Righting the wrongs of trickle-down interdisciplinarity
Interdisciplinary research offers the promise of conceptual and practical advances arising from a synergy of different perspectives and knowledge from two or more disciplines. Interdisciplinarity is increasingly sought by academic institutions and funding agencies and has many forms. As conservation biologists, we are close to the epicentre of opportunities for interdisciplinarity, and the benefits abound. However, undertaking cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research is not simply a matter of including different disciplines in research projects and ‘letting it happen’. While interdisciplinary research is at the core of solving the world’s complex problems, our publishers, funders and universities have presented some obstacles. In this talk I will describe some of the most prominent structural constraints. But I will also ask whether the challenges associated with interdisciplinary research have more to do with fuzzy things related to collaboration. A successful interdisciplinary project requires a commitment to professional relationships, the implication of which is often underestimated. I will demonstrate that the real solutions to achieving interdisciplinarity could lie in research on communication, power, trust, and risk management.
DATE: July 8, 2016
TIME: 8:45 am – 9:30 am