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There are considerable benefits in encouraging interdisciplinary research, particularly where the objective of the research is to achieve useful economic, social, environmental or cultural outcomes. The real world does not always present its problems and opportunities conveniently aligned with traditional academic disciplines so mechanisms are needed to facilitate interactions and collaborations between researchers working in widely different fields.
Supported by the ARC Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects Funding this project addresses two outstanding problems: the application of interdisciplinary research to the broad, problem-based research and how to use this understanding to find effective ways of approaching the array of challenges confronting Australia.
Finland is leaving behind traditional subject teaching in schools in favor of topic teaching. School subjects such as math, history and science won’t be taught distinctly anymore, and the line between subjects will be more fluid as students will be exposed to several subjects at once as proposed ‘phenomenon teaching’ sets forth.
Finland, which consistently ranks highly in literacy and numeracy achievement worldwide, challenged only by China and Singapore, is taking a unique approach to learning with an aim to activate a broader understanding of phenomena to adequately prepare students for adult working life.
In recent years, a new research and innovation policy regime has emerged around the need to address the great challenges of contemporary society, such as the environment, energy, infrastructure, and security.
None of these challenges follow the traditional disciplinary boundaries. They are interdisciplinary in nature and call for solutions that cut across normal academic divisions. Yet, it is still to a large extent unclear what is meant by this ‘interdisciplinary turn’. How will interdisciplinary research and innovation change the organisation and evaluation of research?
Numerous initiatives have been launched throughout the EU and the US that are meant to inspire cross-disciplinary collaboration. Among the most prominent examples is the next European framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, with a total budget of €70 billion from 2014-2020.