Policy Plan

ISTE has a 2-year policy plan that will be reviewed annually in the AGM and updated accordingly.

Policy Plan 2022

International Society of Transdisciplinary Engineering

Registered in The Netherlands, 2018.

Address:  Lageweg 28, 3703CA Zeist, The Netherlands.

Website: www.intsoctransde.org

Email: wognumnel at gmail.com

Chamber of Commerce number: KvK 71835237. 

RSIN number: 858868039

Bank account: NL85 INGB 0008661560


Engineered innovation can have a significant impact on the environment and society.  Although impacts can be positive, there are several examples of innovations that have had adverse effects, for example non-biodegradable plastics, certain pesticides and fertilizing products, and the unexpected side effects of medication and medical procedures.

To reduce the risk of negative impact of engineering innovation on the environment and society a holistic approach is needed and the integration of knowledge and understanding from natural and social science disciplines and non-academic stakeholders. That is, it needs transdisciplinary engineering (TE) practices.

Term of the policy plan

The policy plan is a 2-year plan and should aim to be updated each year. The previous version of this document was created in 2019.

Mission, Vision, and Strategy

ISTE was officially registered in the Netherlands in 2018.  It continues the work that started with ISPE, and ISPE, Inc. (International Society for Productivity Enhancement), but under a new name and with a more formal foundation, with the website, financial account, and registration now located in the same country. 

The International Society for Productivity Enhancement (ISPE) was founded in 1984 in the USA.  Its goal was to support and improve the international exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge in the field of technological development and application.

ISPE, Inc. was formerly registered as a non-profit organization in New York in 2004. The main objective of the ISPE, Inc. was to transfer and integrate new knowledge with relevant existing or new technology.  In doing so it aimed to improve strategies and resources to enhance productivity and competitiveness of current product and service producers and ultimately quality of the life. 

The ISTE extends the mainly technological emphasis of the previous societies. Such extension is deemed necessary to overcome today’s complex problems and achieve sustainable solutions.

ISTE’s mission is to contribute to and improve engineering research, practice, and education by widening the scope of engineering thinking. Widening the scope includes improving the integration and collaboration between natural sciences, social sciences and non-academic stakeholders and the use of mixed methodologies for achieving design and engineering goals. 

The vision of ISTE is to:

  • Identify common patterns in TE
  • Identify new research questions
  • Generate guidelines and support to practice TE
  • Develop methods and tools for improving TE education

ISTE’s strategy to realise its vision consists of promoting the exchange of knowledge between various social and technical disciplines. Its annual conferences (TE20xx), website, newsletter, and social media platform, provide a platform for this knowledge exchange.  

Organisation and Government

ISTE has a Board, consisting of seven people (https://intsoctransde.org/iste-government/):

President: Prof. Linda Newnes, University of Bath, UK 

Vice President: Dr. Josip Stjepandić, Prostep AG, Darmstadt, Germany

Treasurer: Prof. Fredrik Elgh, Jönköping University, Sweden

Vice Treasurer: Dr. Nel Wognum, Technical University of Delft, Delft, The Netherlands

General Secretary: Dr. Wim Verhagen, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Vice Secretary: Dr. Susan Lattanzio, University of Bath, UK

Conference Coordinator: Prof. Margherita Peruzzini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

The Board is supported by a council, consisting of 25 people from all over the world (see https://www.intsoctransde.org).

Board and Council members are volunteers and do not get any payment. Going forward we will look to formalise the roles and responsibilities of the Board and Council members and publish this within the By-Laws. A modest remuneration for specific tasks, like newsletter editor, website manager, and conference proceedings editor has been made possible.


Membership of the ISTE continues to grow and as at 28th January 2022 stands at 112 members.  The increase over the past year can in part be attributed to the active promotion of society membership at the TE2021.

ISTE Conferences

The ISTE annual conference is the Society’s principle engagement event.  Each year the conference theme changes to reflect an area of particular relevance to transdisciplinary engineering.  

Conference papers are published by IOS Press in an OPEN ACCESS BOOK and fully indexed by Thomson Reuters/SCI, Scopus, Compendex/Ei and others.  Authors of distinguished papers will be invited to submit extended versions of their work to one of several special editions in international journals.  

This year, 2022, the ISTE TE Conference will be hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA.  In 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the conference was held virtually, hosted by the University of Bath, UK.  

The ISTE community has a long history in organizing conferences and until recently has had fairly stable attendance. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the conferences in Warsaw (TE2020), and Bath (TE2021), were forced to be held virtually.  During these years attendance has dropped and we are mindful that if the situation persists further attention should be given to this matter.

At this stage we are hopeful that TE2022 will be a physical event and planning is proceeding on that basis.  We hope that this return to a physical event, hosted by the prestigious MIT, will reignite the community and that the event will be well attended.

The lower attendance at TE2020 and TE2021 has had implications for special issues with editions from these years yet to be completed. Going forward we must look towards reducing the number of SIs offered so that they can be filled and published in a timely manner.

In terms of publications numbers, over the past three years Scopus shows there to be an increase in publications using the term “transdisciplinary engineering” within the title, abstract or keywords.  Although appreciating that the TE2021 requirement to include “transdisciplinary” (with or without “engineering”) within the keywords of the conference papers, which will have an impact on paper numbers, there is also strong evidence to support that within academia, funding bodies and industry, interest in transdisciplinary approaches is rising.  

Looking forward, TE2023 will be held in Thailand and hosted by the Asian Institute of Technology School of Engineering & Technology.  The selection of this venue supports our global community strategy.

Financial situation

ISTE is a not-for-profit organization. It is funded by contributions from the annual conferences. The money is used to promote the conferences, maintain the website, support special issues, and publish newsletters.

The annual contribution to ISTE by each TE conference is sufficient to manage the website, the bank account, and support other activities when needed and possible.  The financial situation of ISTE is modest, but sound. An incidental negative result of a TE Conference will not endanger the ISTE’s financial situation.