Interdisciplinarity is increasingly used to tackle complex scientific questions and address large societal challenges. There is much literature that suggests that combining different academic disciplines and techniques in a single research project has a strong ability to create breakthrough research and innovation.
State-of-the-art research provides new insights that suggest that ways of learning exist, as well as instruments that can foster and encourage such interdisciplinary research. At the same time, the evaluation of interdisciplinary research proposals. and the career prospects of researchers engaging in such research. can still present with difficulties.
At its third Symposium, hosted in Brussels on 21 November 2018, Science Europe and its Scientific Advisory Committee brought experts and researchers experienced in interdisciplinarity together with its Member Organisations who fund and perform such research. These organisations have the ability to encourage interdisciplinarity by setting policies and procedures that support it and remove obstacles.
In a number of presentations and dialogues, researchers and experts were able to share their experience of what is needed for them to perform excellent interdisciplinary research. Likewise, representatives of research funding agencies were able to present their initiatives and plans for supporting that type of research.