New Toolkit to Transform Collaborative Research Approaches  

Posted on: 10 June 2021

With societal challenges dominating the EU research agenda, there is an increasing acknowledgment that no one discipline can address the challenges posed by climate change, or in areas such as health and wellbeing, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. We need the most creative and innovative research approaches for the most complex of challenges.  

However, researchers, funders and societal partners are sometimes at a loss for best practice on how to collaborate and work across disciplinary boundaries. How can artists work with scientists, or historians work with engineers? How will their research be received by funders? How can they be evaluated? 

For more than 2 years, the EU-funded SHAPE-ID project at Trinity College Dublin has been working with European partners to address this challenge, with a particular focus on how to strengthen the integration of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) in inter-and transdisciplinary research with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and societal partners.  

Today, SHAPE-ID launched the final project toolkit, which offers practical tools and resources to help researchers, research organisations, funders, policymakers, and societal partners make informed decisions about developing and supporting inter-and transdisciplinary research.  

 The event, which was joined by over 250 people from across Europe and beyond, showcased a full suite of easily accessible toolkit features, including tailored resources designed to help individuals, research performing organisations and funders to consider the most important issues when developing, designing, evaluating, funding or collaborating on an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary project. It also offers inspiration for researchers in the form of case studies and short interviews with experts. 

Today’s launch was opened by Mr Harald Hartung, Head of Unit, Fair Societies & Cultural Heritage, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, who said

We need a human-centric approach to research and innovation. Technical solutions alone are not sufficient to create meaningful and lasting societal impacts. Integrating the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences leads to stronger societal impact, broader citizen engagement and a better future.

Outlining this toolkit as the first of its kind to focus on AHSS integration in Europe, SHAPE-ID Principal Investigator Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Trinity College Dublin,  presented the project’s key findings, and acknowledged the potential for this resource to “transform how we view collaborative research approaches, and their potential to unite researchers from diverse disciplines and strengthen the research which can be used by wider society, including policy makers, to address some of the great societal challenges we are facing.”  


If we want to put the human at the centre of technological progress, or develop solutions that consider culture, values, emotion, dignity, and imagination alongside technology, economics and scientific developments, we need to build capacity for it across the higher education and research innovation system. 


The Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast, congratulated SHAPE-ID on the toolkit launch:  

To see the Trinity Long Room Hub and its European partners taking this leading role in shaping new interdisciplinary research practices in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a source of great pride for the University. We look forward to seeing the impact of this innovative toolkit on the European research environment in the coming years.

Experts in research and education policy from across Europe contributed to the success of the event, including Dr Carthage Smith, Head of the OECD’s Global Science Forum, Dr Lidia Borrell-Damián, Secretary-General of Science Europe,  Professor Ludovic Thilly, Chair of the Coimbra Group, and Dr Anna Antonova, Director of Environmental Humanities Development at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich. 

To view the toolkit now and access downloadable resources, click here.  

SHAPE-ID (Shaping Inter-disciplinary research practices in Europe) is an EU funded project based in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and is a Europe-wide consortium coordinated by Trinity College Dublin and with partners ISINNOVA, ETH Zurich, the University of Edinburgh, The Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, and Jack Spaapen. SHAPE-ID has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 822705.  

 SHAPE-ID has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 822705. The SHAPE-ID project builds on the Creative Connections Interdisciplinary Research Workshop hosted in the Trinity Long Room Hub in 2016 and funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC).  

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Catherine O’Mahony, Media Relations Officer | |