Challenges in interdisciplinary science
​Interdisciplinarity is widely recognised as one of the key characteristics of contemporary science. Interdisciplinary research is viewed as a source of scientific breakthroughs, innovation and problem solving. In particular, global challenges such climate change, biodiversity, global health and food, water and energy security are thought as demanding genuinely interdisciplinary research.

However, the practice of interdisciplinary research is fraught with manifold difficulties. These include the problems of coordinating across diverse teams, but also a variety of institutional barriers such as careers paths or disadvantage in journal or grant reviews. 

The benefits and the downsides of interdisciplinarity are poorly understood.  SPRU investigations aim to shed some light at the how interdisciplinarity is practiced, assessed and funded:

How can interdisciplinary research be mapped and measured?
To this purpose we have developed novel science mapping techniques accompanied with associated (*exploratory*) metrics. 

How is the performance of interdisciplinary research assessed?
Interdisciplinary research is perceived at being at a disadvantage in evaluation. Is this true? How can fairer assessments be achieved?

How is interdisciplinary research conducted in emerging technologies?
Are emerging fields such as nanotechnologies as highly interdisciplinary as they claim? How do new, hybrid, scientific communities emerge in parallel with the technologies?

This website was developed with support from the Science of Science Policy Program, SBE Award #0830207. The findings and observations contained here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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