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2016 Workshop

‘Interdisciplinarity for Impact’ Workshop

On the 1st of June Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University organised a workshop to examine how interdisciplinary research can enable researchers to achieve deeper impact for their work. The event, funded by the Irish Research Council’s Creative Connections workshop initiative will take place in the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin. 

Interdisciplinary research (IDR) is the focus of much debate among researchers, higher education institutes, funding agencies and governments across the world who are looking at whether they should invest in IDR and if so, how to do so effectively.

There are arguments for and against interdisciplinary research but one striking aspect is the impact interdisciplinary research can achieve. In the recent REF UK exercise, 80% of the research case studies that were submitted to show significant impact were interdisciplinary in nature. Notwithstanding that, many attempts at interdisciplinary research fail to produce meaningful outputs and collaboration is often characterised by a shallow process of engagement, with temporary cross-disciplinary consortia and highly siloed project structures.

This workshop sought to provide examples of a more equal, sustainable approach. The agenda showcased a number of exemplars of ‘translational humanities’ research. These exemplars reflected successful and established interdisciplinary collaborations that have existed to date between staff across the humanities/STEM interface in both TCD and DCU. These ‘translational humanities’ exemplars addressed the notion of how engaging in genuinely reciprocal interdisciplinary research can address research questions of the different disciplinary groupings, as well as common, truly interdisciplinary research questions.  This can lead to the generation of deeper and longer standing impact than would be possible for researchers working in isolation. The experience of the speakers representing the ‘translational humanities’ exemplars helped to generate learnings that will be useful to a number of different actors across the Higher Education and Research sector no matter what their disciplinary background. Similarly the break out sessions in the afternoon were of relevance to individuals from all disciplinary backgrounds and offered attendees an opportunity to discuss topics reflecting areas of common relevance for Arts, Humanities and Social Science (AHSS) researchers as well as those from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) backgrounds when getting their research projects off the ground (i.e Ethics, sex and gender considerations, Open Access, Socio-Cultural aspects, language and linguistic variation and research funding).

Related Links: Watch the video