15 NOVEMBER 2023, WAGENINGEN CAMPUS – Extended deadline 10 July 2023

hosted by alliance TU/e, WUR, UU, UMC Utrecht (EWUU)


The fifth National Conference on Interdisciplinary Education (NIE) will take place on Wednesday 15 November 2023 at Wageningen Campus and is hosted by alliance TU/e, WUR, UU, UMC Utrecht (EWUU) . During this conference, teachers, researchers and students will come together to share experiences, practices, expertise, and ideas related to interdisciplinarity in higher education.

The theme of the fifth NIE conference will be Boundary Crossing: Transdisciplinary teaching and learning.

In an ever more complex and interconnected world, that is faced with grand societal challenges such as climate change and food security, future generations need to interact, learn and work together with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, within and outside the academic world.

That is, they need Boundary Crossing Competence: the ability to recognize, seek, appreciate and utilise tensions that arise when different practices meet,  in order to learn from each other and to co-create new transformative pathways for copying with ongoing challenges.

In recent years, more and more universities have created inter- and transdisciplinary learning environments in their educational programmes. Such programmes make learning across the boundaries of disciplines, cultures and sectors an implicit or explicit goal of the education they offer. Where interdisciplinary education focusses on bringing different (academic) disciplines together, transdisciplinary learning focusses on including non-academics, or societal partners in the learning process and context. Both interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity bring different boundary crossing challenges to education, that can result in rich learning opportunities for students and non-academic partners.

The 5th National Interdisciplinary Education conference will bring together teachers, researchers and students to explore opportunities for inter- and transdisciplinary education to foster students’ – and other learners’ – ability to learn and work together across boundaries and develop their own professional identity. The 5th NIE conference invites contributions at the course level as well as at the programme/curriculum level, and will focus on discussing and sharing initiatives in four broad streams:

  1. Design principles or learning arrangements: How, and when in an educational programme, can learning arrangements be designed and implemented to include multiple disciplines, cultures and people from academia and society? How can learning arrangements be designed to stimulate the active involvement and co-creation between academia and society? What are design principles and arrangements that invite relationality, transformation and the co-creation of new pathways to cope with ongoing challenges?
  2. Educators. What kind of skills, competencies, needs do educators have, or need to have, to foster boundary crossing ways of learning. What challenges do they face and how are they overcome? Teachers abilities can refer to designing, coaching, and assessing students. But also supporting inter- and transdisciplinary types of learning, learning processes and outcomes. How are teachers’ professional identities in play? How are teachers trained or supported in his context, and also with respect to their inner development?
  3. Activities. What (creative, transformative) tools, learning activities or assignments foster boundary crossing or transformative ways of learning in courses and learning lines/programmes (e.g., Arts-based activities, dialogic methods, contemplative or reflective methods, interactive activities). What kind of learning processes do we want to elicit in inter- and transdisciplinary types of learning and how do we do that?
  4. Assessment. What do students – and other learners – need to learn to be able to cross (disciplinary, cultural, societal) boundaries and what does this mean for how we assess inter- and transdisciplinary types of learning? What are assessment purposes, forms, formats and roles? Is it needed and appropriate to assess less tangible, inner dimensions of learning (beliefs, values, emotions, identities, etc.)? And how do we do this?

While all participants are free to navigate the four streams in any way they prefer during the conference, we aim to use these streams to both organize the sessions, as well as to – at the end of the day – draw up a collaborative and creative manifesto together on the future of inter- and transdisciplinary cross-boundary teaching and learning in higher education.

While most contributions are likely to touch upon more than one of the above mentioned streams, we ask you to choose one of the streams that fits best. This allows the organising committee to come up with a coherent programme.


The conference hopes to bring together educators from a wide range of study programs from across the Netherlands and Belgium, and offers traditional paper presentations (total of 20 minutes including discussion), as well as workshops (1 hour), discussions format (30 minutes); and slots for other open/creative formats (30 minutes or 1 hour). Above that, there will be an opportunity to exhibit educational materials and practices or posters throughout the whole day.
We kindly ask you to explicate your preferred format while submitting.


Please use this contribution form for submitting your proposal. Make sure you send your completed contribution form to before 10 July 2023. The organizing committee will let applicants know if their proposal can be accommodated by September 2023. All participants, also presenters, need to register for the conference. The conference will be free of charge.




Please keep an eye on this website where conference related news and additional information on the location, the program, and registration will be published on a regular basis.

The organizers:
Dr. Judith Gulikers
Dr. Ir Karen Fortuin
Dr. Valentina Tassone
Dr. Yvette Baggen
Cassandra Tho, MSc
Dr Sabine Uijl