Welcome to the Integral Research Center

By: Nick Hedlund-de Witt

"[In the 21st century], there will be an urgent need for scholars who go beyond the isolated facts; who make connections across the disciplines; and who begin to discover a more coherent view of knowledge and a more integrated, more authentic view of life."   – Ernest Boyer

 

Welcome to the new Integral Research Center.

What an exciting and daunting time to be alive on the planet! Never before have we had access to so much knowledge from so many methods, disciplines, and worldviews—spanning human history and the furthest reaches of the globe. Yet at the same time, never before has there been such an urgent need to link, leverage, align, and integrate the diversity of these knowledge-perspectives.

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that ‘research as usual’ is no longer sufficient to rise to this occasion and address our overwhelmingly complex, multifaceted, increasingly interconnected, global challenges. And I’m not the only one’s that feels this way. I was recently in London for the Planet Under Pressure conference, a gathering of leading global scientists in the field of sustainability organized by the global change research programs of the International Council for Science. Reflecting a key message sounded throughout the conference proceedings, the Chairs released a declaration stating that:

The challenges facing a planet under pressure demand a new approach to research that is more integrative, international and solutions-oriented. We need to link high-quality focused scientific research to new policy-relevant interdisciplinary efforts for global sustainability. This research must integrate across existing research programmes and disciplines, across all domains of research.

Thus, as is being increasingly recognized within the academy, there is a deep need for a new, more integrative approach to research that draws on disciplinary strengths while simultaneously enacting new possibilities for interdisciplinarity and integration across methods. Yet many questions remain with respect to the challenge of how integration can be fostered in rigorous and systematic ways. This is the 64 thousand dollar question!

It is precisely in response to this challenge that Integral Research (IR) was born—or, perhaps more accurately, evolved. Indeed, IR is a dynamic, systematic approach to conducting integrative research across multiple domains and scales, allowing researchers to combine, coordinate, and systematically integrate the multiplicity of methodologies (both qualitative and quantitative) available for scientific inquiry. And while there is much more work to be done, I feel that IR has a leg up and can make important contributions to the discourse as scientists grapple with the challenge of finding principled approaches to integration. The Integral Research Center (IRC) is dedicated to championing this systematic meta-framework and supporting all researchers who have an interest in employing it.

Although the IRC has been around since 2006, somewhat quietly working away at John F. Kennedy University in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are now entering a new phase as part of the larger MetaIntegral Foundation. This gives us the possibility to build on what we have been doing before, yet enact an even more solid platform and network for the global community of Integral researchers. It is all a work in progress, but together we are building a vibrant, global network of scholars and practitioners, committed to evolving scientific inquiry and addressing the most significant challenges of our time. I believe that if we step into our potential, we will develop IR into a powerful field with clear relevance for mainstream concerns and challenges—a leading force in the urgent quest for integrated knowledge.

But we need you. So we are very excited to invite you to participate! How can you do that? In the first place, please sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field and center. But the most powerful way that you can participate is by becoming a member of the IRC.

Through modest financial contributions,[1] members nourish and empower the IRC to carry out this important work of scaffolding integrated inquiry, knowledge, and action for a more integral planet. But more than that, the members, along with our team, form the beating heart of our organization—you are what makes us tick! It is here that we invite you to contribute your vision and direction, your presence and energy! It is also our hope that the IRC will energize, deepen, and inspire your creative process of stepping into your leadership and potential as an Integral researcher. Membership at the IRC, as we emerge from our startup phase and get our infrastructure set up, will give you a podium for your insights, expertise, and articles, as well as a place at the table of discourse and practice. Here you can also be supported and challenged by leading experts in the field, exchange and collaborate with other researchers, and be informed, inspired, and even amazed. Maybe research will become juicier and sexier than you ever thought! ;-) Click here to become a member now.

I so look forward to meeting you if we have not already! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions, ideas, or just want to connect around the new IRC. I can be reached at: nickhedlunddewitt@metaintegral.org

With excitement,

Nick

 

Nicholas Hedlund-de Witt, M.A.

Executive Director

Integral Research Center

 

[1] Basic membership in the IRC begins at $6 per month, plus $3 per month for basic membership at the MetaIntegral Foundation. This equals a total of $9 per month.

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