Thank you very much for visiting our Consilience CENSUS website.

Consilience CENSUS is an experimental world-wide survey that was planned by the Futurability Initiatives
of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan.

RIHN was established in 2001 by the Government of Japan to promote ‘integrated cooperative research toward the solution of global environmental problems’ and to advance the field of global environmental studies. RIHN’s objective is to define and conduct integrative research for exploring the dynamics of earth phenomena including the role of humanity. To this end, RIHN hosts fixed-term research projects on key areas of interactions between humanity and nature.

The objectives of our Consilience CENSUS are 1) to identify the key elements of transdisciplinarity in a quantitative sense, 2) to evaluate the relative importance of interdisciplinary versus transdisciplinary integrations to global environmental studies, and 3) to delineate the dynamics of consilience in various stakeholders engaged in transdisciplinary research.

We would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey and tell us your interests. Your responses will be kept confidential. Your feedback will be used to improve our “Consilience Emulator Framework” which is to be examined through the results of our Consilience CENSUS.

Please e-mail if you have any questions.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Dr. Itsuki C. Handoh
The RIHN Futurability Initiatives,
457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan.


The RIHN Futurability Initiatives: Mission Statement

We focus our efforts on conjoining the existing RIHN Domain Programmes (Circulation, Diversity, Resources, Ecohistory, and Ecosophy) through a set of cross-cutting initiatives towards the transdisciplinary field of Environmental Humanics of the Earth System. The Futurability Initiatives emerge from our conviction of the need for design-oriented science. Whereas cognitive science has conventionally been employed to describe ‘what is’, design science asks ‘what ought to be’ the character of interactions between of humanity and nature.
        The Initiatives are therefore dedicated to consilience, “a jumping together of knowledge ... across disciplines to create a common groundwork for explanation” (Wilson, 1998) and intended to enhance design-oriented, problem-solving approaches to contemporary environmental problems. Each Initiative focuses on a major field of thought roughly analogous to the ancient Greek realms described by Gaia, Oikos and Ethos.

Foci: Futurability, Earth System, Design-oriented science, Consilience, Transdisciplinarity

  • GAIA:Anthropospheric design within dynamic Earth environments
Foci: Physiosphere, Environmental dynamics, Boundaries, Natural catastrophe
  • OIKOS:Linking commons and community for long-term
maintenance of ecosystem services
Foci: Biosphere, Environmental economics, Ecosystems service, Commons
  • ETHOS:Enhancing human capability and capacity for coexistence
Foci: Noösphere, Life style, Food and production, Health and medicine

The Integration Coordinate System and RIHN Project Crystallium 2012


RIHN Research Projects positioned on the integration coordinate system for creation of Environmental Humanics of the Earth System: the longitude (λ) represents the starting points of problem setting on the holarchy of physiocentrismbiocentrismnoöcentrism, while the latitude (φ) indicates regions, concepts, and methods as three pillars of integration. The depth (r) shows the degree of movement from pro-scientific integration (interdisciplinarity) to pro-humanistic integration (transdisciplinarity). The progress of each RIHN project in 2012 is illustrated by Platonic solids: regular tetrahedrons (IS = Incubation Study or Initiative-FS Seed), regular hexahedrons (FS = Feasibility Study), regular octahedrons (PR = Pre-Research), regular icosahedrons (FR = Full Research), and regular dodecahedrons (CR = Completed Research). Arrows indicate relationships of cooperation and succession among projects.



  • Handoh, I.C., and Hidaka, T. (2010). On the timescales of sustainability and futurability, Futures, 42: 743-748.
  • Klein, J.T. (2008). Evaluation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research: a literature review, Am. J. Prev. Med., 35: S116-S123.
  • Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., Swilling, M., and Thomas, C.J. (2012). Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges, Sustain. Sci., 7: S25-43.
  • Mâsse, L.C., Moser, R.P., Stokols, D., Taylor, B.K., Marcus, S.E., Morgan, G.D., Hall, K.L., Groyle, R.T., and Trochim, W.M. (2008). Measuring collaboration and transdisciplinary integration in team science, Am. J. Prev. Med., 35: S151-S160.
  • Max-Neef, M.A. (2005). Foundations of transdisciplinarity, Ecol. Econ., 53: 5-16.
  • Miller, T.R., Baird, T.D., Littlefield, C.M., Kofinas, G., and Chapin, F.S., III. (2008). Epistemological pluralism: Reorganizing interdisciplinary research, Ecol. Soc., 13: 46.
  • Nicolescu, B. (2002). Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity. New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Press (translation from French by Karen-Claire Voss).
  • Reid, W.V., Chen, D., Goldfarb, L., Hackmann, H., Lee, Y.T., Mokhele, K., Ostrom, E., Raivio, K., Rockström, J., Schellnhuber, H.J., and Whyte, A. (2010). Earth system science for global sustainability: Grand challenges, Science, 330: 916-917.
  • Scholz, R.W., Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Walter, A.J., and Stauffacher, M. (2006). Transdisciplinary case studies as a means of sustainability learning: Historical framework and theory, Intl. J. Sustain. High. Learn., 7: 226-251.
  • Scholz, R.W. (2011). Environmental Literacy in Science and Society: From Knowledge to Decisions. Cambridge University Press, 656pp.
  • Wickson, F., Carew, A.L., and Russell, A.W. (2006). Transdisciplinary research: characteristics, quandaries and quality, Futures, 38: 1046–1059.
  • Wilson, E.O. (1998). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Knopf.

RIHN Consilience CENSUS Coordinator

Dr. Itsuki C. Handoh is an Associate Professor of Earth Systems Science and Mathematical Modelling, and a coordinator of the RIHN Futurability Initiatives. He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK in 2002. He was then a Senior Research Associate in the School to pursue his interest in climate dynamics, funded by NERC COAPEC Programme. In 2004, he became a Research Associate in the Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Sheffield, working for Siberia-II Project financed through the 5th Framework Programme of the European Commission, and then returned home country to join RIHN as a Senior Project Researcher in 2006, where his interest was extended to transdisciplinarity and futurability framework. In 2007, he was appointed an Assistant Professor in the Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, prior to taking up his current position at RIHN. His current research interests include development of “consilience emulator” and pro-humanistic environmental assessment models, and quantification of Planetary Boundaries for chemical pollution, part of which forms a collaborative action through Mathematical Arts and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives for Consilience System (MATRIX).