14 December 2016
In a paper published today, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) looks at interdisciplinarity as a powerful driver of knowledge creation, scientific progress and innovation.
Interdisciplinary research and education area hotly debated topic at universities. Although knowledge exchange between disciplines has always been part of the scientific enterprise– with breakthroughs often happening at the borders of academic disciplines-, in recent decades interdisciplinarity has rapidly developed in many areas of science and has become a science policy priority, despite strong structural obstacles that still persist today.
That is why the LERU universities have endeavoured to analyse the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinarity, and to find answers for the following questions in this latest LERU paper, which was launched in Brussels earlier today.
The vision of LERU universities is that disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity are equally important to advance science and to solve unprecedented societal challenges. The paper argues that academic institutions that manage to build a virtuous circle between disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity and to successfully harness the potential of interdisciplinary research and education will derive many benefits for themselves, for their staff and for society.
This paper shows how both the drivers and solutions are different for bottom-up, knowledge-driven versus top-down, challenge-driven interdisciplinary research. It analyses how LERU universities reflect on interdisciplinarity and shares their recent strategies, innovative structures and creative projects that have been developed to support interdisciplinarity.
In the paper, LERU also formulates recommendations on interdisciplinarity. To name just a few from the extensive list in the paper, universities may wish to:
Some of the recommendations for funders and governments include: