“Understanding interdisciplinary research is crucial,” says working group chair David Soskice, professor of political science and economics at the London School of Economics, “as is interdisciplinarity more generally in higher education”.
“The way in which disciplines interact and evolve over time in response to changing questions needs to be better understood, as does the impact this process will have on individuals’ careers and the structure of the academy.”
Interdisciplinary research is now increasingly driven by the focus on “impact” in the research excellence framework and wider concerns that research should represent “value for money” and help address major social problems which don’t sit neatly within traditional academic disciplines.
The academy is therefore seeking input from academics, university management, funders and publishers about the demand for interdisciplinary research; how it is carried out; what support structures need to be in place; and how academics can forge interdisciplinary careers.
Though the stress will be on research within universities, the working group also hope to illuminate the implications for teaching, from the undergraduate level up, and links between academic interdisciplinary work and the wider economy.
The deadline for submitting evidence is 26 June. This will then be fed into a report, likely to be published in early 2016.