There is a crucial distinction between multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. Both seek to transcend narrow agendas, but true interdisciplinary research is designed to go beyond particular theoretical prejudices, privileged methods or favourite solutions – important in the face of big, interconnected challenges like water, energy and food.
The barriers to achieving this include organisational structures within research institutions, the reinforcing power of metrics, citation counts and the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Social science – which examines not only at the ways in which resources and systems are managed and changed, but also the way knowledge is framed and constituted – plays an important role in the search for interdisciplinarity.
Read the full piece:
- Disciplinary dilemma: working across research silos is harder than it looks, by Andy Stirling, The Guardian, 11 June 2014