Document Type


Publication Date



Anthropology, Archaeology



Publication Title

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications


Humanity faces a number of wicked problems, from global climate change and the coronavirus pandemic to systemic racism and widening economic inequality. Since such complex and dynamic problems are plagued by disagreement among stakeholders over their nature and cause, they are notoriously difficult to solve. This commentary argues that if humanity truly aspires to address the grand challenges of today and tomorrow, then graduate education must be redesigned. It is no longer sufficient to train students only to be experts in their respective fields. They also must hone the interpersonal and professional skills that allow them to collaborate successfully within diverse teams of researchers and other stakeholders. Here the conceptual framework of wicked science is proposed, including what a graduate program in wicked science would achieve and why such training matters both to researchers and the communities where they work. If humanity hopes to effectively tackle the world’s wicked problems, then it is time to train a generation of wicked scientists.


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