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Thinking across disciplines – interdisciplinarity in research and education

The concept of “Interdisciplinarity” has enjoyed massive attention and has been a hot topic in the debate on research and education policy. This new report is the first to document the benefits of working across disciplines

The concept of “Interdisciplinarity” has enjoyed massive attention and has been a hot topic in the debate on research and education policy. This new report is the first to document the benefits of working across disciplines. The main findings of the study are: - The most interdisciplinary communities have more cooperation with foreign knowledge communities, almost 80 % of the most interdisciplinary communities have international cooperation while this is true for 40 % of the monodisciplinary communities - Interdisciplinary communities attract the most outside funding. The most interdisciplinary communities attract an average of DKK 430,000 (57,410 €) per researcher/year versus 274,000 (36,582 €) per researcher/year in the monodisciplinary communities - Interdisciplinary communities contribute most to knowledge sharing. Amongst the most interdisciplinary research communities 93 % have research cooperation with external partners, e.g. SMEs whereas this is true for 71 % of the monodisciplinary communities - Barriers to interdisciplinaruty: Lack of strategic focus. The universities’ development contracts focus on interdisciplinarity Lack of incentives to cooperation across education programs, e.g inflexible systems at the education and university institutions Lack of formal requirements and criteria in the research councils Cultural barriers – e.g. few incentives for business to participate in research projects with a knowledge institution Difficulties in obtaining transfer credits for courses taken from another education program With the report “Thinking across disciplines – interdisciplinarity in research and education” we wish to contribute to a more qualified agenda about the value and the extent of working across disciplines within research and education. Policy action is particular important in relations to the challenges of working more across disciplines and we hope that we can initiate a discussion on the large possibilities that interdisciplinarity provides. We are becoming fewer to produce the foundation for Europe’s welfare. That is why we need to think in alternative ways to exploit our academic competences. Europe needs to be wiser when other regions are cheaper. The report is made by DEA - The Danish Business Research Academy (Danmarks ErhvervsforskningsAkademi) and the FBE - Danish Forum for Business Education. We work to make research and educational programs relevant for the business sector and to enhance the interaction between the business community and the social science and humanities research institutions. Link to the report: http://fuhu.dk/filer/DEA/Publikationer/08_aug_thinking_across_disciplines.pdf

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