This chapter has three principal sections: first, we define transdisciplinarity and show how it fundamentally differs from disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. We discriminate between transdisciplinary processes and transdisciplinary research. We then present methods to facilitate transdisciplinary processes and to nurture authentic collaboration among participants.
Second, we review how public participation, consultancy, and action research have been employed to conduct applied and participatory research and discuss how each is similar to and different from transdisciplinarity. Here we describe how community-based participatory research combines action research and participatory research and thus can become a transdisciplinary process. This section also defines different types of participation.
Third, we look at how scientists and universities can play key roles in developing environmental literacy. Thus, we discuss the power of “disciplined interdisciplinarity” when coping with current salient environmental challenges.
We discuss the potential, limitations, and risks of transdisciplinarity and discuss how it is related to the nature of democracy itself. The discussion leads us to the role and function universities and academia can play in the future of environmental literacy and sustainable development.