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Integrative activities | Interdisciplinarity Project

Interdisciplinarity Project


Dr Catherine Lyall, University of Edinburgh, with Dr Ann Bruce, Dr Laura Meagher and Dr Wendy Marsden.

This project took advantage of QUEST's position as a leading interdisciplinary programme to assess the practice of interdisciplinarity and provide guidance to current and future researchers, research leaders and research funders for the enhancement of interdisciplinary research into global-scale processes. The project studies the nature of "deep" interdisciplinarity; examining strategic and institutional aspects of interdisciplinarity (including barriers and enablers).


The main objectives of the project were:

  1. QUEST-oriented Objectives: to help the QUEST directorate and programme as it wraps up its activities in its final synthesis stage.
    • Working in conjunction with QUEST core team to enhance QUEST's interdisciplinary performance
    • Observing and evaluating QUEST's activities
    • Delivering practical benefits to QUEST
  2. Insight-utilisation Objectives: to develop comparative studies in order to exploit insights from various sources:
    • Engaging with comparable initiatives, such as RELU, Tyndall Centre's Climate Change Research Programme and the ESRC's the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE)
    • Considering structures, mechanisms and experiences of relevant international initiatives
  3. Learning (and disseminating) Objectives: in order to work with QUEST to promote organisational learning and generate benefits that are more broadly applicable across the long-term future of various UK efforts to tackle complex, multi- dimensional challenges in this sphere:
    • Working in conjunction with QUEST core team to draw transferable lessons of relevance to the emerging programmes of the Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership
    • Delivering guidance for future initiatives in a readily utilised form
    • Advancing understanding of interdisciplinarity through a community-building event.