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The reports will form part of the discussion at the conference: ‘Interdisciplinarity: Policy and Practice’ on Thursday 8 December 2016, co-hosted by HEFCE, the British Academy and Research Councils UK.
The reports provide an overview of the current interdisciplinary research landscape in the UK, drawing on a survey of over 2,000 participants, workshops, interviews and case studies.
The findings reflect researcher, strategic leader and funder perspectives, highlighting interdisciplinary research (IDR) as a crucial part of the UK research landscape.
A desire to achieve broader impact, the challenges associated with peer review and evaluation, the importance of institutional support and the value of flexible funds featured as common themes.
The case studies identified good practice in a range of institutions seeking to grow, sustain and embed interdisciplinary practice in their research cultures.
The importance of balancing top-down and bottom-up approaches, the role of flexible funding, and institutional infrastructure that prioritises high-quality research were identified as some potentially beneficial features in successful institutional IDR environments.
The reports also highlighted that:
The evaluation of interdisciplinary research outputs, and their impact, were highlighted by Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the Research Excellence Framework as areas for further development.
Subject to the views of our respective Ministers, the UK higher education funding bodies intend to take this forward in a consultation, to be launched before the end of 2016.