introduction to the various transdisciplinary research conducted at RIHN. Participants with different research backgrounds form a group to undertake group exercises to develop a TD research proposal.

TERRA School Programme (example)
Day 0 Introduction to online platforms: how to use Miro and SpatialChat
Day 1 School overview, TD research theory, TD research case studies
Day 2 Systems approach, rich picture (groupwork)
Day 3 Stakeholder analysis (groupwork), power relations and trust
Day 4 TD research case studies, co-creation tips, co-creation tools
Day 5 TD research case study, outcome mapping (groupwork)
Day 6 Group presentations, meeting with alumni, completion ceremony, virtual reception

Co-creation project has been contributing to TERRA school by providing lectures on TD research theory, methods, tips and examples, facilitating in group workshops on tools and methods, developing the course programmes, and publishing the reports.

TERRA School Reports

TERRA School 5 (2023 Novemver)13 – 17 Nov. 2023

TERRA School 4 (2022 October)3 – 16 Oct. 2022

Following an extensive session on systems thinking and soft systems (rich picture), which are useful in the planning phase of TD research, the participants formed an interdisciplinary research team and developed a TD research proposal on a topic of their choice.


TERRA School 2022 Oct. Report: Systems for TD

TERRA School 3 (2022 March)16 Feb. – 4 Mar. 2022

For the first time in TERRA school, the participants from Asia made a field trip (online) to Africa. They met the stakeholders of the Sanitation project in Zambia through zoom, Zambia (Africa), and discussed about the experience of participating in the project

TERRA School 2 (2021)5 – 19 Feb. 2021

Due to COVID-19, the TERRA school was carried out completely online. A Miro board was created for a main platform, which had all the links that the participants needed to listen to lectures, collaborate for the group exercises and chat with each other in a social event. It didn’t seem like we were remote!

TERRA School 1 (2019)9 – 13 Dec. 2019

Sixteen young researchers from Asia came to RIHN in Kyoto for the first TERRA school. Many researchers at RIHN provided lectures on their TD projects, including a wide range of environmental issues and regions. A highlight of the course was a field trip to Kameoka, where the participants met with the stakeholders of FEAST project, one of the RIHN research project focused on agriculture and food systems.