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The charachter of interdisciplinary research

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.

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Finland Moves to Interdisciplinary Curriculum Model - See more at: http://www.educationnews.org/international-uk/finland-moves-to-interdisciplinary-curriculum-model/#sthash.wLHzkB7Q.dpuf

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.

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How do we evaluate interdisciplinary research?

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.

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Interprofessionalism — What Can We Learn from Interdisciplinary Research?

As health professions educators consider both the potential value and practical implementation of interprofessionalism in their institutions, we have much to learn from the history and growing body of literature on interdisciplinary collaboration in universities. This article focuses on definitions and forms of interdisciplinary research, as well as widely viewed benefits and drivers of interdisciplinarity. Our summer newsletter will extend this overview with a look at barriers to interdisciplinary efforts and ways to overcome them.
Just as interprofessionalism involves more than one of the health sciences, interdisciplinary research and education entail two or more of the traditionally designated academic disciplines. These disciplines became institutionalized as university departments in the 1890s, and as the number of disciplines expanded in the 20th century, each developed as an increasingly specialized knowledge and practice, with its own language, research methodologies, standards and protocols, associations, conferences, and publications. This disciplinary structure largely continues today, so that most of us likely received our undergraduate and even graduate degrees in a single academic discipline.

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Mind meld

Interdisciplinary science must break down barriers between fields to build common ground.
In Castlegar, Canada, there is a golf shop that also offers vacuum-cleaner repairs, and in the Czech Republic town of Kostelec nad Orlicí, a business will sell you both wine and underwear. Such odd couplings are humorous because of their curiously limited scope. There is nothing funny, after all, about a megastore that repairs equipment and sells golf clubs, wine, underwear and everything else under the Sun.
 The binary combinations also lead us to assume something about the shop’s owners. Faced with a specific set of circumstances, these businesses redefine what we expect from a shop and offer something distinct.

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