Professors to provide insights into pursuing transdisciplinary research

Katina Michael
Katina Michael

For more than a decade and a half, Katina Michael and Roba Abbas have collaborated on research at the intersection of society, technology, ethics and regulation. Their experience over this time, and across a range of projects, will be the basis for a virtual seminar on Friday, July 1, 2022, “The Art of Transdisciplinary Research in the Information Systems and Technology Disciplines: Reflections from the Field.”

The seminar is part of the year-long Extraordinary Women Extraordinary Science Seminar Series being presented in conjunction with commemorative events marking the 25th anniversary of the IEEE Women in Engineering, or WIE, organization within the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Michael is a professor in Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and is a joint hire with the  School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU, as well as a member of ASU’s Global Futures Scientists and Scholars and director of the Society Policy Engineering Collective. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Technology & Society peer-reviewed publication.

Abbas, a visiting professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, is a senior lecturer and academic program director with the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Wollongong in Australia. She is a co-editor of the IEEE Transactions on Technology & Society.

Michael and Abbas will begin their seminar presentation by defining interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, then offering their perspectives on the potential for transdisciplinarity in the context of complex socio-technical ecosystems.

They will then focus on some of their early work on public sector information availability and research into location-based services regulation, covering use cases such as emergency management (for example, pandemic outbreaks). They’ll highlight the outcomes of this work by demonstrating a theoretically and methodologically grounded process that can be applied to emerging and other technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things.

Roba Abbas

They plan to extend the discussion to aspects relating to long-term collaboration across a range of projects, emphasizing the virtual and cross-institutional contexts of the work, and will talk about the role of IEEE in the research paper editing and publication process, as well as their current work with the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology.

In addition to the seminar series, WIE is organizing competitions, panels and other events this year.

Each month, two WIE members are presenting their work in the seminars. So far, the seminars have covered entrepreneurship, technology for the benefit of humanity, and space exploration. Each seminar is made available on demand after initial presentations.

The organization, which now has more than 35,000 members and 1,000 affinity groups worldwide, facilitates the recruitment and retention of women in technical disciplines and works to inspire girls to pursue engineering careers. Membership is open to women and men.

To mark its 25th anniversary, WIE has also established an award to honor men who actively advocate for diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

News article by Joe Kullman